Why should I devote time to learning Touch Bar and trying to find ways to integrate it with my workflow when keyboard shortcuts are more than enough—and probably better? What happens when I sit down at my iMac where I spend >50% of my time?
Pock. has the answer. Turn the Touch Bar into the Mac Dock. Full screen everything and still have quick visuals on app notifications. Don't have to command-tabtabtabtab to get to a different open app—just tap it on the dock in Touch Bar. It's the perfect solution to an actual problem—give me more space on a small screen without sacrificing any of the experience.
If Apple was going to try and open a new front on the "hearts and minds of Touch Bar skeptics" war then the Mac Pro reveal at WWDC a few weeks ago would have been the time to do it, that they didn't makes me think it's not long for this world. Not because the Mac Pro sales would have been hampered by it, if a workstation class modular PC running macOS was what you have been waiting for then wrapping the cost of a Touch Bar keyboard wouldn't be a make or break price modifier (and you could always swap out keyboards later if you hate it).
If the MBP is a quasi-halo product (expensive but incredibly ubiquitous) and the Touch bar isn't coming to the Mac Pro which is a true halo product I don't think you'll see it ever get pushed to any other product category either.
I also think the Touchbar apps being migrated to Sidecar may be a clue that a deprecation path exists should the dedicated hardware go away. “They live in sidecar now.”
defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0 && killall Dock
Not as useful as when it's right next to the keyboard, but that's probably the closest other Macs are going to get.
I could sort of imagine Apple making a desktop keyboard with one, but it seems better suited to a wired keyboard than bluetooth. You'd have to recharge the battery way more often.
How complicated do you think it is that you need to spend time learning it?
Customise it to your liking in the keyboard pref pane.
You can press-and-drag on volume and brightness buttons of the collapsed control strip. No need to tap then slide.
You can create services (now Quick Action) in Automator and they show up with the Show Quick Actions setting set. Since services can be contextual (input+app) you can get creative and do some whacky stuff in there. I have contextless Safari and Terminal there to pop up new windows whatever the focused app is.
Personally, if I make the purchase, I will probably just remap the Caps Lock key to ESC - assuming I can remove ESC from the Touch Bar.
The one thing I didn't care for is that the Touch Bar display can time out. I would personally prefer that it stay on - or at least have the option of it staying on.
The timeout implementation could definitely be improved. In 6 months I've hat that computer I've never had it be a problem or even found it annoying in any way though.
Long story short I think the touchbar is totally useless. I have it set to emulate regular function keys right now (expose, launchpad etc)
However everything else is top notch and well worth it. The touchid is fantastic, and you will immediately enjoy the difference. Screen is amazing, 8 cores is super nice. Also I might be in the minority but I actually prefer the feel of the keyboard vs the previous unibody keys.
Touchbar is a dud but the 2019 version is well worth it otherwise imho.
It is not the feel of the keyboard that is "hated" - it's the reliability (the feel of the keyboard AFTER it stops being new and starts being... the 2016+ rMBP butterfly keyboard).
I wonder if the 2019 keyboard is fixed, but I'm VERY sceptical.
I don't know why people type like that, but they do. I wonder if there's any correlation with people who stomp their feet when they walk. It's like they never picked up on the fact that you can dial back your own movement's impact instead of just smashing into stuff and letting it stop you.
The travel on a butterfly keyboard is less than 1mm. It's hard to avoid bottoming out. When you say "light touch", it means truly feather-light. A keyboard that needs to be handled so delicately has no place in my world, and will pose difficulty for many.
That reminds me of catlike movement (very graceful, very limited impact and noise) versus doglike (lots of movement and noise, bouncing up and down).
And as it turns out, dogs use much less energy walking than cats do. Loud “doglike” typing isn’t necessarily a sign of inexperience, it’s actually energy-efficient and comfortable.
I’ve never had RSI but I seriously fear it suddenly striking whenever I have to use one of those super-flat Apple keyboards.
Or along similar lines: most if not all piano/keyboard players (I’m fairly sure, anyway) prefer weighted keys. Why do you think that is? It’s not just so you can play loudly or softly; a digital piano can be pressure-sensitive without having a weighted response.
I prefer mechanical keyboards for the same reason I would prefer weighted keys on a keyboard: kinesthetic feedback. A weighted key gives you more direct feel of the balance of the key as it moves, which allows you to worry less about the complex muscle movements, and more about the actual music.
