Apple’s new Touch Bar isn’t a gimmick, it’s a stepping stone

Apple has already faced a fair amount of criticism for the new Touch Bar. I’m going to go against the grain here and say the Touch Bar is a useful stepping stone.

Why not just go full touch-screen?

Microsoft tried leaping straight to touch-screen with Windows 8, and ended up with an interface that wasn’t ideal for either touch or mouse. Apple might some day end up with a full touch-screen on the Mac, but you can’t just add a touch screen and call it a day. Third-party developers need time to develop touch specific interfaces, and the current macOS + touch would be a nightmare without significant changes.

The new Touch Bar is a stepping stone. It’ll encourage macOS developers to introduce multitouch functionality into their applications without compromising the existing experience. It may not be a permanent feature of future Macs, but I’m excited to see what it enables.

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