MacBook Pro’s Innovation Ready To Conquer Apple’s New Hardware

The introduction of the Touch Bar to the MacBook Pro in late 2016 has created a new way for users to interact with their desktop, but with only the higher-specification MacBooks carrying the long and thin touch-sensitive screen developers cannot assume that the Touch Bar will be present.

That looks set to change.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (R) previews a MacBook Pro during a product launch event at Apple headquarters (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

The introduction of the Touch Bar is much like the introduction of 3D Touch on the iPhone. The latest smartphones may be able to sense the pressure of a touch, but with a significant volume of handsets in the market that cannot be retrofitted 3D Touch has to remain a gimmick with every feature replicated elsewhere in the interface.

Developers working with the Touch Bar are under the same restrictions. For the moment older MacBook machines do not have the Touch Bar and you cannot walk into a Genius Bar to have one fitted. But there should be an option for the Mac range as a whole. Apple’s desktop machine are now primarily driven by bluetooth-connected peripherals and it’s far easier to replace an older ‘Magic Keyboard’ for a ‘Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar’ for existing users.

Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar Patent drawing (USPTO)


Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar Patent drawing (USPTO)

It appears that Apple has just such a product under consideration. Patents published today and reported on by Apple Insider show a “Keyboard With Adaptive Input Row” and defines the functions of the Touch Bar on a Magic Keyboard nicely. Of course being featured in a patent application is a long way from appearing in the Apple Store, but if Apple genuinely believes that the Touch Bar is the future, then it needs to become more established than ‘on the most expensive MacBook Pro machines only’.

With new iMacs and Mac Pros expected over the next twelve months, the Touch Bar has an opportunity to not only become established in the macOS market with the new machines, but to also drive sales of the new Magic Keyboard and drive up the adoption of the new UI for macOS.


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