Is there any hope of a 15" MBP with no touchbar?

michael.richard1982

macrumors member
Original poster
May 18, 2018
51
72
The touchbar is my primary reason for not buying this generation of MBP.

I find it gimmicky and annoying, at best. As a pro user I have no need for an "emoji bar".

I do a lot of terminal based work and not having a physical escape key is a dealbreaker (anyone who uses vim will understand).

There used to be an option for 15" MBP without touchbar, however it was weaker spec wise.

Is there any hope in the near future of getting a top end 15" MBP with an option for no touchbar?
 

igorpreston

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2018
20
1
I share your pain about touchbar, but in vim I’m either using jj or jk for escape or rebound esc to caps lock key even on my external regular mechanical keyboard and on my MBP 15 2015, because it’s easier not to move hands and fingers around.

The issues with new MBPs are not in the absence of physical escape key, especially for vim, but overall in low key travel profile, and high failure rate of keyboards overall.

Some people say it’s easier to change brightness and sound with touchbar - well, not for me. I prefer regular keys for that.
 

michael.richard1982

macrumors member
Original poster
May 18, 2018
51
72
Some people say it’s easier to change brightness and sound with touchbar - well, not for me. I prefer regular keys for that.
I absolutely agree with this. I found adjusting the sound level using the sliding bar on the touchscreen much more complicated than a simple button click for up/down.

I know without looking the position for the up/down volume key, I can adjust the volume without having to take my eyes off the screen. On the touchbar I have to look down to find the volume button and then slide a bar to the desired volume. This takes significantly more cognitive overhead.
 

nightcap965

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2004
676
679
Cape Cod
I’ll let you know if keyboard reliability is really an issue. I suspect it’s not. As for key travel, look, I understand your prejudice, but it really takes no time flat to become used to the new keyboard.

Once upon a time, I had a PeeCee with the function Keys on the left as God intended. When IBM came out with the AT, they introduced a new keyboard with the function keys along the top row. If you were a WordPerfect or Lotus 1-2-3 user, this meant retraining your fingers for all of the CTRL-Alt-Shift-Function Key combinations. I said “Hell, no, I won’t go,” and bought three keyboards from Northgate with the function keys in two vertical columns on the left. (This was back in the days when there was a shared office computer, not a computer on every desk.) I carried a keyboard with me like Fast Eddie Felson and his Balabushka pool cue. That keyboard not only had the keys in the right position, but had a very distinct audible thunk. Typing on it sounded like a pitched machine gun battle.

Eventually, I had to deal with reality, and retrained my fingers just in time for the WIMP paradigm shift. “I’ll use a mouse when I grow a third arm,” I said, but again, I had to face reality.

I honestly didn’t care for the first chiclet Apple keyboard, but I quickly got used to it and found I typed faster and more accurately with it. Now my fingers are getting used to the new butterfly keyboard, and guess what? I’m doing just fine. If anything, I’m typing even faster. It’s almost like Apple engineers know what they’re doing...
 

Spudlicious

macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2015
398
207
Bedfordshire, England
I share your pain about touchbar, but in vim I’m either using jj or jk for escape or rebound esc to caps lock key even on my external regular mechanical keyboard and on my MBP 15 2015, because it’s easier not to move hands and fingers around.

The issues with new MBPs are not in the absence of physical escape key, especially for vim, but overall in low key travel profile, and high failure rate of keyboards overall.

Some people say it’s easier to change brightness and sound with touchbar - well, not for me. I prefer regular keys for that.
It's surely difficult to imagine that Apple would find a millimetre of key travel from anywhere. If anything I can envisage laptop keyboards - and not just from Apple- becoming completely flat.
 

igorpreston

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2018
20
1
I’ll let you know if keyboard reliability is really an issue. I suspect it’s not. As for key travel, look, I understand your prejudice, but it really takes no time flat to become used to the new keyboard.

Once upon a time, I had a PeeCee with the function Keys on the left as God intended. When IBM came out with the AT, they introduced a new keyboard with the function keys along the top row. If you were a WordPerfect or Lotus 1-2-3 user, this meant retraining your fingers for all of the CTRL-Alt-Shift-Function Key combinations. I said “Hell, no, I won’t go,” and bought three keyboards from Northgate with the function keys in two vertical columns on the left. (This was back in the days when there was a shared office computer, not a computer on every desk.) I carried a keyboard with me like Fast Eddie Felson and his Balabushka pool cue. That keyboard not only had the keys in the right position, but had a very distinct audible thunk. Typing on it sounded like a pitched machine gun battle.

