Why is Apple scared to push the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar technology to all Macs?

“The critically acclaimed MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has fragmented the macOS base,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “s Apple serious about rolling out the new technology across the macOS range, or is the Touch Bar, TouchID and the associated secure enclave destined to be another dead-end for Tim Cook and his team?”

“To be accepted the Touch Bar needs to avoid the fate of 3D Touch – a cute addition to iOS that can be used for secondary functions but one that can never be relied on to be present in a device,” Spence writes. “The technology is included in the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 families, but is not present on the iPad or iPad Pro machines. It can also be found in the trackpads of the MacBook and MacBook Pro machines, but no developer can put a function under 3D Touch and not have it accessible through other methods in the UI.”

“The Touch Bar offered something new for the MacBook and macOS, but it remains a tantalising possibility rather than a sea-change in how users can interact with their machines. Apple did not capitalise on this potential at WWDC with new hardware and the next step forward for the Touch Bar is not likely to happen before the end of 2017,” Spence writes. “Until then the Touch Bar, TouchID and secure enclave remain curiosities for macOS developers that create fragmentation between Apple’s hardware and software.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s not “scared.” They’re just taking it slow. We expect to see a Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar to arrive later this year, perhaps in concert with the iMac Pro release.

3D Touch and Touch Bar functions are not meant to be the sole repositories of functionality. No sane macOS and/or iOS developer would put any function there that cannot be accessed elsewhere, too. 3D Touch and Touch Bar are helpers. Powerful timesavers for those who have them and use them.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tom R.” for the heads up.]


  1. Why are people allowed to write this kind of bullshit? The author doesn’t understand the platform, nor does he get that the reason 3D Touch isn’t on the iPad Pro is that the display technology that makes the Apple Pencil so accurate and amazing, is completely different from 3D Touch. It’s going to take a while to make a display that can do both exceptionally well, and the 120hz pro motion is the first step.

  2. The author is an idiot. 3D touch is very good. I just wish they’d use 3D touch in place of the long tap for icon adjustment and app deletion.

    Once again, the author is clueless in the difference between digital and analog controls. Just another hit whore piece.

  3. I spent several hundred extra dollars to get the MacBook Pro with touch bar. A complete waste of money at this stage. A gimmick. Waiting to see whether it’s ever going to become truly valuable. Oh, and I have over a dozen Apple appliances and work on Macs all day, every day, and have for years. The guy is not an idiot, he has pointed out what’s blinking obvious to anyone who fell for the touch bar. Apple pencil, unless you draw, is no better. Waste of $100. Can’t make notes in Pages even. Pathetic.

  4. 3D touch is a solution in search of a problem.

    The touchbar is apple’s attempt to chase Microsoft. It’s the damn Ribbon and touchscreen all in one. Two horrible concepts merged into something nobody asked for. Mac users know that an always visible toolbar on the main screen and a precise input device is way faster than juggling between two spots.

    It is abundantly clear that the current dorks running the show at Apple have lost sight of great GUI design and efficient controls layout.

    The reason the touchbar isn’t taking off is because it is a gimmick. Software developers and users are not impressed with the needless complication.

    1. I’ve only tried it out in the Apple Store and haven’t experienced all that it’s currently capable of, but I like the *idea* behind the Touchbar: keys that show what they do depending on app or context is several steps up from the ancient days of F-key hint sheets, and they take over the exact same space. Unlike the MS Office ribbon, which takes over valuable screen space.

    2. The digital touchbar points to a greater future, and it’s not a “complication” but rather an alternative.

      In my imagination, you liken the touch bar to, say, adding a half step to a staircase which would indeed complicate use.

      The touchbar can rather be likened to an escalator that runs parallel to the staircase.

      The touchbar is therefore a useful feature for some, and a feature to get people acclimated to using a touchbar in other devices and perhaps even a complete haptic replacement of the keyboard.