But how would forceful typing be more energy efficient? You press harder (more muscle activation), keys travel longer (more muscle activation), and you have to move your fingers back "up" again.
Btw. the reason pianists want weighted keys is mostly because it mimics acoustic pianos. If you practice on non weighted keys and play on a piano, you would tire your fingers very quickly. Apart from that major reason, the weight gives a tactile feedback when playing that is arguably necessary to play beyond what you learn the first few years. Without it going back and forth between soft and loud requires an entirely different feedback mechanism.
But this does not IMO translate to keyboards. You're interested in the tactile feedback of the "click" that signals that the press has been registered.
I can buy the extra energy cost for walking because gravity is putting some force on there and you'd expend energy to counterbalance it versus just letting the ground push back.
But your fingers have exactly as much force as you put behind them yourself, so I don't know what's up with the finger-slammers. They totally exist though.
I was probably reaching with the foot-stompers comparison. Seems like a similar result, but the causes may well be unrelated.
And, I’d argue, keyboards with deeper travel require less precise movements. You can rest your fingers on the keys so you know where you are, and it takes a comfortable longish movement to press a key rather than a tiny precise movement.
Perhaps the optimum is not either extreme. Not an Apple like keyboard with almost zero travel, and not a keyboard from the 5$ bin, but something in between. And it's not the same for everyone.
Personally, I quickly got used to Apple’s first “chiclet” laptop keyboards, which had pretty low travel, and actually enjoyed them. But I really have a very hard time with the latest generation.
Suggesting people who like travel on keyboards walk around stomping their feet is hilariously misinformed.
Back in the "old" days, nobody would have voluntarily admitted they used the regular Escape key implying their hand movement is anything less than optimal. Hell, Mac OS was praised for almost not making any use of the carpal tunnel inducing function keys.
Then the touch bar was released ;-)
For more complex modifications there is Karabiner-Elements, which is especially useful if you use Hammerspoon.
Sigh I'm just sad apple wont budge on a high end non-touchbar model
I do like the idea of having the touch-bar as a notification center though, that would be pretty helpful.
I have my Macbook on a stand with an external keyboard. Besides being ergonomically better like that, I also missed the physical esc button way too much and would often accidentally hit the touch escape with my left pinky. Being a touch button all you need to do is graze it and ESCAPE!!1
I also use Karibiner to switch the capslock key to "escape when pressed once" and "ctrl" when used in combination with any other key. Completely agree that a missing escape key was a stupid design decision.
> it requires more recall of state
The state is right there in the display, same as it would be on the touch strip. You can either mouse to an icon or keep tabbing to it. Either way I haven't had to reach for the touch strip and interrupt my flow.
I have bound those commands to keys as well. So in my case I can swap workspaces by using CTRL+<arrow> and get that same view with CTRL+UP (but then still have to switch to mouse to select. I bought the apple trackpad recently because I prefer it that much—being able to do this actions one-handed. That said I'm also testing an ergonomic mouse so I lose some of that again—as I'm sure some of the case is for a lot of people. Hence all these other workarounds.
That said I love the magic trackpad already. To each their own!
It is by far the worst thing made when working say on the bus. There is no world in which the touch bar is good in any way. There are zero benefits to it. On two years with this monstrosity I have regretted having it. And now I am seriously considering moving to windows with the new Linux subsystem.
WSL2 is supposed to be a great improvement again.
The Surface hardware is also nice. The only downside is the mediocre touchpad, but I can live with that.
There are a lot of people who like the butterfly keyboard (apart from reliability) but I thought the sentiment on the touch bar was universal.
So I don't think it's "not good" it's just so far down on the list of how I use a computer that it isn't worth raving on about how great it is.
I did like the IntelliJ integration, to get debug controls, but now that I'm back on a desktop keyboard I don't really miss the Touch Bar. What I miss is Touch ID.
What value does the touchbar offer me?
My Pock settings: refresh every 30s, uncheck "hide control strip" and "hide persistent items" so I can put often-used folders in the dock to see them on the touch bar. Check "hide finder", "hide trash", and "launch at login". (On this last: once or twice an update or wake has left me with the default touch bar and I've had to manually restart Pock.)
My Dock settings: shrink the size down, move it to the left or right, uncheck "minimize windows into application items", check "automatically show and hide the Dock", uncheck "show recent applications in Dock". Unfortunately there is still no way to entirely remove the Dock.
Keyboards are something you never notice unless they arebad. There's nothing amazung about the ThinkPad keyboard but there's nothing super special about it.
