MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is just the beginning of a very interesting direction: Jony Ive

By Karthekayan Iyer | Published on 01 Nov 2016
MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is just the beginning of a very interesting direction: Jony Ive
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Apple design chief says Mac is not the right platform for multitouch display

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Apple's design chief Jony Ive has explained why Apple went for a horizontal touch strip on its latest MacBook Pro, instead of adding touch screen to the display. Apple's 2016 MacBook Pro features a new touch bar with dynamic options that replaces the function keys seen on the previous MacBook Pro range.

While most Windows OEMs have added touchscreen as a standard option on their notebooks, Jony Ive thinks a Mac isn't the right place for a multi-touch display. In an interview with CNET, Ive says, "When we were exploring multitouch many, many years ago, we were trying to understand the appropriate application and opportunities for [it]. We just didn’t feel that [the Mac] was the right place for that…. It wasn’t particularly useful or an appropriate application of multitouch." Ive has overseen major Apple product design, right from colourful iMac to iPod, iPhone and Apple Watch.

Ive says the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro is an outcome of thinking differently. He added, Apple won't be pushing a new technology to consumers unless it is really better.

Talking about the Touch Bar, Ive says the slim multi-touch strip is an effort at testing options like a larger multitouch trackpad and other approaches. Apple's new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook come built-in with a new multi-touch strip that luminates with app specific options, ideally replacing the function keys. Ive says, "The MacBook Pro's Touch Bar was designed as a new input that really could be the best of both of those different worlds."

Apple started prototyping touch bar for its MacBook Pro almost two years back and the lack of advanced software and hardware delayed the implementation of the idea. The 2016 MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is essentially a mini Apple Watch working in a horizontal form factor. The MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is powered by a custom T1 chip which inherits the security feature of iOS.

With the new MacBook Pro, Apple had embedded a small watch into the its full fledged computer and the future possibilities could be endless. Apple design chief corroborates that by saying the new touch bar leads to an interesting direction. Ive also adds that the new MacBook Pro is based on learnings from the previous generation devices and the new product will spell new age of input technology for the world of computing.

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Karthekayan Iyer

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