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The MacBook Pro Touch Bar: Long Term Review Part 2

  1. The MacBook Pro Touch Bar: Long-Term Review Part 1
  2. The MacBook Pro Touch Bar: Long Term Review Part 2
  3. Novelty MacBook Pro Touch Bar Apps – RANKED
  4. Five MacBook Pro Dongles That Make Me Sad
  5. Touch Bar Update After WWDC
  6. BetterTouchTool and the Redemption of the Touch Bar

Part 2: The Killer App

I’ve been using the new MacBook Pro for over a month now. I honestly have been using the TouchBar a lot less, but there’s a pretty good reason. In my day to day work, I use an external keyboard. Having a constant reminder of what a real keyboard feels like makes going back to the flat abyss of the MacBook Pro a lot harder. Still, this is hardly the Touch Bar’s fault. But having my hands away from the actual machine means I end up using it a lot less.

I may have to reconsider this however, because I’ve found the first app to truly take advantage of the Touch Bar. TouchSwitcher from Maxim Ananov changes the way I want to interact with the device. It’s essentially a graphical Alt-Tab replacement, but key to it being awesome, it lives in the Touch Bar. This is the first app I’ve seen to really do this, and I think a key to the future utility of the Touch Bar.

The app is coming from inside the Touch Bar!

Just click on the app icon, and the Touch Bar shows all running apps, ready for switching. I said this is graphical Alt-Tab, but it actually offers a little more. If you swipe over to the left, all the apps in your Dock can be launch from there as well. It’s a really simply but well laid out idea.

Reach out and touch apps

This of course just makes me hungry for more apps that operate along the same lines. The golden goose would be to pin app functions to the Touch Bar. Every time I click on an unsupported app and I see the gaping void on top of the keyboard, it just seems like a poorly thought out waste of real estate. Let me pin a “compose email” and specific Slack channels at the top, and then the Touch Bar becomes essential.

TouchSwitcher is a great little app that gives me hope for what developers can do with the new UI paradigm of the Touch Bar. Hopefully in the next major OS revision, Apple will allow a little more customization (cue laughter).

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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