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Comment: Apple's Touch Bar is their foray into touchscreen MacBooks, without having to go all in
Two days ago Microsoft announced their Microsoft Surface Studio, and I wrote a piece on how it was their answer to Apple's own desktop solutions. It was hard to compare the products' philosophies, especially when I don't think macOS is ready for a complete touchscreen experience. Then Apple announced their new MacBook Pro lineup yesterday and it dawned on me: the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro is Apple's first distinct step into creating a touchscreen display experience in their MacBook line.In the Microsoft Surface Studio piece that I wrote, I brought up how Steve Jobs didn't believe the MacBooks should have touchscreen displays while reports of an “iMac Touch” patent surfaced. Jony Ive even repeated it in a CNET interview, saying it wasn't “particularly useful”. Maybe at the time Apple didn't think a full-on touchscreen MacBook display made sense, but yesterday's event proved they haven't stopped thinking about the possible applications of it. The Touch Bar is a touchscreen though, well more like a multitouch strip and not the 13+ inches of touch input we might have ever expected. Later on in the interview, Ive stated that the Touch Bar “is the beginning of a very interesting direction”.Onstage Apple showed off the Touch Bar's functionality of contextually surfacing shortcut keys within applications. These keys seemed especially beneficial for everyday users who may not be aware of all the various shortcut keys they can find. Touch typists and those comfortable with their keyboard shortcut finger-yoga, may not even think of touching or looking at the Touch Bar. That's immediately what I felt and thought as I watched the first few seconds of the Touch Bar demos. Nearing the end of the event though, it dawned on me. What creative feats could this Touch Bar do when it wasn't just showing me shortcut keys?