I'm typing this on a ThinkPad USB keyboard connected to a Dell computer. Any types are because Lynx doesn't always scroll over when typing in a textbox.
Really feels a bit weird on other laptops, although on those that have two finger gestures it is bearable, or I just end up plugging an external mouse.
I don't know why other manufacturers can't seem to get it right.
Granted I'm still scared to run Linux on a laptop as I don't believe I will get the same battery life out of it as I do with Windows. So I've never tested the trackpad under Linux. On Windows it's great.
Using tlp, setting all settings in Powertop and undervolting with intel-undervolt will get you some seriously crazy battery life. Battery life on my X250 is better under Linux than it is in Windows with these changes.
I will say, I miss 2016-era power controls for Linux. Being able to set a max MHz allowed me to truly control my power and battery usage. Any idea why Linux changed that functionality in future power governers?
Given most people on here will spend a significant amount of more time typing than they do using the touchpad (whether that be writing reports / scrum tickets or just programming) it should be a no brainier that keyboard ergonomics are far more important than the quality of the touchpad. And that’s without taking into account my first point that MacBooks aren’t even that much better than the competition in terms of the touchpad.
From a personal perspective, I’ve used a lot of engineering laptops over the years and honestly the latest generations of MacBook Pro’s are amongst the worst I’ve used. Which is a great shame because I do honestly like some of the value that OSX adds. However OSX isn’t enough to tip the balance when Linux is actually pretty damn good on the desktop these days.
For the MacBook, if they had a version with a physical escape key, I'd be fine. Just make it a little shorter. It will be okay. I promise.
> I use esc way more often than I’d ever use capslock, so having it at the pinky is perfect.
I think every 2 years I have a proper use case for it ;)
I work on a lot of different computers in a week, and some of them aren't mine, so it's more useful for me to stick to the default map instead of getting things wrong on half of the machines.
Unsure which was the first I ever tried, ~20 years ago I used my uncle's ThinkPad but I don't recall the model.
I tried someone elses ThinkPad and was like "Wow this is nice to type on" so while in Taiwan I went to the Lenovo store and looked at the laptops. Ended up buying a ThinkPad X1 Extreme and I love it. Best laptop I've owned.
The Lenovo Legion series tho, the keyboard isn't as good as the ThinkPad.
Have to use a mouse on mine as the trackpad click switch has so much travel that I’ve accidentally moved the pointer off the thing I wanted to click on by the time it reaches the bottom. Tried using tap to click and fiddling with the settings, but on Linux it’s temperamental.
I run a 2017 MBP with the second butterfly iteration and stories online have me worried that any day will be the last day of my keyboard.
So far it works very well and when I went back to my 2012 MBP to find some old files, I noticed I vastly prefer the new keyboard.
TouchBar however is the most useless thing ever. I absolutely never ever use it unless I need a FN key. I mostly forget its there...
I am honestly surprised how much people complain without actually digging a bit. This is not aimed at you OP, don't take it personally. :)
Edit: granted, Apple doesn't do much to let us know about such improvements. Maybe it's in some release notes, but I found out about this feature while playing with the settings.
Makes it feel a bit more tactile and I'm surprised Apple didn't build some sort of feedback like that in by default.
Using the trackpad mechanism is a little cheesy, but it could have its own haptic hardware.
I have no idea how people open and close browser tabs without this, since browsers have great middle click response but Apple pointing devices don't natively generate such clicks.
I should have specified, but I assumed I implied it as this is what the existing browser middle click support achieves.
It's SO convenient.
That way if I want to open a link in a new tab I can choose between opening it behind the current tab or in front.
Recommended setup (mine):
One giant button in the left corner that says "escape escape escape escape escape" (what it does should be obvious), and one tiny button in the right corner that brings back the normal touch bar. (And nothing else.)
Also, make those buttons white text on black. At least it's an OLED display, so parts of it you want "off" are actually dark.
Even just the lack of a bunch of distracting flashes as it changes when you switch apps is a relief.
That should have been a hardware key!
A message from the Vim gang.
That said, I had a MBP with touch bar for half a year and even though I was quite excited when they announced it, I hated it. I will not buy another laptop with that thing on it.
That takes care of returning from insert mode to normal mode. What do you do for returning from other modes (operator pending mode, visual mode, etc.) to normal mode? I don't think it is possible to reliably reproduce all of the <Escape> in all the modes with remaps.
