Has occurred. After five erratic years, Apple has dismissed one of the most iconic, misunderstood and hated elements of its range of notebooks, the Touch Bar. The new MacBook Pros of 14 and 16 “, presented today along with their new processors M1 Pro and M1 Max , finally, have a full keyboard. This includes a top row of function keys, which Until now it was occupied by that elongated OLED touch screen that one day they sold as a reinvention of the keyboard.
Apple has fired it, arguing that its new keyboard is the same as the wireless keyboard, which has function keys that users value: “physical keys replace the Touch Bar, bringing back the familiar tactile feel of mechanical keys that professional users love“.
Goodbye to the Touch Bar is the belated assumption that something was wrong
Unlike other elements that Apple has been removing from some of its products, such as the Home button on the iPhone, or the headphone jack itself, with the Touch Bar, the company seems to be admitting that something was not working since 2016. As futuristic as it was, it never convinced professionals that in sectors such as development they always missed that ESC key a lot, considered by many as the great loss of the teams in which she was replaced.
La Touch Bar It was sold as an item that would improve the productivity of the user, because instead of having to resort to clicking on elements on the screen, it would be enough to configure that tiny screen to have there from emojis to the functions that we use the most of each professional application. But, like it or not, the execution was never good, nor did it show signs of improvement as might have been expected. Instead, many users complained of lack of news and even crashes and bugs in the content displayed on it.
With the goodbye of the Touch Bar you say goodbye not to a feature, but to the expression of Apple’s immobility with something that did not work
That Apple has stumbled around with the Touch Bar to acknowledge that it contributed little (less than the familiar tactile feel of mechanical keys) is not something you saw today. Already in December 2019, with the MacBook Pros presented that year, Apple released a physical ESC key that finally allowed us to have that basic element in computing accessible to muscle memory. Here’s what Phil Schiller, Apple’s VP of Marketing, said at the time:
“There are a lot of customers who use the Touch Bar and benefit from some of its features, but there were also complaints. If I had to position them, the first would be that users wanted a physical ESC key. Adapting was very difficult for many people. We decided, instead of removing the Touch Bar and losing the features that some users benefit from, to add the ESC key. While we were doing it, we already had the new MacBook Air with the separate Touch ID button. People liked that. So we decided to keep the Touch Bar, but leave room for both buttons.
In 2019, Schiller considered that “some users” benefited from the features of the Touch Bar. Two years later, the interests of these users have been buried by something that was a clamor in the professional world, which is what these new MacBook Pro are aimed at.
If the Touch Bar had meant so much to many users outside of the Pro world, we would have seen it on external keyboards and on the MacBook Air., as well as other functions such as Touch ID that have reached these devices, having demonstrated 100% efficiency in their mission: identification in the system and in payments.
The new MacBook Pros are the ones to regret
In 2016, after several years without major changes in the MacBook Pros, Apple decided the family of professional laptops needed to be rejuvenated breaking with the atavisms of the past. This is what he undertook to try to achieve it:
- Arrival of Touch Bar with Touch ID.
- Goodbye to USB-A ports in favor of USB-C.
- Goodbye to the scissor keyboard in favor of the butterfly keyboard.
- Goodbye to the SD card reader.
- Goodbye to the HDMI port in favor of leaving DisplayPort (via USB-C).
- Goodbye to the Magsafe LED Magnetic Charging Connector.
Almost all users, professionals and non-professionals, were disappointed by some of the points. But since there were also advocates for several of these measures, social media and comments from outlets like this one were filled with debates about ideas such as innovation and progress.
The truth is that today Apple recognizes that the physical keyboard is better than the Touch Bar. He recognized in 2019, and after years and years of problems, that the butterfly keyboard was the solution to them. And it has recognized today that the Magsafe magnetic port, SD cards, and HDMI port are so important to many workflows that they should never have left.
Neither the component market nor the users have advanced at the pace that Apple wanted to set, despite the fact that USB-C reigns today
The dongle-life The life of adapters, which in 2016 seemed fleeting, has remained among us When it comes to connecting to external screens or downloading photos from a memory card, and the convenience of magnetic charging has given way to USB-C ports that were pulled from the computer much more dangerously and violently.
The Apple that one day boasted of its bravery (courage) by saying goodbye to the jack port on the iPhone has not been able to keep its bet after five years of the changes to the MacBook Pro, despite the fact that unlike the jack, USB-C and Thunderbolt were potentially substitutes for the items they buried upon their arrival. In few more clear ways can Apple express regret than with tonight’s.