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Jason Snell on the New MacBook Pros

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:

But what really surprised me were the animations. The Touch Bar is an animated interface through and through. Items don’t just fade in and out, but also slide smoothly back and forth. The arrow pointing from the Touch Bar to the Touch ID sensor during a request for an unlock grows and shrinks, practically begging you to put your finger down. There’s a lot more personality here than I expected.

Another aspect of the Touch Bar that I hadn’t really thought about is that every label can now provide context in a way that a fixed key can’t. Yes, there’s a volume button on the Touch bar, but the number of sound waves radiating out from the speaker on the volume’s icon indicates the current volume level. When you tap the Mute button, the sound waves disappear from the volume button. The Play/Pause media control button isn’t a Play/Pause button — it’s a pause button when audio is playing, and a play button when it’s paused. When you’re editing text and you tap the Bold style button, the button remains lit up as long as you’re still within the bold style.

“More personality than I expected” is my take too.

Good observation here:

While I appreciate the idea of the Now Playing Control Strip item, I don’t particularly like the way it’s implemented. When I expand it while playing audio from iTunes, there’s an iTunes icon, a very large scrubber, and playback controls. I can appreciate the iTunes scrubber as a fun demonstration of alternate interfaces on the Touch Bar, but for the life of me I can’t imagine how often I’d want to scrub through the contents of a song. I’d rather have volume control, the name of the song and artist, and a shuffle/repeat control.

I think it’s a sign of just how new the Touch Bar is, conceptually. Developers, even those within Apple, are only beginning to understand how best to use it. There will come to be a “Mac-like way” to use the Touch Bar, but we’re not there yet. Snell has a nice video review, too, which shows the Touch Bar in action very well.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016