The introduction of the Touch Bar was a brilliant idea. I still believe it is. It signaled Apple’s UI and UX ambition and vision for how humans interact with a computer.

Who wants all these static plastic keys in a world of many applications? That was idea behind the revolutionary full screen iPhone. No keyboard but a screen who doubles as keyboard when needed.

It has been a few good years with the Touch Bar but it still feels like a gimmick. Most MacBook users either ignore it or complain about it. What if the Touch Bar gets a little smarter and more useful? Siri can help.

The Touch Bar consists of three areas:

  • On the far left there is the System button
  • In the middle there is the App region
  • On the right there is the Control strip

A redesign of the UI and UX of the Touch Bar along with some smartness inside macOS can be a game changer.

Touch Bar options compete with existing UX paradigms in macOS. The mouse and menus, mouse right click, swipe gestures and more.

What if the Touch Bar outperforms existing macOS functions? Here are some ideas.

Touch Bar for Virtual Desktops

The 4-finger swipe to change between virtual desktops is easy and fast. Working with more than two virtual desktops adds a bit more strain when there is a lot back and forth involved.

Imagine if the Touch Bar offered buttons for switching between virtual desktops. Press a button to go to from desktop 1 to 4 and back. No more multi swipes back and forth.

Siri can detect how many virtual desktop exist. When there are more than three it can offer virtual desktop shortcuts.

Touch Bar Shortcuts for Running Applications

Imagine Siri with super contextual and AI powers. Siri knows which apps a user uses most with other apps. It can detect if the accompanied apps run or not. With this power, Siri can suggest Touch Bar app shortcuts for quick and easy access to start these apps.

For example when a user designs in Framer X the Sketch and Dropbox icons would appear in the Touch Bar as a shortcut. When a user writes in Pages or Numbers the Slack icon could appear. You get the idea.

Touch Bar Safari Siri Shortcuts

Imagine if Safari understood some context of a website. When reading articles, especially long or longer form, helpful Touch Bar shortcuts appear. Instead of using the mouse or trackpad to scroll and read, a smooth auto scrolling button will appear. Also shortcuts for jumping to the top or bottom of a page.

Siri can intelligent suggest these buttons and stick with them after a few times of usage. The Safari > View > Customize Touch Bar can offer controls for fine tuning this option.