Eventually, I had to deal with reality, and retrained my fingers just in time for the WIMP paradigm shift. “I’ll use a mouse when I grow a third arm,” I said, but again, I had to face reality.

I honestly didn’t care for the first chiclet Apple keyboard, but I quickly got used to it and found I typed faster and more accurately with it. Now my fingers are getting used to the new butterfly keyboard, and guess what? I’m doing just fine. If anything, I’m typing even faster. It’s almost like Apple engineers know what they’re doing...
I can see why new butterfly keyboards might be more convenient for most users. However regarding touchbar and function keys - nobody in the industry is dropping Fn keya in favor of sensor panel except Apple. So probably it’s Apple who should deal with the reality and do not force “wrong keys position” as you described.

On a side note: I love products to adapt to my needs and habits rather than otherwise. I don’t think Apple will drop touchbar or provide a different kind of keyboard. In fact I think Apple is going to replace keyboard with sensor panel and make it onw big touchbar which will be customizable with software. I have a choice not to buy it, and I’m not buying it - pretty simple.
 

darkmaxdevil

macrumors member
Aug 28, 2011
72
28
Tokyo, Japan
I'm using iTerm2 and Vim daily for work and personal. And I have been hammering my 2016 for almost 2 years when I got myself the 2018 i9 earlier this summer. Neither of them have failed me yet for keyboard usage. I actually found TouchBar to be more productive for me after a bit of adjustment and bettertouch tool. Spotify and a lot of the useful stuffs in the place of useless fn keys (at least for my case). And for the escape key, the only complaint is that, the TouchBar would be nice if it provide some tactic feedback that I actually press the button. Other than that, I just throw my finger at the same place I did for the old keyboard. It works but it doesn't feel right lol.
 

poorcody

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2013
727
539
I'm using iTerm2 and Vim daily for work and personal. And I have been hammering my 2016 for almost 2 years when I got myself the 2018 i9 earlier this summer. Neither of them have failed me yet for keyboard usage. I actually found TouchBar to be more productive for me after a bit of adjustment and bettertouch tool. Spotify and a lot of the useful stuffs in the place of useless fn keys (at least for my case). And for the escape key, the only complaint is that, the TouchBar would be nice if it provide some tactic feedback that I actually press the button. Other than that, I just throw my finger at the same place I did for the old keyboard. It works but it doesn't feel right lol.
In case you're not aware, Better Touch Tool can activate the trackpad's haptic feedback when you press Touchbar "keys". It provides nice feedback. The setting is under the "General Toucbar Settings" button, in the "Advanced" panel.
 

CodeJoy

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2018
400
586
The touchbar is my primary reason for not buying this generation of MBP.

I find it gimmicky and annoying, at best. As a pro user I have no need for an "emoji bar".

I do a lot of terminal based work and not having a physical escape key is a dealbreaker (anyone who uses vim will understand).

There used to be an option for 15" MBP without touchbar, however it was weaker spec wise.

Is there any hope in the near future of getting a top end 15" MBP with an option for no touchbar?
I don't think there's going to be another MBP without Touch Bar, unfortunately. I would have got one if there was one, but I suspect this is a case of just either adjusting to the reality and get one with Touch Bar, or just get a Linux laptop. The 13" nTB is just too poor value currently to even consider.

That said, in vi the escape key is where it's always been. It's a fair bit annoying to not feel if you've pressed it or not, but it does work. Maybe it's possible to set up some audio or visible feedback with some app. The function keys I can accept being gone, but I would really have wanted a physical escape key. Seems like a case of ivory tower isolated design, where designers design for themselves and think everyone else has the same work patterns.
 
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Shredder-

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2012
143
13
In case you're not aware, Better Touch Tool can activate the trackpad's haptic feedback when you press Touchbar "keys". It provides nice feedback. The setting is under the "General Toucbar Settings" button, in the "Advanced" panel.
Sounds like a game changer, first time I'm hearing about this feature