Touch Bar discussion [merged]

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

  1. Starfyre, Oct 28, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016

    Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    Is it just me, or does the touchbar seem to make no sense when it comes to actual usability?

    When you use any laptop, your focus is on the screen. When you have a touchscreen, you can see what you want to touch, and touch it directly.

    When you've got keys on a keyboard, you know where you expect things, you can feel for them (being physical keys and having muscle memory), and hit "F8" without distracting your focus on the screen.

    When you've got the touchbar.... you effectively have a 2nd screen that you HAVE to look at to know where your touching and what your doing, so to compose an email for example, if you want to use the touch bar, the focus of your eyes has to go from the screen, to the touchbar, find the 'compose' button, touch the 'compose' button for example, and then look back at the screen.

    When you have a touchscreen you just look at the 'compose' button on the screen and touch the 'compose' button. Your focus is where your content and interface is at.

    Is Apple really getting at an intuitive interface with the touchbar? Or is it really creating a distraction by avoiding putting in a built in touchscreen?
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Just out of interest: have you personally used it, or are you judging from what you've seen on the keynote?

    The reason I ask is because all the tech reviewers who have used it say it's great and is a vast improvement.
  3. UnluckyXIII macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2014
    Personally, I believe that at first you will need to look at it as its new, but once you are familiar with the locations of the new function keys you will press them second nature just like you do today when operating a normal keyboard.
  4. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008
    So far almost every hands on report disagrees with everything you say.
  5. Starfyre, Oct 28, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016

    Starfyre thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    Having a touchbar is 'great' from creating a new interactive display, but it creates additional stress and distractions for our brain. If Apple later on built in a multitouch screen into the large trackpad along with the touchbar, its great that you have 3 displays, and cool that the Macbook Pro has built in iPhone like functionality.. but consider the fact that now your brain and eyes have to constantly shift from the main screen, touchbar, to touch pad. You can't rely on your physical senses to know what you need to touch without stopping you from looking away.

    Great on 'cool' factor, but not so hot on reducing distraction. If anything, it's just increasing the number of distractions and the amount of information your brain has to process. Versus just looking at what you want to do on one display, and touching one place directly.
  6. cjrulli macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2010
    Do you look at the keyboard on your iPhone when you type? I don't, muscle memory.
  7. UKFan643 macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2015
    I actually wonder the same thing. I think it's something that we have to experience before we know how it will affect us. But it certainly seems like the eyes will have to dart between the screen and the touch pad more often than it should. I know early reviewers and those who have had hands-on have said it's great, but I'm wondering if that will change once the wow factor is gone.
  8. Havok83 macrumors regular

    May 12, 2012
    Can a person turn the touch bar off and/or just make it permanently display the old function keys so its not dynamically changing with each program?

    How do you not? The keyboard and the screen are one and the same
  9. cjrulli macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2010
    I can type perfectly fine and accurate when not looking at my phone. However, when I am looking at my phone and typing my focus is never on the keyboard. It's typically on the messags, url, game, etc..
  10. Macalway macrumors 68020

    Aug 7, 2013
    I would say marginally useful. Then again, the dock is extremely useful, but it's controlled with the trackpad. With this you have to extend your arm.

    Don't know
  11. Barnfather macrumors regular


    Dec 30, 2009
    The new touch bar is so close to the screen, it's probably within your visual field anyway.

    And I have never developed muscle memory for any F keys, personally
  12. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    I agree, OP. But new gimmicks is want helps sell.

    I realized I am not into two-in-one PCs. I will generally use the keyboard with it. Call me old school and maybe a little bit of a germaphobe with my hands similar to Howie Mandel, but I do like browsing the web without always smudging up the screen like we do with touchscreen mobile devices whether they have screen protection or not. Notebooks maintain cleanliness better for me.
  13. CreativeC macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2016
    I just have no words for this. Please, tell me where you buy the stuff you're smoking.
  14. cjrulli macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ha! I'm not sure I understand your confusion. When I'm looking at my phone and typing a message, my eyes are not focused on the keyboard of my phone but on the area where the text is being written. I could take my eyes completely away from my phone and still type accurately.

    My point of this being is that it's still very possible to develop muscle memory even if there is no tactile buttons. Most users will probably be using the same applications over and over again on their new 2016" MBPs. It may take some time to get used to the Touch Bar shortcuts but I can see many users getting used to them very quickly.
  15. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008
    and this is based on 0 minutes of actual usage?
  16. lympero macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2008
    Arta, Greece
  17. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I think it really depends. What is todays "gimmick" could easily be tomorrow's necessity. I agree with many of your points but also see the positives. If nothing else - I like that it's contextual and can put easy shortcuts in the top row that are meaningful and not fixed.

