Craig Federighi Says Touch Bar on New MacBook Pro Has 'So Much Potential' For Developers

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YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee has shared an exclusive interview with Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi. The pair chatted about the new MacBook Pro and its customizable Touch Bar, which Federighi said is "going to be great" and has "so much potential" for developers.


Touch Bar is a Multi-Touch strip of glass that replaces the standard row of function keys on the new MacBook Pros, providing users with system-level and app-specific controls that contextually change. For example, when a user types text in a document, the Touch Bar might include controls for adjusting the font face and size.

MacBook Pro users can interact with the Touch Bar using gestures. Tapping activates a control, such as a button, or selects an item, such as an emoji. Touching and holding initiates a secondary action on a control, such as a button. Panning moves an element, such as a slider of photos or emojis, from side-to-side.


The questions and answers below were edited slightly for clarity and brevity.

"Why now? Why 2016 for us to arrive at the Touch Bar?"
A lot of it came together in terms of the technology being just right to really pull this off in this kind of form factor -- such as Touch ID and the quality of the display. We wanted it to feel just completely native to the keyboard and completely real -- and be so responsive. We were able to take so much that we've learned in the hardware for iOS devices -- and even so much of the security model of iOS, like for Touch ID -- and incorporate some of our custom silicon to make it happen. A lot of things had to come together to make this possible. It's exciting to finally have it out.
"Similar to Touch ID in the iPhone, Touch Bar will get better with time, right? What are you most looking forward to seeing, maybe in a year from now, when we have these and developers get their hands on it? What kind of stuff should we expect to see?"
What's been really awesome is that we've brought some developers in over the past month -- and we just showed a small subset of the ones that had come in and already started doing work -- and they have a lot of great ideas. Look at djay Pro. It's so exciting when we develop a product and we have a vision of what we can do with it with our apps. We know inherently this is a device with so much potential because it's just a versatile Multi-Touch display. When you get it in the hands of these developers and it's like, "we didn't think of that, but that's just awesome."

I'm really excited about what we've seen so far. I think, of course, a lot of people will do buttons and sliders, but I think there will be this next wave where people say, "hey, this is like custom hardware." You can create the control that supports the best mechanic for whatever it is you want to do in your app, whether that's a game doing something really novel or music, which is so awesome for those kind of real-time capabilities. It's going to be great, but I'm really excited about how fast it's already happening. I think day one, you get one of these, and it's going to be great.

Apple's newly published design guidelines refer to the Touch Bar as an extension of the keyboard and trackpad, not the display. Apple does not want developers to include display alerts, messages, scrolling content, or static content in their Touch Bar extensions, but rather controls that resemble the appearance of the physical keyboard keys in terms of size and color.
Although technically it's a screen, the Touch Bar functions as an input device, not a secondary display. The user may glance at the Touch Bar to locate or use a control, but their primary focus is the main screen. The Touch Bar shouldn't display alerts, messages, scrolling content, static content, or anything else that commands the user's attention or distracts from their work on the main screen.
The guidelines also tell developers not to include functions solely in the Touch Bar to ensure backwards compatibility with older Macs. There must always be a way to perform tasks using the keyboard or trackpad. Apple also tells developers not to use Touch Bar for well-known keyboard shortcuts such as find, select all, deselect, copy, cut, paste, undo, redo, new, save, close, print, and quit.

Article Link: Craig Federighi Says Touch Bar on New MacBook Pro Has 'So Much Potential' For Developers
 

Arthur75

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2015
306
229
paris, france
Anybody knows whether the headphone jack on the 13 and 15 new MBPs is still also an optical audio line out (like on previous models), or is it just a simple headphone jack ? I use my MBP a lot closed, hooked up to a desktop display and to my audio video amp via optical audio out, and would be quite pissed to go back to analog hook up to the amp, which created plenty of scratching and strange things ...
 

recoil80

macrumors 68040
Jul 16, 2014
3,022
2,632
Sure it has great potential and it enhance the user experience with fullscreen app.
When I work on my MBA I really need space and putting some toolbar buttons on the touch bar would be great. But I never look at my keyboard while typing so I'd have to change the way I work with my computer.
It is cool technology but not a game changer, at least not for everyone
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,850
12,712
Okay I guess maybe I'm not understanding this too well but why on earth would they let developers use this thing to input emojis of all things, but not let them use it for shortcuts to something useful but often tediously accomplished via keyboard shortcuts like select, cut, paste, etc.? For some people with limited range of movement due to injury or arthritis, this would be useful. You wouldn't need to eliminate keyboard shortcuts, just enable a new alternative.
 

Zorrotoro

macrumors newbie
Oct 27, 2016
13
22
Gimmick AT BEST. A little too late. Um...Fujitsu laptops had fingerprint unlock technology before 2010 and many Windows laptops already have 4K screens with multi-touch gestures. As always, enjoy your overpriced MacBook Pros. I wish I could put MacOS on a Dell XPS laptop. Much better design.

-1
 

Capt T

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2010
968
250
Okay I guess maybe I'm not understanding this too well but why on earth would they let developers use this thing to input emojis of all things, but not let them use it for shortcuts to something useful but often tediously accomplished via keyboard shortcuts like select, cut, paste, etc.? For some people with limited range of movement due to injury or arthritis, this would be useful. You wouldn't need to eliminate keyboard shortcuts, just enable a new alternative.
From what I saw of the Adobe demo, they do let them use it for shortcuts. I think the emoji thing was a stab at humor with the messaging app....

