MB Pro TB: is Touch Bar a pretty much pointless gimmick?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Phwoar, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Phwoar, Apr 9, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018

    Phwoar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    #1
    I've been the proud pwner of a MacBook Pro 13 inch Touch Bar model, released late 2016. Runs really well, looks great, super light, battery lasts a long time. As everyone knows, Apple always make reliable machines, and they have a good warranty to boot.

    Before I post this, and before I get accused of trolling or being like the red queen shouting "off with their heads", I'm actually posting as I'm genuinely interested to know if anyone uses their Touch Bar on the newer MacBook Pro for their day to day workflow.

    It's a nice idea, I really thought it would take off, but it hasn't. If you're thinking of buying a MacBook Pro just because of the Touch Bar, don't bother - in my opinion it's just a gimmick Apple added so they can charge more. At least it looks cool.

    So yeah, I have to say I hardly look at the Touch Bar. I think I've pressed it maybe 20-30 times in the entire time I've had this machine, completely pointless in my setup (perhaps others use it?). I feel like the Touch Bar thing was sold as this groundbreaking feature that was going to be incorporated into tonnes of stuff, but over a year on...meh.

    A bit like iPhone X facial recognition, in my setup (again, not everyone's situation) for me the Touch Bar is this useless expensive gimmick consuming extra battery power, a waste of programmers' resources, a waste of an OLED screen, and something that you had to endure in order to obtain the faster processor speed in this model.

    I'm happy to defend this machine on the whole though as one of the best laptops I've ever owned. By a long way.

    Granted, many people have complained in these forums that the MB Pro with TB is crap, but I don't think this is right. It is true that it's one of the most expensive machines Apple advertises (by a long, long way), but there are only a few persistently discussed flaws with the machine, so despite the high price, if you can live with the risk of some things going wrong, then it's worth it. Sure, there are some niggly problems, but what piece of tech these days doesn't have problems?

    For example, in the model I bought, some people we complaining about problems and scratches right out of the box, and failing/clicking keyboards and graphics problems...all of which I've thankfully managed to avoid. (#firstworldproblems, who cares about a few scratches right out of the box? Honestly. It's going to get a few anyway. It's a computer, not a work of art. What matters is the processors/electronics.)

    The one common flaw I didn't avoid was the loose USB-C ports, which on my MB Pro TB are loosening every month and now drop connections to peripherals such as my external storage drives, so I've sadly been through a few $100 drives that had the header corrupted by repeatedly dropped connections. To be honest, the ports on the MacBook Pro TB do not seem fit for purpose, I've taken it in to the Apple Store, had cables tested, the whole bit, it's the ports. Expensive problem to have, but I'm still willing to stick with Apple, and hey there's always great warranty coverage from Apple if I want to be without a machine for 2 weeks while they confirm if it's the ports and if they can fix them.

    I've also found in the past that MacOS that runs on the machine has failed to maintain standardised clipboard protocols so that data within sentences of text is lost between the copy command and paste commands when pasting into Mail, so this requires careful proof reading. But that's something I can live with.

    All in all, the MB Pro TB 2016 13 inch is a great machine - some might argue it has some pointless gimmicks for what is meant to be a serious professional's machine, but I'm guessing at least some people use things like Touch Bar somewhat in their work processes. Hopefully Apple don't continue adding experimental untested unsupported features to the top line devices at the expense of market needs, it could put people off the brand.
     
  2. Closingracer macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    #2
    Since I don't particularly like reading walls of text and I didn't fully read this thread I can say I use it a lot more then the function keys on my old 2015 13 inch Macbook Pro. I love it on safari with the tabs.
     
  3. Naimfan Suspended

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #3
    The touch bar is a needless significant expense and is a frippery.
     
  4. Phwoar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 14, 2016
    #4
    PREACH!!
     
  5. turbineseaplane macrumors 68040

    turbineseaplane

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    Mar 19, 2008
    #5
    Yes - Apple thought it was going to be lauded as a great hit feature and I think they are likely surprised that it hasn't turned out that way.

    If they are going to stick with it, they need to make it a lot better and get it on as many Mac models as possible, both laptop and desktop.

    I predict they'll kill it personally...or perhaps relegate it to the MacBook line if they ever more clearly break apart the Pro vs non Pro notebooks.

    I'd argue the non Pro MacBook segment would enjoy the TouchBar the most.
     
  6. crystalseth macrumors member

    crystalseth

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #6
    I think it’s fun and adds some convenience to the user experience, but by no means is it a “deal breaker” feature that I need from here on out.
     
  7. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    #7
    I use it most with the Mail app to move emails to my favorite folders. Having a context specific button on the TB to move emails in one touch is much more convenient than drag and drop or right click using the touchpad. I also prefer the volume and brightness controls on the TB than hitting physical keys (almost in a way that a volume knob or roller on an external keyboard is better than buttons for this purpose). Touch ID is obviously also a nice plus.
     
