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macrumors 68020
Original poster
Nov 4, 2009
London, UK
While at the Apple Store. I feel the Touch Bar is Apple's attempt at testing the water for full touch screen keyboards. Watch this space.



macrumors 65816
Jun 16, 2014
Houston, Texas
While at the Apple Store. I feel the Touch Bar is Apple's attempt at testing the water for full touch screen keyboards. Watch this space.


Yea I think you have a point. I have heard, although I haven't verified, the the touch bar portion of the new MacBook is actually ran by iOS software. I think they will continue to blend features from both iOS and macOS. I think the touch bar is as close as they will get to a touchscreen laptop though, at least for now. MacOS seems to be taking on more and more of iOS design and features, and I think that's a great. I wish that iOS would become a little more like macOS in some cases. I know that they are two separate operating systems, but in my dream scenario, they come out with a surface like device which would either run a hybrid of both os', or give you an option to dual boot iOS and macOS. It will never happen but one can dream:)
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macrumors regular
Jun 1, 2016
While at the Apple Store. I feel the Touch Bar is Apple's attempt at testing the water for full touch screen keyboards. Watch this space.


Personally I don't think they will even if they could add Taptic feedback. One of the major problems on typing on a touch screen even if you have it in the perfect typing position is the stress you put on your fingers. I can't remember the figures exactly but studios show that when using a touchscreen keyboard you 'press' each key with many times the force of a physical keyboard. This increases finger injuries/complaints


macrumors newbie
Jan 11, 2017
Connecticut, USA
Honestly I don't think so either. speaking as a designer also working on user experience, Changing the keyboard to a touch screen wouldn't solve anyone's problems. The keyboard on the new macbook pro was to help make typing much better with it being less squishy and stuff compared to 2015s macbook pro. The touchbar is an attempt to add efficiency without a touchscreen. But using a touchscreen as a keyboard will probably add more problems then fix any if there is any. That's my take on it though Idk what they will actually do.


macrumors 68000
Nov 26, 2014
I would hate a touch keyboard. I need the tactile feel of real keys in order to type properly. Even though I touch type all the time, I still pretty much suck at it in comparison.

Since the touchbar doesn't really function like a keyboard, I don't see it as a test for such a radical implementation.


macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2017
New York
Maybe something like that Tactus keyboard from a while back? Not sure whatever happened to them. It was a thin film over a screen that, when activated, made physical buttons rise over the keys on the screen.

I love my iPad Pro, but without the Smart Keyboard it wouldn't be half as useful to me - it's just not great to type on a perfectly flat screen like that.


Nov 23, 2012
I hope not. I have no desire to have a touch keyboard on my MacBook Pro.
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macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2016
suspension waiting room
I can definitely say that I would not buy a touchscreen keyboard and pass if they offered an MBP with one. I know haptic has come a long way but there's a big difference between that huge touchpad and individual keys. It does sound like they might add oled on physical keys, at least that's what I've read. I don't have much use for that either, but it wouldn't be a step back in any way.


macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
OLED on individual keys probably makes more sense from a feedback perspective. Either way it would reduce the number of different parts to produce for I18N versions like what they have to do with existing keyboards. Which would theoretically simplify manufacturing. Costs would be shifted, but only Apple could say if it would be cheaper that way. Maybe more expensive at the start, but cheaper long-term?


Jul 14, 2015
I don't like touchscreen keyboards for the long term because I can't rest my fingertips -- not even gently -- on them like I can with mechanical keyboards.

Right now, on my regular MBP, I've got the little nubs on the "F" and "J" keys keeping my hands placed correctly, and I'm not even really looking down. I've never been able to do the same on my iPad.

Remember the multitouch keyboards you used to be able to buy as a replacement on a Mac laptop? This was well over a decade ago, sold as MacNTouch by a company called FingerWorks. You could totally remove your standard iBook or PowerBook keyboard, plug one of these into the case, and gain a bunch of cool swipe-and-pinch gestures.

Videos are nearly impossible to come by because the company vanished prior to Youtube..

Apple bought FingerWorks and all of their tech, which made its way into the iPhone and iPad (and everything else, for that matter, in one form or another). However, Apple's been sticking with physical keyboards on their laptops. All the multitouch gestures -- and, crucially but invisibly, palm rejection software -- are moved to the big trackpads.


macrumors 6502
Dec 29, 2016
The Netherlands
I don't like touchscreen keyboards for the long term because I can't rest my fingertips -- not even gently -- on them like I can with mechanical keyboards.

Yup, I have the same. When I got my 2016 MBP, I thought it was broken. Dialogues would flash up and disappear, sometimes it would do weird things in apps, et cetera. Only after an hour I found out the cause. Apparently I have the habit of resting the fingertips of my left hand just above the 1/2/3/4 keys. Which is on the TouchBar...

Apple 26.2

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2011
What up, 212?!
I see where your train of thought, but I don't see the implementation being successful. It's obviously fine for phones and tablets, but for productivity machines? I can see that being problematic.


macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
I don't think you'd ever see a full touchscreen keyboard on any respectable computer. However I do think there's a possibility of turning each key into a little OLED, which dynamically change depending on the app. Similar to how the touchbar works.

Anyway, that's a long way down the road, crucially they still need to be keys to work. Functionally, it should be exactly the same as using the current keyboard except that the letters change. That could work but a ways off, possibly next generation but likely the one after.

In terms of this touchbar being for testing any waters. I don't think so, it's likely this will make its way into all Macs in time and I don't see it as an 'experiment' or anything like that. It does add functionality for most users without detracting from experience, which is a good thing. But could be obviously improved by haptics, which is where I think they'll go with the next version.

Trey M

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2011
While a device of the type you describe is certainly a possibility, I highly doubt Apple will move away from laptops anytime soon. MacBooks are used in a wide variety of fields, including Apple's in-house development in some cases, and users love their machines. The physical keyboard/screen combo is a successful formula and I think it's here to stay for at least the next 5 years.

I can see a new type of hybrid device being created with a touchscreen keyboard as you describe, however I don't think that's the future of the 'Macbook' line, even if this theoretical device does cannibalize Macbook sales one day.
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