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Apple Removed the MacBook Pro Touch Bar: Is It Finally Listening to Users?

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Apple has a history of making design choices that push the tech industry in certain directions. Where the company goes, others often follow. But sometimes the decision Apple makes aren’t the right ones, and users demand better.

Apple’s October 18 event revealed a return to functionality for the MacBook Pro range by undoing some of these unpopular decisions, and it could indicate the company is willing to listen to its users more. Let’s examine recent changes and past controversies surrounding Apple’s hardware design choices.

Apple’s History of Controversial Decisions

Controversial design choices aren’t new to Apple. Do you recall when Apple decided to remove the headphone jack from future iPhone models? The move fueled outrage across the world, and few could believe Apple’s audacity to even suggest such a thing. In the end, the decision was the right one, and many of us have accepted the transition to other audio output methods.

You may also recall when Apple chose to remove disc drives from its Mac range. Once again, outrage followed, but the choice made sense over time. CDs and DVDs were soon to be obsolete, and removing the drive allowed products to be thinner while freeing up space for other components.

Sometimes Apple gets it right, and outrage fizzles to acceptance. Other times, however, the company gets it wrong and must decide whether to stubbornly persist or admit its mistakes. With the return of functionality to the new MacBook Pro models, we’ve got to ask the question: Is Apple finally listening to its users?

Apple’s Mac Touch Bar Controversy and Removal

Apple’s Touch Bar was an interesting and innovative idea that ultimately failed in its execution. While customization granted some control over the bar’s functionality, the tool—which replaced function keys—took away more than it gave back.

Macbook Touch Bar with color selection showing.

Many of us are familiar with the most convenient shortcut keys for the apps we use, and the ability to add extra digital buttons to our keyboards is a redundant feature. On top of that, the removal of physical function keys is frustrating for those of us uninterested in utilizing Apple’s Touch Bar technology. When such a significant piece of hardware is more of a novelty than a functional tool, you know you’ve got a problem.

Apple’s decision not to include the Touch Bar in the latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models seems to show the company is accepting the wisdom of the crowd.

We shouldn’t fault manufacturers for wanting to push boundaries and try new things, but we should call them out when they veer from the path of good sense. Perhaps Apple’s abandonment of the Touch Bar took longer than it should have, but we got there in the end.

Other Welcome Changes to the New MacBook Pro Models

With the announcement of the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, Apple offers further atonement for its past bad decisions. Sometimes the old days really are better, and if it ain’t broke, you probably shouldn’t remove or replace it. Let’s take a look at what other hardware features Apple is bringing back with the new MacBook Pro models.

Return of MagSafe Chargers

Older Macbook side view with MagSafe charging port.

For a long time, MagSafe chargers were a hallmark of Apple portable computers. Discontinuation of the port and adapter began in 2016 when USB-C solutions provided an alternative. However, with the release of new MacBook Pro Apple models, MagSafe is returning to Mac with fast charging support.

Once again, Apple appears to be giving us what we want and resurrecting past features that never should have died.

More Ports in MacBook Pros

Apple seems to have heard the chorus of “more ports” being chanted by its users, and the company has reacted accordingly. The new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, audio jack, SDXC card slot, and, of course, MagSafe 3. If you were one of the many calling for additional ports, Apple has granted your request.

This is a drastic change from the four USB-C ports—and nothing else—offered with the previous MacBook Pro models. And most pro users welcome it.

Apple Must Learn When to Listen to Its Users

The customer isn’t always right and if Apple can identify when to listen to the crowd and when to push ahead with a new concept, the company will cultivate a content and trusting user base. The removal of the Touch Bar and reintroduction of MagSafe charging along with additional ports suggest Apple is listening to its users, and we can’t help but wonder what other big changes are on the way.

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