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Critic Believes MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar Has No Future

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Former Apple employee and commentator Chuq Von Rospach has shared his thoughts on the latest MacBook Pro lineup’s signature Touch Bar, criticizing Apple for forcing consumers to pay extra for the feature in order to own the top-end MacBook Pro. “Having lived with the Touch Bar and Touch ID sensor for months and then migrated away from them again, I’ve found they seem to be solving problems I don’t really have”, he writes.

Touch Bar

Rospach says when we shifted from his MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to his new iMac 5K a few weeks ago, the only thing he missed was the TouchID sensor, and that too for 1Password. “It’s marginally more work for me to type in my password to open 1Password than use my fingerprint, but not much. My Apple Watch unlocks the Mac, and so I don’t need the TouchID sensor for that, and when I use Apple Pay on the iMac, the Watch makes that quite painless, too”.

As for the Touch Bar, he says that Apple needs to either push the Touch Bar system out to the entire Mac Line via a new Keyboard, or they need to expand their laptops with a line of devices without Touch Bars.

The current laptop line forces users to pay for the Touch Bar on the higher end devices whether they want it or not, and that’s a cost users shouldn’t need to pay for a niche technology without a future. So Apple needs to either roll the Touch Bar out to the entire line and convince us we want it, or roll it back and offer more laptop options without it. I’m going to be curious what they do if/when they announce updated Laptops this fall.

Right now, my bet is on Apple having decided they fell in love with the Touch Bar and lost sight of the fact that Apple sells solutions to problems, not technologies. And here, they handed us this really neat technology, and it fell rather flat in the market.

Do you find the Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro worth paying a premium for?

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  • Absolutely not. I strongly dislike the touch bar and prefer physical function keys. There’s no need for it on a Macbook.

  • Joe

    There’s something to be said for buttons that are contextual, rather than physical and therefore fixed. This is why the iPhone beat the Blackberry.

    That being said, I don’t own anything with a Touch Bar and am not in any rush to upgrade my 2015 MacBook Pro. The Touch Bar isn’t a bad idea, but needs to go a lot further. Right now, the former employee is correct that it’s probably a failure.

  • Salinger

    I always felt the touchbar was little more than a gimmick, and an expensive one at that.

  • bbousquet

    This guy left Apple 11 years ago. Why does his opinion matter more than any random internet person? Sound like he wanted to generate traffic on his blog.

  • Salvador

    It’s the opinion of an ex-Apple employee and we don’t know how his relationship with Apple is today.

    I didn’t believe much on the touch bar, even if I tried it on Apple Stores many times. But when I got a new MacBook Pro, I decided for the one with the Touch Bar, not because of it, but because of the hardware (CPU Options, Memory and graphic Card). Then I realized how useful the Touch Bar is.

    Yes, it does solve a problem that no one has, but I think that is Apple… always solving problems no one has until the solution is there.

    Today, I don’t know how I was able to work without the contextual buttons and helpers on the Touch Bar for so long.

    Some samples:
    – Print Screen: you have the option to select where to send the print screen (desktop, clipboard) and what to select (entire screen, active window or drag selection) without memorizing different keyboard key combination
    – Skype/Messenger: emojis are there easily accessible
    – Multiple Screens: whenever a popup appears, the OK / Cancel buttons are in the touch bar for quick dismiss without the need to move the mouse all over 3 screen to reach the popup buttons
    – Photo editors: the most important photos and video editors are already supporting the Touch Bar, so the most important commands are in hand.

    In short, it takes some time to get used to the touch bar, but once you did it, there is no way to go back and feel good not using it. If someone said that going back to a computer without touch bar is “no problem / no missing it at all” then that person didn’t really used it.

  • MleB1

    The Touch Bar is a bit of a (high end) con – providing a service and features where none are really requested. True blue Macolytes have always loved their key combos in lieu of mouse controls and screen icons, while the toolbar is a cheap cop out over a touch screen and the controls that other OSs (and their own iOS) provide.

    Still, its new and sparkly and that always attracts a certain contingent, especially when justifying a spike in price with fewer capabilities. It’s Apple, people.

  • raslucas

    I tentatively agree with him about the higher end, but I feel like this is kind of the Apple way.

    They no doubt will begin rolling it out to their other computers. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s part of the delay with the iMac Pro is figuring out how to do a keyboard with TouchID.

    To be honest I don’t think a USB keyboard with TouchID is possible. There are security limitations that may make it impossible.

    Someone could make a USB key or something that mocks it and unlock your computer and buy a MacBook and ship it to a PO box…

    Remember how replacing the home button was causing phone bricking because of the hardware validation?

  • Joe

    That looks pretty cool.

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