For visual mode, apparently I just press v again. (I had to try it and see if I was subconsciously triggering Esc).
I had already weened myself off the Esc key, so the touchbar isn't that big a deal for me (though, i dont really ever use it). The terrible keyboard reliability is much worse, ugh.
I know I just rephrased the "operator pending mode" in a more elaborate manner but I am curious how you handle this case? Do you press Esc? Or do you go ahead with the delete anyway and then press 'u' to undo the delete? Or do you have some other technique to cancel the delete operator pending?
As for visual mode... I just noticed something odd: in Neovim, <Esc> doesn't drop me back into Normal mode from Visual or Block-visual; I have to hit "v" again. The behavior doesn't happen in Vim itself (that is, <Esc> works as expected.) I wonder why that is.
Either way, I'd hazard to say that exiting Insert mode is by far the most common use case for <Esc>... to the point where I really wouldn't even call it "escaping" in the sense of "bailing out of a mode early".
For everything else, I'd just remap Escape to Caps Lock at the system level and call it a day. But that's just me, and even though I think the Touch Bar is nifty, I definitely get where some folks' annoyance is coming from.
Also, pressing two different keys is faster than pressing the same key twice
d<Escape> on the other hand would cancel the operator-pending mode for delete and do nothing.
One bug I noticed is you can get in a <esc> <esc> situation, with twice the button. But since you miss <esc> button all the time, why not having it twice; or more?
There's extra vertical space on the lower half of a MacBook, and the dock wastes vertical space on the screen
I normally put the dock on the side, but putting it above the keyboard works too
Now if only the damn keyboard had a proper escape key. Who signed off on that. Honestly.
It's hackable, programmable, and versatile. I have never used F keys and making Caps Lock the new Escape key works better for me anyway since I have small hands.
How can you not like having Lemmings in your Touch Bar? 
I have no problems with the keyboard (my favorite is actually the PowerBook Pro Aluminum Keyboard), but it being basically the only moving part and arguably gets the most use of any component on the computer, it would be nice if it was user replaceable (the battery too, but ...). I'd like to always have a spare around or the ability to take it out and every once in a while get any dirt or whatever can get in under the keys out.
I detest the TouchBar and think it's one of the worst ideas to come out of Apple in a long time. I'm waiting for them to end this joke.
I have a mbp 13" 2018 and as most. The touchbar is the most unused feature (vs sdcard slot they've ditched for example).
However since the conversation here is about this app. It's the best dock on touchbar I've seen so far and it's open source. So it might not be that hard allowing some drag and drop.
With that said, I've installed pock this morning but with auto-hidden dock it feels that I don't waste so much screen real estate for the dock.
The main problem of the touchbar and any screen with touch is the fact you must engage your sight to it. Physical "static" devices avoids that (keyboard...) So the touchbar at least for me, breaks productivity vs engaging to it.
The sample presets are kind of cluttered, but removing some of the items and making others was ultra simple. If you know AppleScript you can pretty much any button.
Frankly, I am not sure why there is no "glueable" 3rd party Esc/Fn rubber membrane over touch bar with USB-C output produced by anyone to address this major design flaw for high-performance Apple devices...
it has the list of open apps and more (and it's highly configurable). it's not exactly the dock, though, but i find it more useful.
it needs better touch tool (https://folivora.ai), but that's quite cheap for how much it offers.
A related tool I highly, highly recommend is BetterTouchTool - you can completely customize your Touch Bar to show and do almost anything you want it to do, based on the app context you're in. You can do what this does but 100 other things as well.
It's made the Touch Bar actually worth it for me.
I also love the clicky feel of the keyboard so maybe I'm just special...
I personally have a mix of app launchers, brightness/volume controls and a play/pause button.
It worked for me today for the first time (that I realized). I copied a link from twitter on an iPhone, then pasted on an iMac.
edit: IMHO the problem is the dock itself. it just sucks. even windows 10 taskbar is way better
As said, not sure which of the two it is.
Know how your $3,000 MacBook Pro keyboard keeps breaking? Know what's not broken and close to your keyboard? The touch bar. So I built a keyboard into the touchbar: https://github.com/RubenSandwich/TouchBarKeyboard. Problem solved.
But seriously, OP's tool has way more utility then mine.
This uses the trackpad haptic engine to (poorly) emulate a key click when pressing touchbar items.
I'm unsure how they overlooked putting a haptic engine in the touchbar itself but it feels way too late to attempt to salvage now. They need a new keyboard that people will fall in love with.