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Apple adds keyboard touch functions to Mac in major refresh

Apple’s high-end Mac laptops are getting a touch-sensitive strip above the keyboard, as the company aims to spark consumer interest in a product line that’s often overshadowed by newer gadgets like the iPad and iPhone.

The new Touch Bar in the long-awaited Mac updates replaces the old function keys on a traditional laptop, offering a variety of controls that change according to the app or website that’s open. It also has functions that will be familiar to many iPhone users—showing word suggestions as you type, for example, or letting you scroll through a library of emojis.Along with faster processors and brighter screens, Apple’s new laptops will have a fingerprint sensor, similar to the one on its iPhones. The sensor can unlock the device or recognize a different user and quickly switch to that person’s settings. It works with Apple Pay, so users can authorize an electronic payment for online purchases.