First introduced in 2016, the controversial Touch Bar may be on its way out this year, with reputable Apple sources Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman indicating that Apple plans to remove the feature on new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in 2021.
research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that the Touch Bar will be replaced with a row of physical function keys, in line with previous-generation MacBook Pro models and the current MacBook Air. Gurman weighed in on the matter
in a report with Bloomberg, claiming that Apple has tested new MacBook Pro models without a Touch Bar, and he was more decisive
in a follow-up tweet.
Following these reports, “Touch Bar” is now trending on Twitter, with many users reacting enthusiastically about its potential removal and others expressing hope that the Touch Bar will remain on at least some MacBook Pro models.
MacBook Pros abandoning the touch bar and going back to mag safe charging!? The smallest but sweetest of victories in these days when it’s hard to get a win!
— Erik Hinton (@erikhinton) January 15, 2021
I really, really hated the Touch Bar. Sorry for the harsh words, Tim Apple. Please do not take away my iCloud storage.
— Washington Post TikTok Guy At Sea 🏴☠️ (@davejorgenson) January 15, 2021
The Touch Bar is one of the best features ever brought to MacBooks and should be available on Magic Keyboards. Touch Bar haters are cowards and deserve to go the way of the headphone jack.
— Joby Baxter Nelson (@jb_nelson_) January 15, 2021
Apple described the Touch Bar as “revolutionary” and “groundbreaking” when it was first introduced on the 2016 MacBook Pro. The touchscreen strip is positioned above the keyboard, providing users with customizable controls, ranging from traditional function keys to app-specific shortcuts and features. A popular example is the Touch Bar displaying a row of emoji when composing a message in the Messages app.
“The Touch Bar places controls right at the user’s fingertips and adapts when using the system or apps like Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro X and many more, including third-party apps,” Apple said in 2016. “For example, the Touch Bar can show Tabs and Favorites in Safari, enable easy access to emoji in Messages, provide a simple way to edit images or scrub through videos in Photos and so much more.”
Apple already made a slight concession last year by introducing a physical Esc key on the latest 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models after users complained about the virtual Esc key in the Touch Bar on previous models.
Kuo expects the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models to launch in the third quarter of 2021, which begins in late June.