What Microsoft Surface got right and where the Apple Touch Bar failed

Microsoft Surface vs. the Apple Touch Bar

Most of you know I’m a Mac user, but the touch-bar thing they released on their newest laptops is just dumb. I never saw the reason for it. It seemed like a solution looking for a problem. Josh over at Tidbits did a great writeup:

in Microsoft Word, the Touch Bar offers shortcuts to items in the toolbar. Let’s say you want to bold some selected text. On a Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro, you have three main (there are others, but they’re even slower) ways to do this:

  • Press Command-B on the keyboard, which lets you keep your hands on the keyboard and eyes on the screen.
  • Click the Bold button in Word’s toolbar, which takes your hands off the keyboard but keeps your eyes on the screen.
  • Tap the Bold button on the Touch Bar, which takes your eyes off the screen and your hands off the keyboard.

In most cases, the Touch Bar is the slowest way to perform an action!

Josh goes on to offer some solutions to the problems, but the real solution is the Microsoft Surface. I played around with the Surface for a weekend and if I wasn’t scared shitless of viruses it would have been my main machine 3 years ago. Right now I’m vacationing in Italy with my iPad Pro using the iOS beta (which is awesome). It’s solid with lots of new features that make it “more like a laptop” but I need a powerful laptop with a lot of memory for my day-to-day work, as well as a BIG external monitor for “real” work. I’m using Christine’s laptop to write this post because of the bigger screen and the faster copy-pasting but I keep touching her screen trying to get alerts to go away and dialog boxes to cancel.

So yeah, I have Surface envy. If I had $1,500 to throw around I might even just grab one for the heck of it… but for that price I’d want something that worked as well as a Mac and Consumer Reports is saying that the Surface is the least reliable computer in their tests. I tend to take Consumer Reports data with a cup of salt since they’ve been known to publish some sensational headlines and then retract them over the past 12 months so I don’t have a lot of trust in their testing methodology, but it’s data….

That being said my guess as to why Apple hasn’t released a touchscreen Mac is because it’s hard to make, and they aren’t willing to ship a device with lots of known/potential issues.


UPDATE: Yeah consumer reports is full of crap.  http://www.loopinsight.com/2017/08/14/more-on-consumer-reports-flipping-microsoft-surface-to-not-recommended/