'TouchSwitcher' and 'Rocket' Apps Let You Switch and Launch Apps From the Touch Bar

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Apr 12, 2001
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Two free third-party Touch Bar apps have been making the rounds this week that may be of interest to some owners of new MacBook Pros. The apps essentially offer alternative ways of accessing pre-existing macOS functions.

TouchSwitcher adds an icon to the right side of the Touch Bar that when tapped brings up a list of currently running apps for quick app switching, similar to the Command + Tab keyboard shortcut.


One limitation of the Touch Bar discovered by TouchSwitcher's developer is that only one non-system control can be displayed in the right-hand strip, meaning other Apple apps compete for the same space.

iTunes for example overrides TouchSwitcher when music is played, and the TouchSwitcher app must be restarted to make it re-appear in the control strip. To manually regain access to the default media control button, users can long press on the TouchSwitcher app icon to quit it.


Another new app called Rocket lets users launch apps from the Touch Bar. Rather than live in the system control strip on the right though, Rocket is a standalone app that can be invoked using a keyboard shortcut, whereupon it displays a list of app icons along the left side of the Touch Bar.

TouchSwitcher and Rocket (listed as a beta) can be downloaded for free directly from the developers' websites.

Article Link: 'TouchSwitcher' and 'Rocket' Apps Let You Switch and Launch Apps From the Touch Bar
 
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JosephAW

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2012
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Why do I have this feeling that Apple will start blocking third party apps for the touch bar that are not in the App Store in the next Sierra update.
 

ike1707

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Jan 20, 2009
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As someone who always disabled the shortcut keys in favor of the function keys, I won't be remotely disappointed if the Touch Bar falls flat on its face.

It's almost comical that this Touch Bar revelation of theirs would come with the "pro" series laptops, because anyone who makes in depth use of adobe apps (and probably loads of other design software) will simply lament the loss of the function keys because countless keystroke shortcuts require them.

I don't think any professionals want to bank their user experience on "Touch Bar support"
 
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neuropsychguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 29, 2008
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So gimmicky. Makes it seem like a huge workaround to do normal stuff.
That's always the case with new technology/features. Just about every initial app for the iPhone when Apple opened it up to outside developers was gimmicky (many still are). It takes time before potential is realized. Maybe the TouchBar will go down as nothing but gimmicky but maybe not. It's way too early to tell.
 

gordon.illan

macrumors newbie
Nov 26, 2016
1
1
As someone who always disabled the shortcut keys in favor of the function keys, I won't be remotely disappointed if the Touch Bar falls flat on its face.

It's almost comical that this Touch Bar revelation of theirs would come with the "pro" series laptops, because anyone who makes in depth use of adobe apps (and probably loads of other design software) will simply lament the loss of the function keys because countless keystroke shortcuts require them.

I don't think any professionals want to bank on their user experience on "Touch Bar support"

Unless the intended use is for the "current" app to display meaningful soft function keys (icons/labels).
 
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KiraDouji

macrumors member
These would probably be helpful for people who do not use keyboard shortcuts or have them ingrained in memory, but otherwise they are mostly proof of concept more than anything.

That's honestly about what I expected to see this early on in development.
 

ike1707

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Jan 20, 2009
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Am I the only one that customized my function keys? I thought the whole point was that they were programmable..
 

coolfactor

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Jul 29, 2002
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Vancouver, BC
As someone who always disabled the shortcut keys in favor of the function keys, I won't be remotely disappointed if the Touch Bar falls flat on its face.

It's almost comical that this Touch Bar revelation of theirs would come with the "pro" series laptops, because anyone who makes in depth use of adobe apps (and probably loads of other design software) will simply lament the loss of the function keys because countless keystroke shortcuts require them.

I don't think any professionals want to bank on their user experience on "Touch Bar support"
Careful not to spread misinformation. The Function keys still exist, just behind the "Fn" button. Hold that button down with your left pinky and press a Function key to your hearts desire. But instead of memorizing "F1 = this", "F2 = that", "F3 = something else", which likely would change on a per-app basis, the Touch Bar gives app developers an opportunity to create user-friendly button bars specific to their app. Is it a perfect implementation? No, but does it have potential to make good use of a space that intimidated many non-pro users? Yes.
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What a waste of space this touch bar is, it's solving a problem that doesn't exist while reducing the functionality of the actual Mac!
It surely doesn't reduce functionality. It adds a tremendous amount of potential functionality that wasn't there with physical buttons.

But it does add a challenge to "usability" in terms of eyes-free keyboard usage. Now, eyes are required for the most part, at least for initial finger placement.

Esc key
And they honoured the Esc key... that would've been a big mistake to remove!

Has anyone confirmed that the Esc key can be pressed right up to the left edge of the Touch Bar? And does it appear every time that modal alerts, sheets and dialogs are on the screen? That's probably my biggest use of it. It would likely be called "Cancel" if the on-screen button is called Cancel, though, right?
 

ike1707

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2009
404
830
Careful not to spread misinformation. The Function keys still exist, just behind the "Fn" button. Hold that button down with your left pinky and press a Function key to your hearts desire. But instead of memorizing "F1 = this", "F2 = that", "F3 = something else", which likely would change on a per-app basis, the Touch Bar gives app developers an opportunity to create user-friendly button bars specific to their app. Is it a perfect implementation? No, but does it have potential to make good use of a space that intimidated many non-pro users? Yes.
That's actually really good to know, but it doesn't make me feel better about 2 button keystrokes turing into 3 button combinations, or even worse, 3 button keystrokes turning into 4.

I guess really what I fear is a game of twister..
 
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