Touch Bar coming to iMacs?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tuc, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. tuc macrumors 6502

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    #1
    It's interesting that communication with the Touch Bar is via USB. It seems to me that that would allow for an external keyboard to have a Touch Bar. (A wired one, anyway. Maybe even wireless.)

    I wonder if something like this is coming to iMacs in the future. Might also be nice for MacMini and MacPro.
     
  2. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #2
    This would be cool on a Magic Keyboard, but you can be assured it will be a pricey add-on to be bundled with an iMac. The Force Touch Magic Trackpad 2 costs $49 extra to bundle with an iMac now, and I could see this being at least a $99 add on.

    then there's the issue that they just released a new Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 a year ago, so it would be somewhat odd for another redesign of this in such a short period of time. I'm typing on a Magic Keyboard now and oddly enough they decided to make the function row full size keys so slapping a Touch Bar in it's place would result in a lot of extra space above it.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    I have to believe for the touch bar to be more universally accepted, it has to be included on more macs. The question is, will this work on a wireless keyboard?
     
  4. phairphan macrumors 6502a

    phairphan

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    #4
    I agree. For the Touch ID feature alone, Apple will want this on the iMac. Apple Pay, Apple Pay, Apple Pay.

    I don't see how this would work with the current wireless tech in the keyboard. Bluetooth LE doesn't have much bandwidth—perfect for a keyboard; not so great for a display. Then there is the obvious impact on battery life. This will require a different wireless approach. I suspect Apple is having trouble cramming this tech into a wireless keyboard and this may be one of the reasons there were no desktop announcements yesterday. The simple solution would be to go back to a wired keyboard, but with USB 3 (err...USB-C). However, it would be very unlike Apple to reverse course on their current wireless obsession.
     
  5. sublunar macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Could be a popular combined keyboard/toolbar accessory but I'd say it'd have to be wired. And possibly through USB-C to be exclusive to new iMacs/Minis/Pros when/if they come out. It would also allow them to make the keyboard backlit too which I bet would make it popular (and expensive).
     
  6. AnatomyProf macrumors newbie

    AnatomyProf

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    #6
    I would gladly take a wired keyboard to get the touch bar. I'm not sure I'd want a new iMac without it to be honest. I thought it would be a gimmick, but it looks like it will be very useful, particularly with customization. Not sure if I'll wait until the update to find out though as I might go macbook pro if I can figure out a way to justify the cost and accept the small screen.
     
  7. OS X Dude, Oct 29, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016

    OS X Dude macrumors 6502a

    OS X Dude

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    #7
    Easy way to add this to the keyboard: Wi-Fi.

    The new keyboard could use NFC for pairing (as I believe the AirPods do with the iPhone) and Wi-Fi for data transfer. Even 802.11b would provide enough bandwidth, not to mention range, but they may elect to go with 802.11g for compatibility. Of course, the battery life would take a hit but since they moved to a rechargeable system over a Lightning cable that's not such an issue. After all, you're at your desk anyway when you use the keyboard.

    Maybe they can add a numeric pad and use the extra internal space to house a larger battery? That's something else we clamour for. Oh, and backlighting.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2016 ---
    Hmm, maybe I could work at Apple HQ with that logic :D. Although maybe I'd be better suggesting a wired version that costs £100 more if I wanted that these days...
     
  8. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

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    #8
    I wouldn't mind if the black bevel has a few on-screen touch things including touch-id.
    But it wouldn't matter to me to be honest. I rather have a usb-c => lightning keyboard with the touch-strip, and keyboard in space-grey.
     
  9. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #9
    I could see it being integrated into the bottom of the chin. At least for Touch ID.
     
  10. OS X Dude macrumors 6502a

    OS X Dude

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    #10
    Ergonomic nightmare and it'd diminish the clean design. They'd omit it from the next iMac rather than do that I imagine, especially since they allow remote unlocking from the Watch and Apple Pay via nearby iOS devices.
     
  11. AnatomyProf macrumors newbie

    AnatomyProf

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    #11

    That is a great idea. Make it happen Apple!
     
  12. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

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    #12
    Then why add it to the macbook pro? Just tell customers to spend another 400 to 700 on a watch
     
  13. OS X Dude macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Because it makes sense on the MacBook Pro - it's on the keyboard. Integrating it into the chin of the iMac would involve the user physically raising their arm at a steep angle to use it, their exact reason for not incorporating touchscreens on their computers.

    On a wireless keyboard, it would make just as much sense as on the MacBook Pro. If this had been baked into the display of the MacBook Pro, to illustrate my point, no-one would use it.
     
  14. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

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    #14
    I think touch-id for unlocking on the iMac itself, while being able to use the normal keyboards, wouldn't be a bad thing.

    But I agree if they want to add the touch-bar to the iMac, they shouldn't - they should update their os to support touch-bar on the wireless keyboard and that would mean any mac mini, mac pro and imac and older macbooks can use it as well. But hey, they can't add 400$ on a wireless keyboard, so it simply won't happen at this point. It will not sell as manny macbook pros
     
  15. Oliverhay macrumors member

    Oliverhay

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    #15
    The device could have its own processing & graphics in it! That way it could still use bluetooth LE for connection. Apple mentioned there was a chip related to the Apple Watch powering it on the MacBook Pro, they could take similar technology and build it into a keyboard.

