Usefulness of the Touch Bar, Flagship Feature of the New MacBook Pro
Sam is finally home after a busy day at work. He has some time and as he is sitting down at his new computer, Apple’s latest MacBook Pro, he is thinking that he might explore the Touch Bar, its flagship feature.
What is the Touch Bar then? It is an OLED display strip replacing the physical row of function keys. As Sam begins his investigations, he quickly discovers that this dynamic zone at the top of his keyboard allows apps to display custom buttons, sliders, switches and scrubbers, thus adding a new way to his interaction with Mac applications that goes beyond text input and mouse pointers.
So what does he first observe? Well, he notices that the Touch Bar’s main interface is split into 3 sections: a system button, the area for variable app controls and the Control Strip.
The system button, controlled by macOS Sierra, displays a Cancel, Done or virtual ‘esc’ key.
The ‘app region’ in the middle will light up with contextual buttons and actions of different kinds, depending on the type of currently activated app. The keyword here is flexibility and some of the things Sam will be able to do are ones like expanding, contracting and customizing system controls, answering his iPhone or FaceTime call from the keyboard without moving his cursor, selecting palette and tap to choose a color for text and objects, getting quick access to text suggestions and emoji in apps like Messages and Mail or accessing the function keys by holding down the FN key on the keyboard among others.
The Control Strip on the right contains media keys and brightness controls. It can be expanded or collapsed depending on how much of the Touch Bar screen real estate Sam would wish to dedicate to app content.
Sam could also configure his Touch Bar to display a virtual set of normal function keys.
According to Apple, the Touch Bar contains a custom T1 chip powering the Touch ID and Apple Pay features.
Next, Sam notices that its controls always take up the full height so he is only dealing with a movement along the X-axis.
Then he realizes that the buttons appear with vibrant and saturated colors.
As his Touch Bar experience continues, Sam discovers that Apple’s Developer API enables third-party developers to create unique but relatively-static controls for their individual needs.
Sam feels that the Touch Bar is as responsive to his touch as his other device that he keeps carrying with him every day, namely his iPhone. He also sees that it blends in beautifully with the rest of the keyboard. His wide color OLED display is responsible for making his virtual keys appear real.
Mission Repair Centre recommends that just like Sam, you too should explore your Touch Bar feature on your MacBook Pro, if you have one. You will be happy to know that there are already many apps with Touch Bar support which are currently being developed and will be released before the end of this year.
Time will only tell if this flagship feature shall become an essential part of each future Mac. For now, it is something that is really worth exploring.
Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