So is Apple’s Touch Bar only the beginning?

“Forget about the argument about whether the Touch Bar is really a feature that can appeal to professionals. I’ll just accept that it can be, based on the demonstrations at the Apple media event that focused on Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro X,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “The fact that developers are busy adding support to their own apps indicates they have confidence that Apple is pointing the way to a useful addition in personal computing.”

“Indeed I wonder just what’s going to happen now that the MacBook Air is reduced to a single model that’s smacks of a closeout,” Steinberg writes. “I suppose that the MacBook might come down in price as a replacement, but what about expanding Touch Bar support?”

“Apple didn’t invent the Touch Bar with the plan to restrict it to a single model. There’s a long-range plan, and adding it to a MacBook or some future Mac notebook is only part of the picture,” Steinberg writes. “I expect that a future keyboard, perhaps a Magic Keyboard 2 with Touch Bar, will deliver the feature for Mac desktops. But it won’t come cheap.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Next to go should be the rest of the keyboard. All keys, not just the function row, should be accessible to developers.

The problem is… these control buttons that are fixed in plastic and are the same for every application. Well, every application wants a slightly different user interface, a slightly optimized set of buttons, just for it. And what happens if you think of a great idea six months from now? You can’t run around and add a button to these things. They’re already shipped… It doesn’t work because the buttons and the controls can’t change. They can’t change for each application, and they can’t change down the road if you think of another great idea you wanna add to this product. Well, how do you solve this? Hmm. It turns out, we have solved it! — Steve Jobs, unveiling the iPhone, January 9, 2007

New virtual keyboard layouts in macOS 10.12.1 confirm MacBook Pro OLED ‘Magic Toolbar’ reports – October 25, 2016
Trademark filing suggests ‘Magic Toolbar’ will be Apple’s name for new MacBook Pro OLED touch strip – October 20, 2016
It’s official: Apple sends invitations for ‘hello again’ event on October 27th – October 19, 2016
Apple set to release Final Cut Pro, iMovie updates with support for new MacBook Pro’s OLED ‘Touch Bar’ – October 19, 2016
Get ready, Apple’s new Macs are finally set to arrive! – October 19, 2016
All-new MacBook Pro, refreshed MacBook Air and iMac, and more coming at Apple’s October 27th special event – October 19, 2016
Apple plans to launch new Macs at special event on October 27th – October 18, 2016
Thoughts on Apple’s MacBook Pro OLED touch strip – August 11, 2016
Apple preps all-new MacBook Pro line with OLED touch strip and more – August 10, 2016
Apple’s new MacBook Pro expected to feature OLED touch-panel, Touch ID power button – August 8, 2016
Next-gen MacBook Pro could feature Touch ID power button – June 28, 2016
Leaked photos pretty much confirm 2016 MacBook Pro’s OLED touchpad – June 1, 2016
Thinner, lighter 2016 MacBook Pro may feature OLED display touch bar and Touch ID – May 24, 2016


  1. Isn’t the fact SJ said it 10 years ago an illustration of a lack of speed in implementation at Apple at the moment?

    There is no way the tech to implement this hasn’t been around for a while, why did it take so long? And if they really wanted to mark a paradigm shift that Windows box assemblers struggle to keep up with why wasn’t it the whole keyboard?

        1. “Always need it?” Let’s say I want to take a snapshot of the screen. I expect the F4 key to be the F4 key, not whatever happens to be there in the topmost window application. Tell me again how one is supposed to remember a different set of function keys for each application? Conceptually it seems fun. Practically it is chaos while you search for the key you want.

          1. It’s actually ironic you’re wondering how one is supposed to remember a different set of Touchbar “keys” for each application… when the very nature of physical F-keys meant that you had to remember what the physical F-keys did for the frontmost application. Or you had a plastic sheet sitting on the keyboard with labels above each F-key to remind you what it did for different apps.

            Now with the Touchbar, those keys have the label or icon built in. After a few uses, you’d surely get used to where a specific “button” is… or, you change the app’s Touchbar settings to suit your specific needs.

            Never mind that Mac apps have traditionally rarely used the F-keys anyway.

            (This is coming from a software developer who does, in fact, use the escape and F-keys for software debugging. I can see the advantages beyond my own needs, though).

  2. I’m curious.
    I was looking at the touch bar this weekend and I thought, I would totally have traded that for 16GB more of RAM. It’s cute and all, but it is not what sells the computer. Better MAC OS performance sells the computer.

    How to own MDN advertisements… AKA making an annoyance work for you….

    Go to AMAZON. Search for lots of stuff you might like to have. Search for stuff you’re actually planning on buying. For a day or two, all of your ads will be interesting to you.

    1. “We asked ourselves, what do people really do with our laptops. We found that Mac users are a broadly DIVERSE group of users. What works for one may. Perhaps a Photoshop user can get along with 16GB of RAM, but a tech guy, may want multiple virtual machines open on his computer, one for Windows, 2 for UNIX, even and extra macOS VM. We’ve created the new Apple UC Laptop. We now have MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBood UC for Ultra Configurable-Ish.”

  3. I hate the Microsoft Ribbon. It was faster when pulldowns were predictable and unchanging. So now Apple copies the idea for an ever-changing interface that forces the user to redirect his attention from the screen to the bar. That’s a step back for a lot of people.

    Does Apple allow the user to TURN OFF the touchbar’s changing functionality? What if a user actually wants to set his function keys and leave them that way? Can the user do this?

    It is extremely handy to always have the ESC key available.

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