Trying out the new Macbook Pro Touch Bar in Xcode 8.1 Simulator

Trying out the new Macbook Pro Touch Bar in Xcode 8.1 Simulator

So I was playing with Xcode this morning and I found that the Touch Bar simulator will work with any app, not just the one you’re developing.

Thoughts

Obviously, almost every function on the Touch Bar replicates what can already be done in the app itself with a mouse or touchpad. This is reminiscent of the 3D Touch User Interface Guidelines when they first came out, echoing the idea that those without the hardware updates should still be able to accomplish the same task. All the Touch Bar does is give you a touch-based option to perform the same tasks.

As I navigated through the different system apps on my Mac, I noticed things switching quite often, from selection of one photo in Photos.app, then scrolling through them, the Touch Bar updated pretty often, especially when I was quickly switching between apps.

A tool for Professional workflows?

I’d like to echo what I’ve read in a few other articles I’ve read since the Keynote yesterday — I’m not sure if the Touch Bar will find its way into professional workflows whole sale…only time will tell. While it’s true that many of us can do what we need to do on our macs with our eyes closed, integrating a third form of input in addition to touch-pad, and keyboard might complicate things, only time will tell. As a Designer, I’m not against it, I’m just so engrained in how I already work, that I wonder how it will contribute and help me with my existing workflow.

For years, I’ve learned hotkeys needed to perform many tasks, and I can feel my way around the keyboard without even needing to look at it. From a usability standpoint, I totally understand that hotkeys only exist for the lack of an incredibly fast way to accomplish the same task in another way. Taking the brush size tool in Photoshop as an example, I know I can go ]]]]]] to increase the size of my brush. I can feel the number of taps and know that I’m not slipping onto any other keys when I do so. With a touchpad, that haptic feedback will be gone, with isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a different thing.

Try it out for yourself

With only a couple of weeks until these new Macbook Pros are in our hands, this isn’t a perfect solution, but it still gives you a feel for what will be available in the Touch Bar and how the interface will change based on what you’re working on.

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