As you know, Apple recently unveiled its new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar touch display. What you may not know, is that Microsoft was at one point working on a Touch Bar-esque keyboard feature of its own.

The Verge points to a website for Microsoft’s applied sciences group, which highlights concepts revolving around keyboard innovation. The group rounded out the initiative in 2009 with an “Adaptive Keyboard.”

More recently, the research team investigated how touch experiences might be effectively integrated with keyboard input. This prototype has a large, touch-sensitive display strip at the top with the display continuing underneath the keys. In addition, a software infrastructure was developed to quickly enable students participating in the 2010 Student Innovation Contest at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology to create their own on-device experiences.

And here’s a clip showing the concept in action:

Ultimately, Microsoft ended up going with full touchscreen laptops. That’s a much different strategy than Apple, who said it looked into touchscreen laptops and didn’t think they made for a good experience.

Source: Microsoft via The Verge

  • It’s not about who does it first, it’s about who does it best.

    • TechnoBuff

      Implementation is when people adopts and likes a product… Thus there is no proof Apple has done it well until it is widely used and adopted or rather becomes the prime reason people change thier macbook pro
      Based on what the media has reported. most creatives arent too fond of the touch bar but we will see soon enough.
      3D touch is a good example of implementation and adoption

      • Rowan09

        Why wouldn’t they be fond of something that seems to make things easier? Sure it seems like there is a learning curve, but I can’t get why people wouldn’t be fond of it besides the price and the obvious malfunctions in the future.

      • TechnoBuff

        Well no one knows if it makes life easier or not until we start using it….

        For working on Photoshop or final cut pro etc, I dont see how it makes things easier especially when compared to shortcuts but we will see soon enough.especially when you have to look at the keyboard to know what has been mapped.

        The fact that it changes for every application makes it an issue as you have to learn or change which keys works for what , the issue of muscle memory wont apply with the touch bar… but we will know soon enough.

        As stated implementation is different from adoption.

      • Rowan09

        True we can’t decide yet if it’s going to be the status quo, but even if it’s not it can still be a great implementation for the Mac if nothing else. I would like one myself but can’t justify the price right now when my Mac still works. It’s a little slower now, but works non-the-less.

  • The only reason Apple doesn’t find it to be a good idea to do touchscreen laptops because essentially a move like that will fully kill what is remaining of the iPad line up. Microsoft made a move straight to touchscreen laptops because they didn’t have tablets to worry about.

    • Merman123

      Well said.

    • Rowan09

      By that same statement you can then say Microsoft killed the Surface Pro with the Surface Book. Microsoft didn’t make laptops so they got into the game. Apple is a hardware company and trying to make some moves into software with Apple Music, maybe iMessage, Apple Pay, etc. Making a touchscreen Mac wouldn’t kill the iPad because they run two different OSes. If Apple made the iPad a touchscreen Mac it may kill the Mac laptops in time due to pricing.

      • TechnoBuff

        Your analogy is flawed when comparing Surface Pro to Surface book, both runs the same software…
        A touchscreen Mac will drastically affect iPad sales but wont kill it especially with the better file system and features of Mac OS when compared to IOS…. The issue is not the form factor/hardware but rather the software on the hardwares

      • Rowan09

        My point is why would Microsoft make a Surface Book if like they’ve been saying for years the Surface Pro IS a laptop replacement? Even if the Mac was touchscreen it wouldn’t affect the iPad sales because the iPad’s price is significantly lower and for different users. Now if the iPad implements the same power of a Mac and the same OS, then the Mac would be in trouble.

      • Ah.. surface pro’s are laptops with touchscreen look how they are designed. That’s what I was saying exactly. They didn’t just make a tablet.. they just didn’t make a laptop.. they put them together from the beginning and didn’t have to worry about it at all. Heck all their software includes tablet based motions and swipes. Apple would absolutely lose their iPad division if they came out with MacBooks with full touch screens. Even more so.. you can see where Apple is going with their software. Eventually macOS will not exist and it will be just like windows 10 in that it works on all their devices just different hybrides.

      • Rowan09

        We disagree. They made the Surface Book because it’s obvious the Surface Pro wasn’t the laptop replacement they thought. If they made the Mac touchscreen it would be a touchscreen Mac not an IOS device, if they however make the iPad with Mac OS then that would be an issue for the Mac because of price, portability, battery life, etc.

      • It’s a laptop replacement.. look at the design. It’s the same thing as a laptop.. they chucked a connecting keyboard on it.

      • Rowan09

        So if that’s the case what’s the Surface Book? It’s obvious now that the Surface Pro is a tablet replacement and less of a laptop replacement, hence the Surface Book.

  • george

    Sad how apple in 2016 is releasing something that they had worked on 8 years ago. Talk about slow ass innovation.