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Why Apple's adaptive Touch Bar will flop

It failed when we did it, Lenovo coughs

Comment Apple has ignored a page of very recent history by introducing its "Touch Bar", Lenovo reminded us on Thursday.

Last week Apple replaced physical hardware function keys on its new laptops with a touch sensitive OLED strip, the "Touch Bar". This isn't an original idea, and it has failed spectacularly when introduced to the market.

Just two years ago Lenovo tried this with its second generation Yoga. Users hated it, and the change wasn't repeated for 2015.

"We'd been having the same thoughts," Senior Technologist at Lenovo Graham Thomas told us. "People use those function keys for different things or not at all." The Optimus OLED keyboard made a big splash, introducing adaptive concept in 2006... then didn't appear for two years. Apple had actually filed for a patent for 2007.

However, the feedback from users was negative. The tech seemed flaky. Lenovo restored the traditional physical Fn keys for the third generation of Yoga (we'll have a review shortly).

"You have to listen to your customers," Thomas told us. Lenovo is promoting its clever Yoga Book – a surprisingly useful idea at an even more surprisingly consumer price.

But listening isn't something that's in Apple's DNA. This week, the changes seem to have gone too far. The professional users who kept Apple going through its darkest days of the mid to late 1990s are feeling very abandoned. ®

PS: Here's a blistering roundup of the launch of the so-called state-of-the-art Macs: Apple removed USB 3.0 ports from its laptops, snuffed out the popular Air line, and hiked prices.

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