Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive details MacBook Pro Touch Bar design process

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
In a new interview, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive spoke about the process leading up to the implementation of the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro line.




In a conversation with Cnet, Ive primarily discussed the evolution of the Touch Bar as found in the new MacBook Pro over the last two years, and called it "the beginning of a very interesting direction" for the company. Not going into any specific details, Ive claims that the company lived with several different iterations of similar touch input devices for a while, before settling on the Touch Bar as it stands today.

"When we lived on them for a while, sort of pragmatically and day to day, [they] are sometimes less compelling," said Ive. "This is something [we] lived on for quite a while before we did any of the prototypes."

Ive believes that Apple's philosophy in hardware and software development paved the way for the Touch Bar.

"It required a fairly mature software environment, and a fairly mature and sophisticated hardware prototype, to really be able to figure out whether these ideas were valuable or not," said Ive. "You have to prototype to a sufficiently sophisticated level to really figure out whether you're considering the idea, or whether what you're really doing is evaluating how effective a prototype is."




One of the company's prototypes was a "larger, haptic-rich trackpad", which Ive says was the Touch Bar combined with a keyboard -- seemingly very similar to the Optimus keyboard from a few years ago, or the recent rumors about the Sonder e-ink keyboard. The concept was scuttled, at least temporarily, because it didn't appear to be as "compelling" as the company thought it would be.

Ive still believes that a multitouch screen is not the right approach for the Mac, claiming that implementation wasn't useful, or an "appropriate application" of multitouch. Even so, Ive declined to comment on why, because it would put him in a position to talk about potential future products.

"You can become fairly comfortable that you have a design direction that's compelling," declared Ive. "But if you can't work out how you can refine that [without] compromising the final product, you can still undermine a big idea."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    And the routine repeats:

    This idea was dumb

    Apple isn't innovating

    Idea is mocked

    5 years later the whole industry adopts idea

    Everyone forgot they mocked Apple

    repeat 
    hypoluxa[Deleted User]bdkennedy1002pscooter63tmayiphonenicknolamacguydysamoriaquadra 610Blunt
  • Reply 2 of 67
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    sog35 said:
    Look at Surface
    Look at Macbook
    Make sure Macbook does not look like a copy of Surface

    It blows my mind why Apple has not made these products yet:

    1. A true 2 in 1 Mac/iPad. The tech is there to do it already.

    2. An iPhone with smaller bezel. Come on. Even POS china companies can do this

    3. New MacPro

    No idea why Apple is slow now days
    I believe Apple is innovating faster than their partners. The weakest links are the chip and 3rd party manufacturers.

    This is why I can't wait for Apples A series to catch up to Intel.  I don't mind if they have to change the whole infrastructure if it means being years beyond the competition and yearly updates.
    I would have saved the macOS name for that. 
    iphonenickemcnairwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 67
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,062member
    sog35 said:
    Look at Surface
    Look at Macbook
    Make sure Macbook does not look like a copy of Surface

    It blows my mind why Apple has not made these products yet:

    1. A true 2 in 1 Mac/iPad. The tech is there to do it already.

    2. An iPhone with smaller bezel. Come on. Even POS china companies can do this

    3. New MacPro

    No idea why Apple is slow now days
    How many times a second do you hit the refresh button to get the 1st troll post for every article? How do you manage to eat/drink/go to the washroom in between, or take your meds? I'm honestly curious. You need help. Stop worrying about Apple and start worrying about your own mental health, clearly you've lost it. You're delusional if you think you have a clue about Apple's design process. You've proven time and time again that you're as clueless as you are unstable. What part of the fact that MAcOS is not meant for a tablet and iOS is not meant for a laptop form factor do you not comprehend? Your rabid desire to have Apple chase the strategies of companies that are doing infinitely worse than they are is disturbing.
    edited October 2016 calilmagoopscooter63iphonenickRayz2016nolamacguyThe_Watchergilly017equality72521watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 67
    wigbywigby Posts: 682member
    sog35 said:
    Look at Surface
    Look at Macbook
    Make sure Macbook does not look like a copy of Surface

    It blows my mind why Apple has not made these products yet:

    1. A true 2 in 1 Mac/iPad. The tech is there to do it already.

    2. An iPhone with smaller bezel. Come on. Even POS china companies can do this

    3. New MacPro

    No idea why Apple is slow now days
    You are the reason Google and Samsung have customers. Just because technology can accomplish something doesn't mean it should be done. In fact it rarely means it should be done. Apple's focus and ability to say "no" is still their greatest strength. It's easy to say "yes" to everything that demos well or looks cool.

