Friend of the site Chuq von Rospach writes about the challenges of the Touch Bar:
It seems to me Apple fell in love with the technology of the Touch Bar system, which if you dig into it a bit is a stunning piece of engineering, and expected all of us to fall in love with it as well. The problem is: Apple rarely sells things to us based on neat technology, it sells us based on the stories of how that technology will solve problems for us, and right now, the problems a Touch Bar solves for us that we care about being solved are few and far between.
Can Apple find the “killer app” (god, I hate that term) for the Touch Bar? It sure needs it. I’m not sure what that would be, though, but I want to give them another release cycle of MacOS for them to figure it out.
Giving developers more power to access the Touch Bar, including offering controls that are available in the Control Strip rather than just per-application, might help. But I do wonder if perhaps the Touch Bar’s greatest use, were it to become ubiquitous, would be in providing tutorials, shortcuts, and training to less adept users. Those aren’t the people buying new MacBook Pros today.
The real question, as Chuq points out, is how committed Apple is to the Touch Bar. If it really believes that the Touch Bar is the future of the Mac, we should expect to see it creep across the product line, desktop and laptop alike—and we should see major investment in advancing the Touch Bar interface in macOS. We haven’t seen a shred of evidence of that so far. It hasn’t even been a year yet, so there’s still time. I’m not ready to declare the Touch Bar dead yet, but if today’s Touch Bar is all the Touch Bar is ever going to be, it’s not going to make it.
(See also: Josh Centers on the Touch Bar at TidBITS.)