The Touch Bar’s Future

Stephen Hackett:

Of course, if Face ID is coming to Macs at some point, the need for Touch ID will diminish. As I outlined in that post, there is evidence that the iMac Pro could be the first iMac to ship with Face ID, but it doesn’t come with a Touch Bar on its custom space gray keyboard. Once Touch ID is gone, will the Touch Bar go with it?

Backing away from the Touch Bar would be a bitter pill for Apple to swallow, but every hardware release where it stays contained to the MacBook Pro, I can’t help but wonder. High Sierra’s lack of major update to how the system and apps can use it makes me wonder even more. Is the Touch Bar going to end up just a weird blip?

Unfortunately, I think Stephen is right. “Unfortunately” because I’m as an avid a Touch Bar user as I’ve come across.

From the start, I’ve used the Touch Bar for a range of Mac processes. I use the Touch Bar to open all my favourite Safari tabs each morning with just a few button presses. I use the Touch Bar constantly in Ulysses. And I’ve found ways to navigate Things 3 by using just the Touch Bar and the arrow keys.

I don’t think it’d be fair of me to call myself a “pro” user, but I’m also not Mac-illiterate. I think the Touch Bar could catch on over time, especially with a group of users who are either learning the ins and outs of the Mac (like me) or with young kids growing up while working on a Mac in the house or at school. Instead of learning the necessary shortcuts in apps, perhaps they’d use the Touch Bar instead.

It’s for this future that I say “unfortunately” above. I don’t see why the Touch Bar can’t exist alongside keyboard shortcuts — these aren’t mutually exclusive features after all. But it’s looking more and more like this Touch Bar future isn’t going to exist.

Unless it miraculously transfers over to the entire keyboard, in which case I’d be jumping for joy.