    That being said, Apple is slower these days because they're 10x larger than they were just a few years ago. All companies slow down when they are that big and especially when they are the market leader in the most profitable technology (mobile hardware) in the world.
    gilly017equality72521watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 67
    "before settling on the Touch Bar as it stands today."

    Can't figure out what else to do with a laptop. "Settles" on marketing gimmick.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    designrdesignr Posts: 368member
    sog35 said:

    Would it be better just to switch everything to iOS?

    I think this may be their long-term strategy. Strong emphasis on long-term. Think 10-15 years. They're putting a lot of energy in to ramping up what the phones and tablets can do. But the tech (as someone previously mentioned) is probably a bottleneck here.
  • Reply 7 of 67
    Beside the Touch Bar, where is the Magsafe?
    Why take it out? Why....?

    Very disappointed...
    bdkennedy1002jasenj1dysamoriabaconstang
  • Reply 8 of 67
    mubailimubaili Posts: 381member
    it seems we all go through 5-stage of grievance every time after an Apple event. I will come around to buy the most ridiculous MacBook Pro 13 with Touch Bar in about a month. Sigh. 
    tmayration alequality72521
  • Reply 9 of 67
    For all the Surface trolls  - nice quote from Benedict Evans to ponder
    "how many PC applications have even been rewritten away from the mouse? More importantly, with all the innovation and investment now going to mobile, how may ever will? I have a horrible feeling that I'd buy this gorgeous thing, forget the pen in a drawer and waggle the mouse every morning to find the cursor...
    tmayiphonenickgilly017ration albaconstangmacseekerjonshf
  • Reply 10 of 67
    One thing you can count on about Apple is consistency. They don't change things for change's sake. It avoid them having to alienate their user base with a new UI or input method

    Microsoft's approach, especially with the surface studio is to make a splash, be the headline. But more times than not, those headlines don't translate to units sold, which means the product never resonated with people because the technology was something nice to look at but was never one people saw themselves use on a daily basis. 

    Time will tell, the surface studio may turn out to be the thing that changes the industry to the point that Apple is the one following instead of leading for once. But I'm willing to bet that won't be the case because apple's model of incremental changes and design towards consistency and usability still proven to work. 
    tmaynolamacguygilly017emcnair
  • Reply 11 of 67
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,902member
    sog35 said:
    cali said:
    sog35 said:
    Look at Surface
    Look at Macbook
    Make sure Macbook does not look like a copy of Surface

    It blows my mind why Apple has not made these products yet:

    1. A true 2 in 1 Mac/iPad. The tech is there to do it already.

    2. An iPhone with smaller bezel. Come on. Even POS china companies can do this

    3. New MacPro

    No idea why Apple is slow now days
    I believe Apple is innovating faster than their partners. The weakest links are the chip and 3rd party manufacturers.

    This is why I can't wait for Apples A series to catch up to Intel.  I don't mind if they have to change the whole infrastructure if it means being years beyond the competition and yearly updates.
    I would have saved the macOS name for that. 
    I hope so

    Apple is so far ahead with their mobile chips its crazy

    If they can get that same type of lead with macOS, wow. But I'm wonder if its worth it? Apple only sells about 20 million macs a year. Would it be better just to switch everything to iOS?
    While the iDevice hardware is excellent, iOS is very far from prime time when compared to OS X. Very far. In fact, iOS on an iDevice still needs a lot of refining.
    80s_Apple_Guysailorpaul
  • Reply 12 of 67
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,325member
    sog35 said:
    Look at Surface
    Look at Macbook
    Make sure Macbook does not look like a copy of Surface

    It blows my mind why Apple has not made these products yet:

    1. A true 2 in 1 Mac/iPad. The tech is there to do it already.
    2. An iPhone with smaller bezel. Come on. Even POS china companies can do this
    3. New MacPro

    No idea why Apple is slow now days

    I agree with the Mac Pro, but the holdup there may be Intel processors. Or maybe they are spending their three years doing a whole new design to counter some of the complains with the initial model. Who knows.

