OFB

The Missed Third Act of the Apple Touch Bar

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:38 PM

I might be in the minority, but I actually like the Apple Touch Bar:

The way we use the alphanumeric and function keys on a keyboard are quite different. We pound letter and number keys repeatedly by feel when touch typing, so tactility is paramount. The butterfly keyboard failed the “Design is how it works” test, trading an appearance problem for a how-it-works problem.

The Touch Bar isn’t just for looks; it also solves a how-it-works problem in the more cryptic regions of a keyboard. The “F8” label tells me nothing about what it does, say, in Adobe Photoshop.

Diverting F-keys to be “multimedia keys” has been a decent solution for most users, but limits the utility of a significant part of a laptop’s real estate. While in Word, one sixth of the control area of my computer is devoted to functions like “play” and “pause” rather than “bold” and “italic.”

Read my whole Touch Bar eulogy and case for a third edition of the same here.


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