New MacBook Pro Touchbar justified

Originally published at:




What other computer could we expect from a year like 2016?


best use for something like that if you ask me.


Hey, at least the MacBook ‘Pro’ still has a headphone jack for her to sing the song of her people, right?


One that was a dumpster fire. So I guess a Samsung galaxy note laptop would be the perfect 2016 machine.


so you’re saying the touchbar is doomed to become the led concourse fascia of the computer. it makes sense. you could target the shit out of those impressions!




Touch my keyboard! Touch it, love it! Liebe meine Schaltfläche



Proliferating input devices is not a good idea unless there’s a clear problem to solve. While I don’t own a touchbar enabled laptop, it’s not very apparent what it would give me that a keyboard and mouse would not. The fact that I have to decide (or am made) to swipe about on a thin strip above my keyboard rather than use my mouse is an imposition - so it better be worth it.

The only thing I can think of is that because vertical touch input is (to anyone who’s tried it) pretty much a waste of time, perhaps a horizontal bar might deliver some things that touch input was supposed to do, like slider controls. Not that it’s hard to do that with a mouse of course.

As an aside on this, if anyone is still excited about Minority Report style vertical 3D computer UI, I conducted this experiment in 2010: stand or sit alone in your room. Set a timer. Imagine you are doing what you normally do at your computer (typing, reading, clicking on things etc.) and do that with your hands in mid-air. After about 10 minutes your arms begin to tire, and after 30 they start to get painful. While the experiment is not easy (you have to keep imagining what you normally do) it’s well worth doing to realise that all the Leap Motion stuff is not going to happen.


It’s a hyped up “macbook air” that has to share a power adapter with one if its IO ports. It is limited to 16 GB ram, when that was “middle of the road” for the pro line 2 years back. It’s using a 6th gen Intel processor, when Intel is alread on to the 7th generation. All you get out of this new beast is “thinner” and a touchbar that handles input functions that could be done prior with the mousepad and keyboard shortcuts, located in the least ergonimic place possible, where you’d be prone to lose your home key positions while playing with it.

There is nothing “pro” about this laptop. Graphic artist / creative types would do better with a multi button mouse or a Wacom tablet, instead of the dumb bar. Those that need power in a laptop are now better off hanging on to there old ones until Apple decides to release a real laptop in the next year or two.

(You did notice the joke though right? It’s Nyan cat code for your touchbar, that you can clone and build from github…)

Bad touch. Bad touch…


I gather this is becoming a real issue. Desktop and laptops markets are shrinking and becoming a niche.

For creative types, who used to be core consumers of Apple products, the specs on their laptops and even worse the Mac Pro are pushing some teams over to the dreaded Windows.


It’s funny to me, because there had been a shift in the infosec community the other direction over the last decade or so. The Macbook pro had become a solid Unix based platform, that had the processor, memory, and disk necessary to spool up a bunch of VMs.

12 years or so ago, you barely saw Macs at security conferences. Right now they are very common. If this isn’t one of Apple’s (rather common) one off blunders, I expect the trend to go back the other direction, though probably towards linux, not Windows, for the OS.

Considering Apple is in the hardware business and not really the OS business, this seems rather dumb. Why make a “pro” laptop that pushes people towards cloud services to get any heavy lifting done?


Your criticisms are misplaced. Medium power laptop (as opposed to ULP ultralight) versions of Intel’s 7th gen processors are not available yet. Also, The laptop chipset for 6th gen intel is gimped and supports only 16gb of low power ram. Going to 32gb requires switching to desktop ram, with a hit to battery life.

intel has been segmenting their product line more and more aggressively - with some combinations of wattage and GPU support getting skipped entirely for some generations, and with some standards not getting support in some form factors at all. Blame Intel’s greed plus all the delays getting new process nodes out the door. So if you want, say, the best integrated GPU intel makes plus a 25 watt CPU plus thunderbolt support (which is what Apple wants for their 13" pros), then you have been SOL until recently, and are still SOL if you want lots of LP ram with that, too.

All is not happy in the Intel-Apple partnership these days. Intel’s been hitting the bottle ever since they saw the latest PC sales figures. Every time Intel boozily asks why nobody ever gave x86 a chance on phones, Apple steals another glance at the huge jar full of spare change they found in their couch cushions and mutters that they could buy AMD with that much.


I’m willing to accept that Intel might share some of the blame. That has nothing to do with the lack of a real power adapter, the impending dongle clusterf**k, thinner for the sake of thinner, and the ill conceived touchbar.

I won’t be buying one of the dumb beasts, and I hope both companies get their collective crap together before I have to replace my current laptop.

as far as " Intel’s 7th gen processors are not available yet"

Then F’n wait and put out a real professional laptop instead of an i-toy with a keyboard and a “pro” badge.


I agree, it’s surprising, it’s a very enthusiastic and committed group of users and it seems weird that Apple wants to run so lean in this market.

1 Like

Apple is going to be apple. Goofy hardware/software amalgams of dubious utility, thinner, lighter, and with only the next generation of ports way before most people are ready to abandon the old standards all just go with the territory.

OTOH, intel has delivered a sack of shit not just to Apple but to the entire PC industry. Other computer makers just shrug and ship shitty laptops or make do with workarounds or use 3rd party solutions and just take the resulting hit on battery performance. Apple, being apple, isn’t willing to compromise on battery performance. So instead we get a long wait and then a laptop that has enough RAM for most but not all of their customers.


My know-nothing totally amateur strategic opinion is that Tim Cook looks at China. Tim Cook looks at companies doing well in China like Lenovo. Tim Cook copies the fundamental tactic of these companies: compete on features, not quality or UX. Features sell the product. Add features, gain market share. From now on, every Apple product aimed at China needs to have some feature the sales people can crow about, regardless of that feature’s actual worth to the end user. A pen for the iPad, a touchbar for the Mac book. Stand by for the next gimmick.


So what do you buy if you want real a pro-grade laptop?
For various reasons, my OS of choice is linux. For the last 7-8 years, I’ve bought refurbished thinkpads (x series) which I’ve then reinstalled with my choice OS. Unfortunatelly, ever since IBM sold its line to Lenovo, the quality has been going downhill, to the point I’ve considered buying an Apple laptop next time.
If the only point that is relevant to me (overall quality of the hardware) becomes a thing of the past here too, what’s left? Which brand do you turn to?

1 Like