To be honest about it, a few of the functions I look forward to most in Apple’s new MacBook Pro line are these; 1) Function keys that do something useful, 2) Touch ID for added security and convenience.
As much as some of us may think Apple is missing the boat by not including a touchscreen with new Macs, touch remains in Apple’s future. Just not on the screen. Frankly, we should have seen this coming. What? The advent of more touch. And the lack of a Mac with touchscreen.
It’s The Experience, Stupid
What set Apple’s iPhone apart from so-called smartphones back in 2007? It was the touchscreen, right? Not so fast. Other smartphones had a touchscreen, too, but they were still on Steve Jobs’ stupid smartphone list. So, what was it? Touch? Yes. And, no. Touch was part of the experience, but Apple made it full screen, easy to the point of fun, something anyone could do without looking at a manual.
Remember smartphone manuals of yesteryear? There were times when I carried the manual with me on trips because both BlackBerry and Windows Phones were so damned difficult to use. iPhones were not. Touch was easy to the point of a no brainer exercise, and Apple made navigating by touch fully intuitive. And it was fun.
From what Apple has done in recent years we can see some of Apple’s upcoming future. iPhone 5s and various iPads brought Touch ID. Macs got Force Touch trackpads and then iPhone 7 got 3D Touch and that was also applied to the Home button.
Which way is Apple going with touch?
Sidebar: Apple is getting beaten up by Microsoft in the TV commercial wars which pit anything Surface and touchscreen to the Mac, but I suspect Apple will remain resolute and the Mac touchscreen-less until Apple figures out a better way, or users realize that tendonitis in elbow and shoulder comes from their Surface machines and not Apple’s Mac. I know plenty of friends, neighbors, and co-workers with touchscreen PCs and seldom do the touchscreens get used.
If everyone else selling a PC has more touch in their touchscreens than Apple, how is the future touch? Because we require some kind of tactile feedback when navigating a computer, whether iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Watch. Touch is where it’s at, folks, and that’s not likely to go away for a few years; certainly not until long after Siri has some real artificial intelligence that is more useful than weather, scores, or hailing Uber.
What we’ve seen with Apple since the iPhone was introduced all the way down to this year’s new iPhones and MacBook Pro models is Apple layering in the technology. Touch technology, Apple style. Touch Bar looks a bit gimmicky because it’s functional eye candy. But think about how often you use the Function keys on your Mac. Uh huh. I know. Not too often. Why not? Because they don’t have much function. But Touch Bar adds more function, fully intuitive, and application centric and specific. It’s not just a bunch of useless function keys.
Oh, and there’s Touch ID thrown in, too. See? More touch.
And, speaking of Touch ID, note that the secure enclave used to hold the Touch ID data from your fingerprint is in the iPhone and iPad’s CPU. Which Apple designs. But the Mac comes with Intel Inside and Apple doesn’t have control over Intel CPU designs. So, it put another Apple designed chip inside the new MacBook Pro models– which handles the secure enclave so the Mac can get Touch ID.
How long before Apple introduces an iMac with a wireless keyboard that also features a Touch Bar and Touch ID? See? Apple layers in the touch.
I just wish there was a Mac with real power for professionals. Oh, wait. There is. It’s called Mac Pro but for whatever reason Apple doesn’t feel a need to upgrade CPUs and GPUs. Does anyone have benchmarks of the Mac Pro vs. something similar from Wintel?