    For a 2-in-1 Mac/iPad, how do you see that working? iOS apps running within macOS? That would be cool, but would require a full touch-screen system, and Apple refused to go down that road. Instead, they are researching alternative touch-based interfaces. Or do you want macOS running on a tablet? Bleh!

    As for a smaller bezel.. why is that so important to you? For the coolness factor? Is the bezel somehow limiting you, or do you want the largest possible screen on the smallest possible device? The bezel does serve a useful purpose -- holding the device. I'm sure Apple is doing plenty of testing with edge-to-edge screens and waiting until they have everything working perfectly, which requires touch-rejection built into iOS and the touch sensors.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 67
    I find it amusing that no one has actually used the touch bar (aside from journalists who got 5 minutes with it in a demo room) but yet are already declaring it a gimmick.

    I'll make a prediction right now: more people will own the new MBP and it's so-called gimmicky touch bar than will ever own a Microsoft Surface Studio. Btw, I've seen tweets from people who have tried out the Surface Studio at Microsoft stores say the latency is pretty bad and it's no where close to Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Of course everyone in the tech press got the memo (Microsoft is more innovative than Apple right now) so they're all singing from the same song book. But we all know which device the hipsters at The Verge will actually own and it's not the $3K Surface Studio.
    tmaybuckaleciphonenickBluntgilly017ration alemcnair
  • Reply 14 of 67
    sully54 said:
    One thing you can count on about Apple is consistency. They don't change things for change's sake. It avoid them having to alienate their user base with a new UI or input method

    Microsoft's approach, especially with the surface studio is to make a splash, be the headline. But more times than not, those headlines don't translate to units sold, which means the product never resonated with people because the technology was something nice to look at but was never one people saw themselves use on a daily basis. 

    Time will tell, the surface studio may turn out to be the thing that changes the industry to the point that Apple is the one following instead of leading for once. But I'm willing to bet that won't be the case because apple's model of incremental changes and design towards consistency and usability still proven to work. 
    Surface Studio is a niche product. Most consumers are not going to be interested in a $3K 27" computer that turns into a drafting table. The hipsters at The Verge got a hard on over this but I'll bet most never own one.
    tmayiphonenickBluntration alemcnairireland
  • Reply 15 of 67
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,245member
    I find it amusing that no one has actually used the touch bar (aside from journalists who got 5 minutes with it in a demo room) but yet are already declaring it a gimmick.

    I'll make a prediction right now: more people will own the new MBP and it's so-called gimmicky touch bar than will ever own a Microsoft Surface Studio. Btw, I've seen tweets from people who have tried out the Surface Studio at Microsoft stores say the latency is pretty bad and it's no where close to Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Of course everyone in the tech press got the memo (Microsoft is more innovative than Apple right now) so they're all singing from the same song book. But we all know which device the hipsters at The Verge will actually own and it's not the $3K Surface Studio.
    I'll top that.

    I'll bet that Apple makes more money in a year of sales of AirPods than MS does off of its entire Surface product line in the same year.
    edited October 2016 iphonenicknolamacguyBluntration alemcnairwatto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 16 of 67
    bdkennedy said:
    "before settling on the Touch Bar as it stands today."