I think people are getting hung up on a minor option that was shown, which they don't care for, and not paying attention to the real potential. And once the shortcuts are there, and as a user you are used to where you or a dev put them I doubt you will need to look to use them.
 

HJM.NL

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2016
2,081
3,702
Netherlands
I haven't tried it myself and although it looks nice, I think its an ergonomic disaster. You go from the trackpad (blindly) to the touch bar (you have to look), use it... look at the screen if it's okay and over and over again... Can't believe Apple comes up with such an ergonomic disaster like this. They really don't get it and are out of ideas. Did this really took 4 years to develop :eek:.

Same for photo's. I don't get the double functions with the trackpad. Multitouch on the trackpad is ergonomic logical in my opinion (you can keep your eyes on the screen and naturally perform certain tasks on the trackpad).

I understand the pricing. Numbers of Apple's iPads are down for years, by upping the price for the notebooks, they hope to sell more iPads. With this pace of innovation they'll sell less from both.
 

colbertnation

macrumors regular
Nov 20, 2009
162
248
Poor Craig. It feels like him and Phil are the last of the SJ bred senior execs who actually want to innovate and push the boundaries. But they're held back by Timmy's penny pinching ******** and Jony's idiotic quest for an invisibly thin Apple device.

The way Craig says in his first answer, that they've been working on this for years.. to me it sounds like "FFS, Timmy finally let us get this out."
 

BPresh

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2015
70
99
Gimmick AT BEST. A little too late. Um...Fujitsu laptops had fingerprint unlock technology before 2010 and many Windows laptops already have 4K screens with multi-touch gestures. As always, enjoy your overpriced MacBook Pros. I wish I could put MacOS on a Dell XPS laptop. Much better design.

-1
You're really going to compare 2nd Gen Touch ID to pre-2010 Fujitsu laptop biometrics?

....
 

Leo90

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2014
473
397
Apple starts reminding me Microsoft and Sony of 00's sitting in its throne neglecting all the innovation that's been happening in the industry and simply adding minimal functional innovation to their product lineup. I love my 2016 MacBook as it is a great computer overall but I wish Apple would be brave enough to start thinking outside of the box. What about higher integration between iOS and MacOS? What about augmented reality potentials? I am sorry Federighi, this touchbar looks interesting but you can see straight away it is a gimmick, it is not ergonomic to work with, there will be a point the user will just grab a mouse and do all those tasks quicker. Dont try to fool us with "developers" talk now, this is not iOS, this is macOS, the same OS whose App Store is pretty much dead. I really enjoy Apple products, but somehow I start feeling they are becoming overhyped this day and I cant simply justify spending 2k pounds like this for an additional touchbar and a few improvements. I want Apple to start focusing on their products again and not only sales pitch and marketing.
 

mschira

macrumors newbie
Oct 20, 2015
4
21
Yea. Well of course he's saying it's great. That's his job.
Me? Render me unimpressed. They are nice machines, for sure. But they are ridiculously pricey. And they are not what customers wanted. How many Macbook Pro owners where waiting for a smaller pro? I think not many. How many Macbook air owners wanted a more powerful Macbook Air and where willing to pay the premium? Not many - they could have gotten the older Macbook Pro Retina.

Oh of course how many wanted to get rid of the standard USB ports, because they take up soooo much space?

But what we got is a price hike. Awesome. That's what we've all been waiting for.
Truth is, we've been warned. When Apple decided to marry beats audio, well known shiny, overpriced but poor sound hardware...

And look who's came up with an innovative piece of hardware with a useful pen for an desktop just yesterday?
mschira
P.S. and they killed the Macbook air 11. Why? I love this machine. And if they had to where is the replacement? I mean the 12" Macbook is nice for people wanting a typewriter and surfmachine, but the anemic hardware can't replace the 11" Macbook air. Why not come up with a slightly thicker 12" machine with a 17W CPU?
 

subsonix

macrumors 68040
Feb 2, 2008
3,551
79
I haven't tried it myself and although it looks nice, I think its an ergonomic disaster. You go from the trackpad (blindly) to the touch bar (you have to look), use it... look at the screen if it's okay and over and over again... Can't believe Apple comes up with such an ergonomic disaster like this.
But how often do you use the function key row blindly to begin with, those keys are pretty much useless IMO because you never know what functionality they provide in different applications.
 

sshambles

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2005
728
981
Australia
Cool feature, but hardly worth the 'Hello again' tagline IMO.

What has happened to Apple's continuity?

iPhone 7 with no headphone jack - plug in via Lightning, okay sure. But to then KEEP a headphone jack on their updated MacBooks instead of replacing it with a Lightning port? This doesn't keep in line with their 'courage' statement. It simply DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

And in all seriousness, this NEVER would have happened.....
 

Wolfram66

Suspended
Jul 19, 2016
21
56
Australia
And so much potential for money.
lol

& "being just right to really pull this off" What was that movie the great heist lol Just really dumb about the ram, being the same for like 5 years ? Built in obsolescence. Have to get proficient with windows again. The Dell XPS are pretty tricked out with 32gB and 1TB SSD and 2Gb graphics for less and true 4K display ?
 
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