Mixed feelings about the Touch Bar?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by badlydrawnboy, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. badlydrawnboy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #1
    I've pre-ordered a new 13" MBP with the Touch Bar. I think it could have some pretty cool functionality, and I'm willing to see how it evolves. I've had resistance to some new Apple "innovations", but over time found them to be useful. Independent of the Touch Bar app functionality, I love the idea of being able to login/open my MBP with fingerprint ID.

    My single biggest hesitation to the Touch Bar is that I currently use a utility called Spark that turns the Fn keys into application launchers. For example, F12 opens Polymail, F11 opens Fantastical, F10 opens Chrome, etc.

    This is the fastest way I've found to switch between applications, and it really speeds up workflow. Every other method of switching between apps I'm aware of requires at least two button presses or use of trackpad or mouse. For example:
    • Command-tab to scroll through applications (at least two button presses, often more)
    • Alfred or other application launcher: command-spacebar to invoke, then start typing application name (multiple presses)
    • Activate mission control with 3 finger swipe, then choose application
    All of these methods are way slower than what I described above.

    I'm wondering if there will be a way to configure Touch Bar to continue using Spark with Fn keys. At the very least, my guess is I'd need to use a modifier key to display the Fn buttons on the bar, which would add a button press.

    I suppose I could order the MBP without touch bar, but then I'd lose out on fingerprint ID as well as some of the potentially good Touch Bar features.
     
  2. hojx macrumors 6502

    hojx

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Location:
    Singapore
    #2
    Craig Federighi demoed during the presentation how holding the Fn key will turn the Touch Bar to standard Fn keys.
     
  3. ToddJ macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    #3
    Has anyone seen any images of the Touchbar using iTunes?
     
  4. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #4
    Okay, so worse case scenario is that the Touch Bar increases the # of button presses I need to do to change applications from one to two. Unfortunately this is a significant slowdown, because the Fn key is way down on the left and the keys I use to switch apps are on the upper right.

    And that's assuming Spark will even work with Touch Bar.
     
  5. hojx macrumors 6502

    hojx

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Location:
    Singapore
    #5
    Oh, are you saying you are using the function keys by default without holding down Fn? Yes, there is a setting to have the function keys by default for the Touch Bar.
     
  6. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #6
    Yeah, that's how I have it configured. I just hit the function key that I mapped to each app in Spark to switch to it or open it. Very fast. Then when I want to use the volume, brightness, etc. adjustments I hold down the Fn key. I use those far less frequently than opening/switching apps so this works well for me.
     
  7. geachy92 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    I use spark as well, but I have my 5 most common apps linked to pressing alt + ` or z or x or c or v

    I find that way I don't have to reach all the way up the function row and my hands stay exactly where they would when I'm doing normal typing.

    But if you have the 'alt' key mapped to something else I can understand why it would be a pain.
     
  8. kasakka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #8
    This is what I don't get. It looks fancy but is just poor usability. Fn should turn the number row into function keys like it's on 60% mechanical keyboards. That's much easier to reach than one row higher with no haptic feedback.

    To me the touch bar is a solution to a problem nobody had. While the function key row was not something you would use often on the older models I don't think anybody was wanting a small screen to look at over there. I would have been fine if they had just put a Touch ID button somewhere in there. The upcharge for that little screen strip is also pretty high.
     
  9. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #9
    Cool, I think I'll try it your way for a bit and see if I can get used to that.

    You may be right, but I'm open to it being more useful than everyone expects. I'm excited about the 1Password implementation; being able to use TouchID rather than type in my long (and complicated) master password every time will be a huge time saver. Of course that would only require TouchID, not the full Touch Bar, but I think software developers may come up with some cool implementations (like Photoshop).
     

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