  8. Closingracer macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2010
    #8
    God.... You say you aren't writing this to preach but you are... Smh
     
  9. Phwoar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 14, 2016
    #9
  10. Closingracer macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2010
  11. Phwoar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 14, 2016
    #11
    You typed those emoji on your touch bar didn’t you :D and Apple is gonna have to pay for the wall!! I’m tellin’ ya folks!! Gonna be yuge.
     
  12. Closingracer macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2010
    #12
    Actually on my Samsung Galaxy note 8.
     
  13. csurfr macrumors 68000

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    Dec 7, 2016
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #13
    Do I use it often? Ehhh.. Sometimes for a quick autocomplete of words when typing, my FTP program (Transmit) has some good shortcuts with the touch bar, as does Atom (code editor). I don’t really miss the function keys as my workflow doesn’t require them.

    The Touch Bar is really dependent on what you need. Will Apple remove it? I’d say they are more likely to evolve it than ditch it completely.
     
  14. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #14
    At any rate less of a pointless gimmick than the function keys ;)
     
  15. flottenheimer, Apr 10, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018

    flottenheimer macrumors 65816

    flottenheimer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Up north
    #15
    The Touch Bar adds absolutely no connivence to the user experience.
    Instead, it takes time whenever you want to use it. Selecting the function on your main screen is/would be just as fast or faster. I would prefer the old physical function-keys any day.

    I pretty much hate my Touch Bar (Touch ID is OK, though).

    I really hope Apple has realized how impractical the Touch Bar is, and that they will forget all about it on future keyboards. I guess thats not happening though.

    Sigh.
     
  16. Quu macrumors 68030

    Quu

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #16
    I think the Touch Bar is the most useless feature they've ever added to the MacBook Pro.

    I'm hoping they get rid of it on future models, I'd much rather have individual tactile keys so I can quickly change the screen brightness, audio volume and put my Mac to sleep without needing to look down, tap multiple times etc - It's a mess of usability.

    Frustrating when they make big changes like this and don't give us the option to choose. If I could buy a 15" MBP without the Touch Bar I would have upgraded already, simple as that.
     
  17. austyn23 macrumors regular

    austyn23

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    Nov 22, 2017
    #17
    I hate the brightness !!! they have to put some manual brightness control over the TB ...
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #18
    Yeah, I'm in agreement. It may have some neat features, but by large the keys it replaced are of more value for me. I'll put it out there, I'm not an owner of the TB, so my perspective is incomplete as it doesn't encompass day to day usage.
     
  19. sunapple macrumors 68000

    sunapple

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    Jul 16, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #19
    I absolutely loved... changing the volume with a slider. Didn’t care much for the rest (currently using the 2015 model).

    I hope they refine the design somehow. It feels like you have to trade in something to get a minor improvement in return for extra money and that doesn’t feel right. Personal opinion of course, but I heard it more.

    It’s a bit like losing ports for USB-C, it wasn’t rewarding enough. The price increase didn’t help.

    Keyboard issues are the nail in the coffin for me, I’d hate having to deal with that especially when I’m out of warranty.
     
  20. c0ppo macrumors 65816

    c0ppo

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    #20
    They can keep that gimmicky thing, but then, please offer us a MBP without TB. And not some gimped up version, but the real thing.

    Some people claim they didn't use function keys? KB brightness? Volume? Display brightness?
    Even those basic tasks that almost everyone does every day are a complete annoyance on the TB.

    I simply see no use for it at all. And I hope they drop it completely. But knowing Apple, they will push it till the end.
     
  21. tarsins macrumors 6502a

    tarsins

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    Sep 15, 2009
    Location:
    Wales
    #21
    I only really use it for the text suggestions and to change the brightness occasionally. It's OK, doesn't get in the way for me and I could live without it.
     
  22. Macalway macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2013
    #22
    I have both the 15 and 13 TB.

    The TB is a mistake and they know it, and they knew it, and there must have been all sorts of dissension in the groups about releasing this. Perhaps it's just an experiment. (failed one unfortunately).

    NOTE: If they continue to use this, Apple has serious problems. So in a way this will be a very good indicator of the health of the corporate culture. So in THAT way it's a positive thing; a test of sorts.

    We shall see.
     
  23. mario-64 macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2012
    #23
    Well said!
     
  24. ipponrg macrumors 65816

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #24
    I agree with most here. I have a 2015 and 2016 MBP. I get much more productivity with the 2015 function keys over the 2016 MBP touchbar. I can see how it might work for certain people that don't know hotkeys. It otherwise is a complete gimmick. I really hope in the near future they revert back to physical function keys

    I'd love to get rid of my 2016 MBP for that.
     
  25. Mathias Denichi macrumors 6502

    Mathias Denichi

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    #25
    I hate the entire key layout and keyboard, which includes the touch bar. I wouldn’t mind the touchbar if it had its own row + fn keys. I find myself constantly hitting the screen shot button when going for a delete. I actually used my function keys, so I ended up forcing a rebind in certain programs.

    There is plenty of room to fit both the function keys and the touchbar, but I’m sure it was added in place to force a revolution. I feel Apple shamed themselves when they had a DJ play a whole song on the touchbar during the keynote. It was a parody into itself.
     

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