Even for a premium price – and these Macs aren’t cheap – we think the Touch Bar makes this a much more compelling buy than the MacBook Pro with function keys.
Meet the Touch Bar The Touch Bar is an OLED strip that’s tempting to call a display, but Apple wants developers and users to think of it as an input device, not a display. You can’t adjust its brightness, for example, because if it was too bright it would start looking more like a display than a set of keys. It’s also optimised for viewing at a 45-degree angle, looking down from above, which is odd for any screen. Nonetheless, it stays visible and legible even if you are sitting at an off-angle to your Mac. The Touch Bar is handy not only because its controls change to match the app you’re using but also because it’s so customisable. Visit System Preferences > Keyboard, and you can choose what happens when you press the Fn key. The default shows the function keys: F1, F2, and so on. But if you never use those keys, you could also have the Fn key expand the Control Strip to full size. The Control Strip is a set of four of your favourite keys, and it stays on the right side of the Touch Bar all the time. You can choose which four buttons you want in System Preferences > Keyboard by clicking Control Strip. That will display a grid of buttons on your screen, and then you use the MacBook Pro’s giant trackpad to drag them from the screen directly onto the Touch Bar. The default set of Control Strip keys is brightness, volume, mute, and Siri, but you can select from loads of useful JANUARY 2017 • MACWORLD 19 MWJAN17.indd 19