Understanding the purpose of the Touchbar

Okay, first up. I’m not convinced that the Touchbar is a replacement for a Touch screen, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime; I’ve been thinking about implementing Touchbar support into my applications, I’m having trouble in trying to understand what the Touchbar actually is. It seems to me that it’s a toolbar of sorts, but also some of Apple’s own apps don’t follow this rule.

What you guys see the Touchbar actually is and how do you think we (as developers) should treat it?

Try it on your non-Touchbar Mac to get the idea?


It is a programmable set of “function keys”, where each key can be any size, any function, or for that matter other controls like sliders (volume for example). All the items on a standard Apple keyboard (F1-F18 or whatever) are replaced by this.

Basically the way I see it… you move your “toolbar” from the top of you app window to the top of the keyboard instead…

Does it look cool? yeah… am I going to spend extra to get it? no… unless they make a desktop keyboard with it built in… THAT I might consider…

As for Apples own apps, they may not have yet retooled all their apps to take advantage yet… but then Apple makes the rules, doesn’t mean THEY follow them :slight_smile:

Have a look at https://blog.agilebits.com/2016/10/28/having-fun-with-touch-id-and-the-touch-bar-in-1password/ . From what I can see from the screenshot the developers have most interface elements on the touchbar. Only the data is not in there.

The Touchbar should not be the Toolbar and show the same buttons!
It’s an extra context sensitive key area.

I think so too.

Think at a touch location to put different user interactive stuff in both getting information to the user and user return informations / orders.

In an extended keyboard, we have two keys for going to the top and to the bottom. Very useful in word processor, spreadsheet, browsers…

Using a video editing (building) software, you can add two buttons to mimic go to start / go to end. But you can reserve a location for a one finger go forward / go backward; mimic the Touch Pad use.

But since I do not saw nor use nor… the Touch Bar, I have troubles to find better explanations.

Sam: did you checked at an Apple Store what the applications that use the TouchBar allow the user to do with it ?

I just get an eye on Apple web site about the TouchPad, and their examples shows a bit more than static Function keys, but not many more. I feel that it is a bit more than Contextual Function Keys than anything else.

Asking the question was a real good idea.

TouchBar is more like HyperCard (at its release time) than AppleScript. I think we have to invent how to use it in our software, with our software: what can be done using a TouchBar.
What use can I have to put an iPad as a second screen, as a connected TouchScreen ?
This seems to me the same kind of question.

[quote=298996:@Christian Schmitz]The Touchbar should not be the Toolbar and show the same buttons!
It’s an extra context sensitive key area.[/quote]
From what I have seen… those apps already Touchbar aware… no longer have whatever toolbar they normally had… if a touchbar is detected the on-screen toolbar is gone, and moved to the Touchbar… if no touchbar is detected… it looks and acts the same as it does today… But the app needs to be reengineered to detect and move the toolbar, its not automagic

I haven’t yet… It’s a very good idea, to actually get a feel for what people are already doing with it, and then decide how we can use it.


And, sometimes, looking at what the market does (other do) open your mind: gives you ideas. Sometimes the ideas are not related to what you see, that is why I wrote open your mind.

Thats because Apple doesn’t want the Touchbar to be a replacement for a touchscreen, obviously.
imo a touchscreen on a MBP would be useless. Looking at all the apps that support it, a Touchbar makes sense.

I have a 2in1 PC (Windows 10). After using it for 5 minutes or so, when I come back to use my MacBook Pro, I am surprised to click in the screen. Think: boot on a two or three older OS, then go back to macOS Sierra. If you miss some features in the old OS, the new one is better. Else ? Re-install the old one (if you can) and install macOS Sierra in an external HD (for testings). Same apply for cars (brakes, clutch, comfort), etc.

It’s a meaning ! It’s a clue !!

’till then (days after I buy this 2in1 PC), I would not think the same as today.

Now, some may dislike (or cannnot acustom theirselves to) touch screens. I totally dislike the Touch Pad “touch is click”. For me a clic is a clic.

I have a Surface 4. With the keyboard attached (read: using it like a laptop) the touchscreen is utterly useless and it is a pain to lift your arm and do some pointing with your finger. It is counterproductive to say the least.
That said, without the keyboard it is very useful to use it as a iPad-like experience.