      1. How about a touchscreen and leave the Gizmo bar to Samsung.

        To all the whiners who do not want you to touch their blessed screen, what do they do with an iPad? Wear a white glove like Michael Jackson?

        1. They could even start by placing the touch bar at the bottom of the screen, a more natural place for it than at the top of the keyboard. Then move on to a full touch screen.

  5. Amazing how the tone in this kind of fora has changed after US elections. Seems a collective thing going on which brings civilization a few hundred years back in history.

  6. 3D Touch is turned off as a useless waste and nuisance.
    The Gizmo Bar is exactly that- eye candy.

    I would settle for less bullshit like 3D Touch and the Gizmo Bar and a proper lineup of desktop Macs that are not sealed up throwaway toys. Correction, overpriced, sealed up throwaway toys.

    With the Republican repeal of the ACA now on life support, not that the usual G.O.P. Talking points crowd seem to be hiding off of the comments. They promised to dump the ACA (ObamaCare) as soon as they got control.

    Trump, McConnell, Ryan and all Republicans.
    With the stolen seat they have 5 Republicans on the SCOTUS.

    It is almost the 4th of July and they have accomplished just about less than nothing as far as legislation or even a budget. And soon, the Debt Ceiling awaits and they cannot hold it hostage because there are no members of the “Democrat” Party to blame it on.

  7. I think they want to see how it’s being used and what they need to do to make it better. I think it’s a flawed implementation.

    1) The view angle is wrong for me. Touch Bar looks GREAT in product shots from ABOVE. But I don’t thing many laptop users sit so they are directly above their laptop. So the appearance of the screen is faded, much lighter than the real keys.

    2) It lacks tactile feedback. They should at least trigger the trackpad’s Taptic engine to acknowledge a key press. Ideally it would have its own.

    3) It’s too sensitive. I accidentally push ESC and SIRI all the damned time. With normal keys, you can touch them and nothing happens until you actually push them down. The reason this is a problem is because I (and I’d presume others) are in the habit of orienting ourselves on the buttons by feeling them. For example, I use the ` key to activate text to speech when reading articles. So my left hand would feel the left side of the keyboard of my MacBook Air and would find the ESC key and would go one down to hit the right key. If I do that now, it triggers escape because it’s touch, not pressure sensitive. Also, if I’m tying and I reach for number keys or the delete key and if I overshoot slightly (which I apparently do a lot) it activates the nearby touchbar item, even if I don’t push it.

    Bottom line on this aspect is they need to add force touch to the touchbar and have buttons use it. Sliders and other controls can probably stay with touch, but the buttons should require the same force as a regular button.

  8. I can’t imagine how expensive the Mac keyboards would be if they also had the secure enclave and touch bar built in. You’re talking about adding an Apple watch processor into a keyboard, which makes no sense. What Apple should do for computers that don’t have these built in is allow you to authenticate from your iPhone. It would work like this: Your computer is paired to your phone via BlueTooth. It knows it’s nearby. If it is, it sends a secure login or authorization request to your phone. Your phone displays a prompt to use touch ID, explaining what requested it and for what purpose. You touch and the phone sends back whatever crypto key it needs to send to tell the device to go ahead. I’d think that’d be as secure as using your Apple Watch. And if you don’t have your iPhone, then it would revert to the password as days of old. Instead apple only allowed Apple Watch users to log in with their watch. I don’t wear one. But I have a desktop Mac that I’d like to access with the iPhone Touch ID. 🙁

  9. The Touch Bar is partly a hoax. In iPhoto it was possible to play and pause a movie clip by pressing the space bar which was very practical. With Photos Apple removed this possibility and came out later with the Touch Bar and glorified how cool it was to play and pause a movie clip with it. And this is not the first time that Apple removes something and later replaces it or brings it back just to brag about how great the “new invention” is. I find this pathetic.
    Just wait for the next modular Mac Pro. Apple will make it sound as there has never been such a computer before…

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