New patent application: Apple does not give up the Touch Bar


Apple is apparently planning to equip the Touch Bar built into the MacBook Pro with new functions. At least the group’s technicians are working on ideas for expanding the OLED function key bar. This emerges from a recently published patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Patently Apple discovered.

The text, the title of which is “Force Sensor and Coplanar Display”, deals with the integration of new sensors into the touch bar. Currently, this is “only” a narrow touchscreen display on which Apple places various system functions – for example controlling media playback. Apps can also store important features here, for example a scrubber for video editing programs or even a scratch option in DJ apps. If the patent application has its way, force-touch recognition could be added in the future, i.e. the detection of the pressure with which the finger is on the touch bar.

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Force Touch – also called 3D Touch on the iPhone – is a feature that Apple once installed in the iPhone and Apple Watch, but has now removed. So you could press firmly on the computer clock to call up a submenu, something similar was possible on the iPhone. The necessary sensors are no longer included in the devices; instead, only the length of the pressure is monitored. A touch bar with Force Touch could allow various additional functions – from calling up a submenu to controlling program functions. The patent was applied for last year and has now been waved through by the USPTO.

From the user side, the Touch Bar is controversial. Most recently, Apple even backed out and physically implemented the Escape key on Macs with a scissor mechanism, which is now installed as standard again – it was previously part of the Touch Bar. The use of the OLED function key bar by programs also remains modest. Professionals in particular tend to lock the Touch Bar to a setting so that they can also tap on it blindly.


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