Broken by design

The Touch Bar on Apple’s current MacBook Pro line was obviously a solution in search of a problem. Unfortunately, the designers were so in love with their hideous mutant child that they didn’t look at how people actually use the top row of keyboards. More likely, they simply assumed that everyone uses keyboards the same way they do, the same arrogance that leads to using low-contrast tinyfonts everywhere.

The Escape key has been annoying me all weekend as I’ve gotten my work stuff migrated to the new machine, and I finally sat down and carefully tested it to understand why:

the Touch Bar isn’t tied into the keyboard buffer

That is, if I type three keys in a row, they will be processed in that order. If I press a “key” on the Touch Bar and then type two keys, the Touch Bar “key” is often the second result. So instead of typing Esc-x, about a third of the time I’m typing x-Esc; more if I’m in a hurry.

And the only “solution” available is to convert one of the other modifier keys into a physical Escape key. And they’re all in the wrong place for muscle memory.

There is no reason other than prettiness (or pettiness) that the Touch Bar doesn’t have a physical Escape key at the left edge. It does have a tactile key on the right edge, even though it sits flush.

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