There has been some misinformation going around about the new Touch Bar functionality on the latest MacBook Pro’s and I wanted to set the record straight. After the announcement last week, the idea that notifications and error messages would be making their way to the Touch Bar has been floating around the web. Based on everything I’ve read and heard directly from Apple that is not going to be the case at all.
Take a look at the Touch Bar developer page in Apple’s Developer Portal, right there at the very top in big font is the following:
The all-new Touch Bar revolutionizes the keyboard experience by bringing dynamic controls to your fingertips. This Multi-Touch Retina display at the top of the new MacBook Pro keyboard changes depending on what the user does in your app, so you can surface context-specific features and controls.
The entire purpose of the Touch Bar is to help users find and utilize in-app features that may be nestled in context menus and/or make it easier to accomplish tasks–not to show notifications or [error] messages. In fact, knowing Apple and their stringent approval process for app’s in their App Store’s I believe that will be enforced.
Still unsure? Check out the additional examples provided by Apple on the developer page.
The last thing I’d like to note is Phil Schiller said they did not completely remove the escape or function keys. They are still accessible and able to be shown in the Touch Bar. And for those of you who actually do use the escape key (I’m looking at Vim users), I don’t have confirmation on this but based on the description of the way the Touch Bar is supposed to work, I’d bet you will have access to the escape key when you’re using Vim or at least the ability to show it. I can almost guarantee it.
I’m intrigued by the Touch Bar and yes, I ordered one of the new 15-inch MacBook Pro’s along with what seems to be a lot of other people given that the initial shipping time frame was 2-3 weeks and is now 4-5 weeks across the board for both the new 13-inch and 15-inch models. Will it become one of the truly great features people can’t live without? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, if developers take advantage of the Touch Bar properly (the way Apple is envisioning), then I think we can expect many different use cases for it.