Ranting and Raving About the New Apple and Google Hardware

LG: I’m sorry, Julian. I didn’t understand that. Would you like me to search the web for what you just said?

MC: Well, we do have to move on, but I have one parting thought.

LG: Tell us your rant.

MC: It’s more of a rave.

LG: OK.

MC: I am very happy to see the Touch Bar being apparently phased out of Apple’s laptop hardware line.

LG: We’re going to assume that everyone knows what the touch bar is who’s listening. But, very quickly tell us what the Touch Bar was.

MC: It’s a frustratingly inadequate strip of touch screen that runs across the top of the keyboard, that replaced the very useful line of function keys and escape key and power key that used to be at the top of the Apple keyboard. Apple made this move, what, five years ago? Something like that.

LG: Mm-hmm.

MC: Put this strip up there. And the idea was, the developers who made applications like Adobe, for example, or Ableton Live or something like that, could put a context sensitive control panel there. So it would give sort of touch screen style interactions to desktop applications. Developers sort of used it, most did not. So then it just ended up feeling like your computer was missing a row of keys that you used to use all the time. And instead, here’s this thing that you accidentally touch and accidentally launch things that you don’t want to launch while you’re typing. So good riddance. I say, “Touch Bar, wish we never knew you.”

JC: Just to point out, there is one last MacBook that Apple is selling with the Touch Bars. The MacBook Pro from last year, with the M1s. So avoid it, if you can.

MC: Yeah. And maybe the next ones won’t have it. Maybe they will. We don’t know. They didn’t definitively say that it’s going away. They just showed a computer without it on it. So …

BS: With the MacBook Air M1 from 2020, I think the most underrated feature was that they added those function keys to the top. And that’s what they’ve implemented into the MacBook Pro of 2021. And I loved it on the MacBook Air. It’s just a lot more intuitive. So it sounds like a lovely idea.

LG: But this is all, I mean … We are all suffering from Stockholm syndrome, right? Because listen to us, we’re like, “I love that this keyboard has a row of function keys. Did you know it has a row of function keys?” You don’t say right? “Oh my God, there is a port. I got to tell you, there’s a port in this laptop that I find incredibly useful for my profession as a professional. This is incredible. This is innovation.” It’s like, are you fucking kidding me?”

They took all this stuff away from us over the past five years. And the keyboard … Don’t even get me started on the keyboard right now. There is a piece of something stuck under my caps lock key. It’s literally, as we tape this, it is driving me crazy, this damn keyboard, but now we’re finally, we are finally returning to functional MacBook Pros. Hallelujah. We haven’t even talked about the chips, but that’s a whole other thing. Anyway, guys, anytime you want to be brought back to reality, come to me. I’ll Slack with you, I’ll tape the podcast with you, we’ll make it real guys. We’ll make it real.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/story/gadget-lab-podcast-526