I’ve been wanting to move my devices over to the M1 chipset and finally took the plunge and traded my i9 MBP 15 in for an M1 MBP 13 in and the Touch Bar was one of the deciding factors, along with price and availability, over the new MBP.
You’re one of the very few at least. I think there were a lot of people who “didn’t mind it.” But not very many who liked it, and even fewer who would use it to make their purchasing decision. That’s why options are good and I’m glad you were able to get what you wanted.
What are the must-have aspects of how you use it?
I kind of liked it, except for the fact my fingers would slip on and select things without me meaning it. A force touch TouchBar would have been better, IMO.
Overall though, I never thought it was worth its cost (I can’t remember exactly, but originally I seemed to feel it added a fair amount of cost to the machine).
There aren’t any must-haves about it, I just liked having the little screen up there on my keyboard. I like the feel of sliding the brightness and volume controls over taping a key repeatedly.
BetterTouchTool made it pretty useful for me. If there was no difference in cost for a MBP to get a touchbar too I would have gone with that. But, it’s not compelling enough for me to pay more or to get a different machine
When I saw the new MBPs, I thought, “Oh, good, the F keys are back.”
Then I realized I never use the F keys. I also selected my keyboard (for my iMac Pro) because it has F keys, but again, I don’t use them.
I rarely use the Touch Bar on my MBP 13", usually just to tweak volume when I’m watching Alias while rowing. Repeatedly tapping keys would probably work better in this scenario, as they require less precision in movement.
Funny, I use the F-keys all the time.
I use the function shortcuts - brightness, spotlight, mic on/off, and volume/mute
But I also use them within apps. In Microsoft Word, for example, shift+fn+F7 brings up the thesaurus so I don’t keep using the same word over and over again
I just got a new MacBook Pro, 14”. So back to F keys instead of the Touch Bar. About all I use the keys for is to adjust volume and screen brightness. Both features were so much better on the Touch Bar - Volume slider, scrub in videos, switch apps (an add on I think). I miss it.
I think the biggest problem with the Touch Bar is that it is a discontinuity in the keyboard area. I’m a touch typist so I can type without looking at the keys. But with the Touch Bar that is impossible, you have to look at the Touch Bar to use it. They also never improved it, so I’m sure they could have done things to address the shortcomings, but they never iterated on it.
The Touch Bar seemed like a good intention, poorly implemented. It can take a lot more time flicking around the touch bar just to find something, than to use a menu or shortcut. Some items in the touch bar (like the icons representing screenshots of different tabs in Safari) are like “Oh, OK. So what?”
“Has Touch Bar” wouldn’t even be a minor factor in choosing a new laptop.
I liked it and used it more than the function keys
I suspect that on these forums there will be higher-than-average support for the Touch Bar. My understanding (very limited experience with it myself) is that to really get use out of the Touch Bar it required careful configuration and often third-party applications to tweak and optimize it. That’s far more likely to be done by the average MPU than other consumers or business users.
I also thought the touch bar would be great until I realized:
- Unconfigured, it provides pretty much no real world benefit over regular keybinds. Maybe function keys would be less discoverable but other than that the Touch Bar mostly shows redundant information. At least for me.
- Configured, it provides pretty much no real world benefit over desktop widgets or regular keybinds. Why would I put information on my Touch Bar instead of on my menu bar/desktop, and have to down at it? It’s possible to run scripts from Touch Bar buttons, which is neat, but what advantage does that provide over bindings to regular function keys?
I have a 13" M1 MBP, and while I don’t mind the touch bar, I also don’t mind that future models won’t have it. If anything, having a touch bar made me appreciate the function keys more
Once the Esc key returned in physical form (A Unix computer without an Esc key Apple? Really?? No, really???), I didn’t mind it anymore; I had no strong feelings one way or the other. Once I got my M1 Air, I (re)discovered what I’d been missing with actual function keys. So: Didn’t hate, but prefer real keys.
My biggest problem with it (apart from the lack of an Esc key) is that the lack of physical keys meant that using it for simple things requires just a little too much of my conscious attention. I have the same issue with my car’s infotainment system, which is nearly all touchscreen for everything (and is also based on Unix and also has no Esc key )
If you have a Stream Deck, don’t overlook the ability to get that same functionality on the Touch Bar via BetterTouchTool.
For example, for work:
I have buttons to filter notes in my firm’s case management by tag, just like I do on the Stream Deck. When I’m speaking with someone on the phone, I don’t have to give conscious attention to key combinations or manual input. Just tap a button.
I also have a button to answer and hang up phone calls coming in via the Mac’s VOIP app for our phone service.
Several others, such as the ability to open or archive notes in our case management system’s activity feed
After I first picked the 13 inch Pro over the Air, I wondered if I had made a mistake as I wasn’t using the Touch Bar much. But over the past few months, as I’m working off the Pro frequently due to a family health situation with my parents, I am using the Touch Bar heavily, in the same way I use the Stream Deck when I’m at my desktop machine.
Somewhat related to this, I’ve decided not to get a Stream Deck after playing around with the Touch Bar. Would rather just bind scripts to my normal keyboard.
IMO, the Stream Deck wins because it has actual buttons, which are raised for you to see them.
OTOH, it’s a separate device, not great for laptop users who move around a lot. I’m at my desk 99% of the time I’m using my Mac.
But I love the two Stream Decks (“Streams Deck” ;-?) I have on my desk (one regular, one XL)