    Can't figure out what else to do with a laptop. "Settles" on marketing gimmick.
    You do realise that it always comes down to settling for the best compromise when you want to improve technology? Getting rid of old standards in favour of new ones is always a balance. Stuff costs money, power and space. Bringing a laptop for exactly the same price to market every 4 years means you need to cut down on new tech you are going to put into it. If you don't want to compromise on advancements then price will go up. I'm sure that during the development process the team stumbled on some ideas that might have been more interesting but had less use cases or had significantly higher costs. Bringing a laptop to market that is usable for everyone and not the 1% niche of a niche means finding a solution that works for all sides hence a compromise is made and teams "settle" for a solution.
    ration alcornchipurahara
  • Reply 17 of 67
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 905member
    I think the Touch Bar will prove to be a useful UI innovation. It replaces the seldom used F-keys (because almost no one can remember what they do) with a graphical, contextual UI aid. Being at the top of the keyboard is good because you don't have to move your arm as far as reaching up to touch the screen. How many ergonomics studies have been done that say reaching up and touching a screen all day long is fatiguing and not a good way to work long-term? Tablets work because you pull the screen down to where your hand is; you don't do that with laptops or desktop UIs. Add in smudges & oils from touching, the imprecision of a finger compared to an on-screen pointer, and problems with covering the screen when jabbing at it, and I think the Touch Bar looks pretty good.

    I'm grumpy at Apple for lots of other decisions made related to the new MacBooks but not the Touch Bar.
    dysamoriaemcnairirelandcornchip
  • Reply 18 of 67
    raymondai said:
    Beside the Touch Bar, where is the Magsafe?
    Why take it out? Why....?

    Very disappointed...
    Why? Because Apple's backyard is full of broken cable MagSafe adapters. Because of historical reasons MagSafe is an incomplete product. It should exist on both sides but the right side of the Macbook was occupied by the SuperDrive. Since it happens to use Macbooks under very unusual placements, the cable breaks within time due to the stress on the magnetic end. Apple was aware of that and changed the orientation of the plug. But as we know that straight plug Lightning cables break too, this orientation change is not a definitive solution. Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C resolved this issue permanently and definitively.

    So if your USB-C or TB 3 cable breaks, your loss is only a few bucks, but if your MagSafe cable breaks, your loss is $79.00 because you need to replace the whole adapter.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 19 of 67
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,471member
    sog35 said:
    Look at Surface
    Look at Macbook
    Make sure Macbook does not look like a copy of Surface

    It blows my mind why Apple has not made these products yet:

    1. A true 2 in 1 Mac/iPad. The tech is there to do it already.

    2. An iPhone with smaller bezel. Come on. Even POS china companies can do this

    3. New MacPro

    No idea why Apple is slow now days
    Will you stop? YOU look at Surface. It's a mess, unusable as a tablet.

    You have no ability to think rationally about hardware. You've demonstrated over and over that you're ignorant and distracted by the cheapest and tawdriest of visual gimmicks, like Samsung's Edge and Microsoft's tricks. Read the interview — assuming you can read for comprehension.

    Get back to us when you understand why alloy matters when you're machining aluminum, and why PC makers are all trying to make their high-end laptops look MacBook Pros and Airs. If Apple is so slow, why are they being copied time after time? Stop polluting these threads with your idiocy,
    minglok50iphonenicknolamacguymacguipscooter63gilly017ration alwatto_cobrairelandmacseeker
  • Reply 20 of 67
    metrixmetrix Posts: 230member
    sog35 said:
    Look at Surface
    Look at Macbook
    Make sure Macbook does not look like a copy of Surface

    It blows my mind why Apple has not made these products yet:

    1. A true 2 in 1 Mac/iPad. The tech is there to do it already.

    2. An iPhone with smaller bezel. Come on. Even POS china companies can do this

    3. New MacPro

    No idea why Apple is slow now days
    At this point, Apple selling any laptops at their margins is remarkable compared to Dell and HP selling them at half the price. Stop thinking volume and look at profit margin. The Win/laptop is dead or quite near. When Dell is selling new laptops for $199 and that meets 95% of most customers need to surf, do Word and simple spreadsheets it's not long before you find those being given away with purchase of mouse pad.
    gilly017cornchipurahara
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