    In regards to the whole seeing photos in that space, etc - that to me seems like a distraction. I don't think (for me) that using that bar for "controls/visuals" will happen. But like I said - for contextual shortcuts... it's great.
  18. halfbad macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2014
    I think in theory OP is correct, to an extent. But humans are very adaptable, and in technology you need to set a foundation for more interactions, and innovations to move forward. And there will be some changes in the mindset of muscle memory and all I do is look at the screen.

    I you ask most people to turn up the brightness on the keyboard, or launch mission control, 90% of people will look at the F bar and look for the button anyways. Not everyone has the muscle memory to accurately hit F1 to F11, so they are going to look anyways. What this does is give more context and usefulness and versatility and accuracy, as the buttons change on the program, which cannot be reflected on the current keys.

    Couple of examples is like the soft keyboard on smartphones, when everyone freaked out about losing a physical keyboard. People got used to it, saw the value of having a versatile keyboard and multi context/language input display. And here we are a few years later and does it distract or has it destroyed keyboard productivity? if anything it has enhanced it. And there are still innovations to go because there is a forward foundation, and we have adapted and gained out of this change.

    The touch bar is even less of an issue imo, we all use peripheral vision and its' an exaggeration to say it will distract focus. Look at cars today, a million buttons, dials, read outs on dashes and mirrors etc..compared to the 80's, yet it works.

    The touch bar is also the closest physical keys to the screen where your view with your hands on the keyboard is unobstructed. If we were to put a screen in the trackpad that would definitely be distracting as you would have to move your hands out of the way and keep moving your head back and forth.

    This is a small but deeply integrated, experience, and will pave the way for changing something we thought we would never wanted to change. Think of all the new gestures, we learn with each smart phone OS and ways the smart phone has evolved.

    The Mac is finally evolving and this is just right IMO. if we had went with a full LED keyboard and screen trackpad, it could be too much, but once we have experienced the touch bar the possibilities going forward are set in place.
  19. Esmilis macrumors newbie


    Oct 28, 2016
    Thing is, look at the distance from the screen to touchbar? It has pretty much the same angle as dock has. I dont see this as a strain to your eyes, you only have to look down 3 cm more
  20. halfbad macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2014
    In addition I believe the touch bar will also give MORE focus to the important things on screen. If you were say watching a movie on your Mac, the last thing you want is your incoming notifications bothering you. Now we have a place to put tertiary information without infringing on the screen experience.
  21. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    Can you really touch type your function keys? I definitely can't. Partly this is due to me using three different keyboards during the course of may day (external keyboard, work laptop keyboard, and home iMac's keyboard). They all have different sized function keys in slightly different locations. But really I use them so rarely that they are pretty much a waste of time. So I have to look at the picture on them to even remember what they are mapped to.

    I think most people can't touch type function keys. So they have to look at that row anyway. I think the touchbar will be used vastly more than the function keys for most users.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 28, 2016 ---
    Ever see the auto correct issues posted around the internet? The vast majority of folks typing on glass are looking at their keyboards and hence not seeing the auto correct. I don't think people use the function keys enough to develop muscle memory. And they definitely won't be able to with the touchbar changing the meaning of the keys from application to application and even from moment to moment in an application. I think you have to look and type there. But I also think most people already needed to look to pickout a function key. In fact, I don't think most people can touch type the number row.
  22. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
    Welp this thread failed horribly. I am cackling at the backfire. The problem isn't the touchbar. The problem is clearly the price. touchbar is a great idea.
  23. halfbad macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2014
    No, everyone is entitled to share opinions, and there is no failure here only discussion, which is good. Agreed on the price, it's a bit steep, and I wish Apple would have tried a bit harder there. It's not going to make me give up on Mac like some others are taking it.
  24. MacUserUK macrumors member


    Oct 25, 2012
    A status bar would have been more useful.

    Watching the keynote I couldn't help but think that this 'bar' is a pointless piece of hardware. Using the bar to straighten photographs, trim clips in FCPX, select an emotion, clicking Safari bookmarks etc all of these can be done without removing your hands away from the keyboard/trackpad.

    What would have been better is a Status Bar (unless the touch bar already offers this)

    So, it would be cool if the bar showed statues of apps running in the backgrounds.
    • Safari Download progress
    • Which email account has received a message
    • Reminders
    • Media import progress
    and so on.

    Just an idea..
  25. deadworlds macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2007
    Citrus Heights,CA
    In one of the videos from the keynote, they showed an incoming FaceTime call on the touch bar with answer and reject buttons. So it's possible, will have to see how Apple further develops macOS to utilize it as well as third party developers.

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