My two daughters (8 and 10years) are using iPads a lot. And they also do some work for school on the Surface 4. At first, they always wanted to use the touchscreen as they do with the iPads. But they always complained it is more difficult and troublesome. I learned how to use the trackpad instead and they now rarely use the touchscreen anymore. So even my girls automatically wanted to use the touchscreen, because they were accustomed with it using the iPad, they did not found it comfortable. My conclusion : it is not a habit, a touchscreen is just not workable as a laptop setup - even for young people that never used a laptop before.

If I may, you got this twisted. Precisely, kids do learn with touchscreen how to use a computer. Sure, you can teach them the keyboard and the trackpad, but it is contrary to their training. Eventually, all computers but MacBook will have a touchscreen, which people will use or not, but that will be their choice. Some will use exclusively the keyboard, some others will systematically reach for the screen. Just like here there are people who swear by the keyboard, and others like the mouse.

Eventually, I believe computers without touch screen will be regarded as antiquated, even if indeed not everybody uses touch. Then Apple will have to meet demand. Unless of course MacBook disappears entirely at the benefit of the successors of the iPad Pro. Which BTW uses both keyboard and touch. Go figure.

i tend to agree with Michel.

May I add my observation. We need to look at the app, not the device. Then only can figure whether touch or KM is appropriate. Windows 10 apps and iOS apps are designed for touch, therefore the user experience is better with a touchscreen. Imagine for a moment that you can install iOS (of course I know cannot but let’s just imagine) that you can install iOS apps into a Mac. Would you naturally be inclined to touch or stick to the KM? Of course the app can be used with touch or KM but which is more intuitive to use?

On my Sony Vaio Duo 13, I still use KM but only when I am using classic desktop app. The UI is just too small for my fat fingers.

Check this out, a developer has put your running apps in the Touchbar… Now this I see as being useful.

[quote=299095:@Christoph De Vocht]Thats because Apple doesn’t want the Touchbar to be a replacement for a touchscreen, obviously.
imo a touchscreen on a MBP would be useless. Looking at all the apps that support it, a Touchbar makes sense.[/quote]
Here’s my problem with Apple.
Give me the option, let me buy a Touchscreen MBP like a MS Surface Performance (where I can detach the screen) and let me be the judge if it’s useful to me or not. if it’s not, I won’t buy another one later, if it is, I’ll continue to buy them.
Don’t tell me that what I want to buy is absurd and pointless, and show me something that doesn’t make sense to what I want.

Note: I’m well aware that I am not a representation of the ‘masses that buy Apple products’, I got disappointed when they stopped selling the 17" MBP. That thing was a monster and while the 15" rMBP was much much lighter, I do miss the big ass screen and long battery life.

I’ve wanted a Touchscreen Mac since the eMate 300, I’ve always seen that as the future. iOS is great for consumption, but is too limited for production.[quote=299108:@Michel Bujardet]Unless of course MacBook disappears entirely at the benefit of the successors of the iPad Pro. Which BTW uses both keyboard and touch. Go figure.[/quote]
Rumor has it, that’s part of the reason for the delay in the new MacBook, last year their goal was to try to persuade casual MacBook buyer to go for the iPad Pro; although we can see from sales figure that it backfired and ended up costing them.

iOS is perfect for consumption, but it’s too limited for production.

It is interesting that people who dislike Apple products constantly care so much about the future of these. Remember:

I read this a few weeks back. it doesn’t present any stunning news, but it does show some logical reasoning behind the touchbar thingy.

Don’t infer fallacies from others posts. I have been a staunch supporter of Apple for over 30 years. Here for the “dislike”. It does not mean I have no right to say how I feel with IMHO a rather dubious dictate, and even less convincing specious arguments against touch screen.

Precisely because I have followed Apple since the infancy of the company, I know full well it is not infallible. It is not because one of Tim Cook’s minions hates touch screen that he is right. Apple of all companies made touch screen a superb achievement, and did more to popularize it than any other. Now having both side by side iPad Pro and MacBook, one with touch, the other not, is at best a strange couple. It is not a prediction to state that computer users who have known touch all their life will be put off by handicapped, non touch machines. And the touch bar won’t change that.

I have no idea what Apple will or will not do. I just know they got a contradiction on their hands.

It is.


Contradicts the previous statement of yours.

Wrong *.

  • Eli style of discussion.