    However, battery live would be terrible - recharging your keyboard daily would be so infuriating. Perhaps it could have a giant battery that would last for a couple of weeks, like it doesn't need to be light, per se.
     
  16. OS X Dude, Oct 29, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016

    OS X Dude macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    It wouldn't, but it's a moot point as Apple will never implement it in that way. They'll bring Mac Touch ID Unlock via the iPhone before that happens.

    If they want to make the Touch Bar valuable/useful, it needs to be on as many Macs as possible to make it worthwhile for developers to accommodate it into their apps. You'll definitely see it on the next MacBook refresh. To not include it on desktops would see the community kick off all over again that they're abandoning those users and perhaps risk the whole idea not progressing after the initial excitement of it wears off.

    Apple have very ably demonstrated that they're happy to charge huge prices for accessories (look at the AirPods) and encourage people to upgrade them (anyone buying a new MBP who has a Thunderbolt 2 device) if they give a bespoke experience, and the power limitations can be easily overcome as I've shown earlier. A Magic Keyboard 3 could definitely happen at the iMac refresh, and is perhaps why their release got delayed for 'not being ready'.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2016 ---
    Nope. That data still needs to get back to the iMac regardless of where the processing is done, and Bluetooth LE ain't gonna cut it. I haven't looked at Bluetooth 5's bandwidth capabilities, so it could well be an option over Wi-Fi and definitely preferable if it can cut it.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2016 ---
    OK, I researched it a little and it appears it could well work. I checked Apple's developer pages, and the Touch Bar just transmits information based on the image that's pressed. The biggest pieces of data would be the images the Bar displays, which will be maybe a few megabytes given their Retina design.

    Products featuring BT 5 are expected anytime from early 2017, so that fits right in with new iMacs. I think we have a winner in the wireless radio contest!

     
  17. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #17
    Dear Lord. I'm on a late 2009 27" top of the line (at the time) iMac, and last year, I finally had to give up on the magic mouse as it kept dropping the bt connection every 15 seconds or so. Nothing I did would fix it. So I'm now humming along with a no-name wired mouse - so relieved not to have to worry about dropped connections, and not having to charge anything either.

    The Touch Bar looks like a great thing, but I dread anything Bluetooth. I can just imagine the immense frustration as it drops connection at just the wrong time - and if a lot of data needs to go back and forth, I can imagine the battery life would be depressing too. And Wi-Fi - I get my internet on the iMac through an ethernet cable, thank you, so no problem there, but looking through threads here, it's not rare to see complaints of constantly dropped wi-fi problems persisting through successive iterations of the OS. Bottom line: any kind of wireless connection is a potential weak point, and I would not be super excited to have to rely on it for mission-critical applications... that way lies frustration.

    By all means, Apple, please implement Touch Bar for the iMac - just could you please make it so I don't have to develop ulcers due to non-stop frustration with dropped connections?
     
  18. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

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    #18
    The MX mouses from Logitech are wireless, but they come with their own little usb plug, very tiny.
    It hasn't lost connection unless the battery has died, which is rare. They last.
     
  19. OS X Dude macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I think that was more down to the first Magic Mouse as many users said it happened far less on the new model. My work iMac has the first Magic Mouse and it does disconnect now and again, often because the batteries have moved slightly and cut the power. This would make sense as the culprit, since the new model has a fixed internal cell and so cannot move.

    I will say, definitely install MagicPrefs if you use the Magic Mouse at all. It's so transparent and, when properly configured, can negate the need for the trackpad.
     
  20. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    #20
    Remember you're driving a display to get the touchbar. That is unlikely for wired keyboard and there isn't enough bandwidth in Bluetooth for such, so it's a nonstarter.
     
  21. Magwin macrumors newbie

    Magwin

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    #21
    But that's why the BT5 is coming this winter, to remove such pesky problems. IoT is just exactly this, and that's the buzzword everyone wants to say.
     
  22. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #22
    Apple by far sells most laptops, so given time, when it is also included on the Macbook and the crippled MBP, the majority of new sales will have it included.. Of course, given the likely price hike of the forthcomming iMac, I would expect them to include it anyway.
     
  23. Firebrand macrumors regular

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    #23
    Apple may want the Touch Bar to be part of ‘the MacBook Pro identity’ only.

    Touch ID coming to the iMac is possible though.
     
  24. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    #24
    Maybe you want to say it. To me, this so-called internet of things in another 3D LCD non-starter.
     
  25. argentum47, Oct 31, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016

    argentum47 macrumors regular

    argentum47

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    #25
    I'm looking forward to this one not for iMac but for use with my rMBP which I use with an external keyboard 99% of the time (either in clamshell or as a submonitor alongside an external monitor).

    I want to get a taste of this Touch Bar thing with $200~$300 (my guess of its price range) instead of dumping $2,000 on the new rMBP only to find that I hate the gimmick.

    And about the bandwidth, I don't know the exact dimensions, but order of magnitude calculations:
    13" x 0.3" x (200 dpi)^2 x (24 bits per pixel) x (60 Hz) = 225 Mbps
    Nope, ain't gonna happen over BT. Even with Wi-Fi this isn't a level you'd want to be driving on a battery for an extended amount of time.
     

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