Nothing that Apple does is revolutionary.
However, this Touch Bar is the first one that actually works and it is viable. This concept has been used in several products, yet, it was buggy, hard to use or extremely expensive.
Apple took this concept, made it worked and now made it mainstream. The same can be said about everything else:
- Voice based help existed long before Siri but Siri brought the first actual practical solution.
- Video chat existed long before Facetime but Facetime brought the first system that worked. Note: Skype was always good, however, the hardware was not there, for phones, to take advantage of it.
- Cloud technology existed long before iCloud yet iCloud was the first that made it simple for the end user. The only other one that was mainstream is DropBox yet, DropBox was made for businesses, not mobile phones.
- Finger print scanners are ancient technology and they were found on Think Pads long before the iPhone 5S. They were even found on mobile devices. However, the Touch ID was the first one to actually be reliable.
Apple doesn’t innovate. Apple takes existing concepts that have potential, refines them and launches them as the best or among the best solutions on the market. Apple is like Mercedes going to Hyundai, seeing some new amazing tech that is not refined, not well implemented, not that usable and then develops that technology into the technology of tomorrow. It existed before, but not in this form.
So it is with the Touch Bar.
Touch screen based laptops are not a good idea in general. I’ve owned a VAIO with a touch-screen. I’m not talking about Microsoft Surface and other hybrids but pure laptops with touch-screens. They are impractical, not ergonomic and it is very easy to get the screen dirty. Plus, a mouse is faster than the touch-screen.
However, it has been tried. A lot of stuff was tried before. Touch-screens. Touch-bars like this. Touch based keyboards. Most of them sounded good on paper but failed in day to day use. I mean, you’d be amazed at how many technologies out there sound good on paper but fail on a day to day use – among them, the latest one are modular phones. For whoever is old enough to remember – Nokia nGage was revolutionary at that time.
Anyway, it would be stupid to say that this is revolutionary. It is not. It is an old concept that is highly refined and integrated into the Apple eco-system. That’s what Apple has been doing since the launch of the iPhone, iPad and newer generation Macs. They take what exists but it is a rough implementation and then they make it better.
And honestly, I think this is the best implementation of a touch-screen that any laptop should have. When it comes to hybrids, a full touch-screen is amazing. But for anything else, it is best to keep your fingers away from your screen.
Will I upgrade though? No. I like the bar but I hate the butterfly type keyboard. I despise it since the MacBook 2015. Some people are used to it, I like key travel. However, as a complete package, I think the new MB Pro is very good.