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New patent suggests Apple is upgrading the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar with Force Touch

We’re just hearing that the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro might be upgraded soon, if a newly-registered patent application is anything to go by. Apple recently applied to patent a new version of the Touch Bar—one that features Force Touch technology.

This means that we might be seeing upgraded functionality to Apple’s touchscreen function row, which has been one of the unique things about the MacBook Pro series in recent years. Currently, the Touch Bar gives users quick access to certain commands, although the options available dynamically change based on your activity and apps used.

One of the rather annoying things about the Touch Bar, however, is the fact that the ESC key is permanently located there on some MacBooks. This means that for touch typists (those who type without looking at the keyboard), it can be a cumbersome experience to tap ESC via a touch screen. In fact, Apple has already brought back the ESC key on newer Touch Bar MacBooks, so there’s an admission of sorts.

Force Touch technology was first introduced with the original Apple Watch, and sensors are used so that the display recognises the level of pressure you’re applying. Additionally, similar tech has also been seen on iPhones (3D Touch), although they did away with it for the iPhone 11 series and newer devices.

Force Touch is also used in newer MacBook trackpads, which simulate the feel of “clicking”—without actually using a mechanical button. Personally, I find MacBook trackpads to be amongst the best you can find, and a large part of that is because you can seemingly click anywhere on the trackpad, and Force Touch registers your input.

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In any case, Apple’s latest patent shows that Apple might just be implementing this in future MacBook Touch Bars, as first reported by Patently Apple. Other than that, the patent doesn’t really reveal much information beyond some rough schematics. Have a look:

So, what do you think? At the moment, the only Macs with Touch Bars are those in the MacBook Pro series, although they might bring over the functionality to other Macs in the future. In any case, I think that Force Touch might be a useful feature to have on the Touch Bar.