six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Touch Bar: It’s not a flop for everyone

Steven Aquino says the Touch Bar makes his Mac more accessible:

I find the Touch Bar to be an invaluable tool when I’m using macOS. Where it shines considerably is as an alternative to keyboard shortcuts and the system emoji picker. Tapping a button on the Touch Bar is far more accessible than trying to contort my hands to execute a keyboard shortcut or straining my eyes searching for an emoji. In addition, the Zoom feature—one of the Touch Bar’s many accessibility features—makes seeing controls much easier.

I think there might be some life in the Touch Bar yet, if Apple spends the effort to make it more functional and flexible. (For example, background apps need the ability to place items on the Touch Bar.) Perhaps the biggest problem with the Touch Bar is that some users who don’t want it can’t avoid it—because if you want a modern 15-inch MacBook Pro, you can’t buy a model without the Touch Bar.1

This is on Apple. If Apple’s going to force the Touch Bar into the hands of every MacBook Pro user, it needs to show that it’s actively, aggressively improving the feature. There were almost no changes to Touch Bar in macOS High Sierra. If not then, then when?

In any event, Steven Aquino’s piece makes it clear that nobody should make blanket statements about the Touch Bar succeeding or failing. But where does it go from here? Does it get better, so more people embrace it? Does it become an option, rather than a mandatory feature? Does it fade away? Only Apple knows.


  1. Someone jokingly suggested on Twitter this weekend that maybe a lot of anger at the Touch Bar could have been avoided if the escape key hadn’t been jettisoned. I do wonder if simple tweaks like this might help a lot. ↩