Like every good red, white, and blue American boy in the good old U. S. of A., I watch television news. All of it. No, not all the time. But I travel around to get different perspectives, and that includes Fox News, MSNBC, the various networks, and CNN which, during the day, seems to having Breaking News about every 12 minutes. And, yes, I check out various online news sites from so-called mainstream media (a ridiculous term; don’t use it; it’s wrong, because there is no such thing), and various and sundry technology rags.
One that caught my eye this week says Apple is apprehensive because of new MacBook Pro technology.
Apprehensive? How can someone determine that emotion without actually talking to an Apple executive?
Ewan Spence, writing for the Forbes’ contributor network and home for retired circus acts:
The critically acclaimed MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has fragmented the macOS base.
No. It. Hasn’t. The Touch Bar has fragmented the technology writer base. Customers are lapping up Apple’s latest laptops, and nearly everyone with a Touch Bar equipped MacBook Pro loves it– and the included Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Way cool, folks.
Is Apple serious about rolling out the new technology across the macOS range, or is the Touch Bar, TouchID and the associated secure enclave destined to be another dead-end for Tim Cook and his team?
Questions. So many questions. So few answers.
Why should Apple roll out such technology across the entire macOS range (he probably meant ‘Mac’ but let’s roll with it)? After all, does Apple put 2TB SSD storage into every Mac? Some products get the best features– at a higher price– other products do not. That’s kind of a time honored method of putting features into just about anything.
To be accepted the Touch Bar needs to avoid the fate of 3D Touch – a cute addition to iOS that can be used for secondary functions but one that can never be relied on to be present in a device.
What Spence is talking about is the basic fact that 3D Touch, a way cool feature available in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models, is not present on iPads or iPad Pro devices. Here’s the deal, Mr. Technologist, the screen real estate is limited on iPhone; not so much on iPad. So, 3D Touch makes great sense there because it offers menu options that use less of the screen. The iPads don’t have that same restriction based upon laws of physics and screen size, therefore, do not have the same needs.
Guess what? The iPad doesn’t have the Smart Connector that’s available in the iPad Pro.
The same is true of the Touch Bar in macOS. Its inclusion on the high-end MacBook Pro machines offered a point of differentiation in the Apple Store, but no smart developer would provide unique functionality given the significant numbers of non-Touch Bar machines.
Except that a gazillion app developers have done just exactly that because Apple sells a metric crap ton of MacBook Pro models with TouchBar, and it’s possible said Touch Bar will eventually show up in future Macs lower on the food chain. Product marketing is all about differentiation, and the Touch Bar and Touch ID combo seem to be good differentiators for the Pro line of Macs against the non-pro line of Macs.
Until then the Touch Bar, TouchID and secure enclave remain curiosities for macOS developers that create fragmentation between Apple’s hardware and software.
Curiosities? One man’s fragmentation is another man’s differentiation, or, put another way, an app developer’s opportunity. Touch Bar can be pretty cool and it changes with each app. Automatically.
The headline in Spence’s article said Apple is apprehensive yet nothing in the article indicates that. Methinks the author could get a job writing such gibberish for Fox, MSNBC, CNN, et al. I hear there are openings.
Oh, one more thing; I don’t think Apple is apprehensive or running scared. Based on recent announcements, Apple seems to be churning out products that customers want, while ignoring so-called critics and laughing all the way to the bank.