Skip to main content

Is this controversial Apple MacBook feature finally facing the chop?

Not even Apple is immune from the odd design mishap. From the failure-prone Butterfly Keyboard to the mouse that can only be charged upside-down, it's fair to say that the company doesn't always get it right. And now, it seems it can't decide whether to do away with one of the MacBook Pro's most contentious features.

Reports suggest that the 2021 version of the MacBook Pro, one of our best laptops for graphic design, is set to say goodbye to the Touch Bar once and for all. Long derided as a more cumbersome control scheme than physical keys, the Touch Bar, first introduced in 2016, hasn't been hugely popular with MacBook users. But now, a contradictory new patent filing hints that Apple might not be finished with the Touch Bar just yet.

Touch bar

Will it stay or will it go? (Image credit: Apple)

Bloomberg suggests the 2021 MacBook Pro will jettison the Touch Bar in order to make room for more ports, including extra USB-C slots and the return of the magnetic MagSafe charging port. Most creatives would no doubt welcome extra ports for storage and peripherals – and any who have lost work by accidentally touching 'Back' on the Touch Bar (we're talking from experience here) won't be too sorry to see it sacrificed.

And now for the twist. A brand new patent filing (below) discovered by Patently Apple has revealed that the company is in fact working on new configurations for the Touch Bar, including a version that sits under the MacBook display, and one that sits on a new bent ledge directly over the laptop hinge.

Apple's new patent filings (with the Touch Bar visible in yellow) (Image credit: Patently Apple)

These filings suggest Apple has new plans for the Touch Bar – and if we're honest, the new placements look a little more convenient than the current iteration. Users would be surely be far less likely to accidentally activate it when it isn't sitting directly above the actual keyboard.

Time will tell whether the Touch Bar will go the way of the Butterfly Keyboard (thank goodness that's gone), but regardless of the design itself, Apple's new MacBooks are pretty much guaranteed to pack incredible power, thanks to the company's brand new M1 chip. 

Last year's M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are ridiculously speedy (and we were surprised to see surprise M1 MacBook deals appear almost as fast), and Apple is likely to continue adding its own custom silicon to all of its new Macs in 2021 in beyond. Check out today's best M1 Mac deals below, and be sure to swing by our main Apple deals page for more offers.

Read more