The biggest change to Apple’s MacBook Pro line was unveiled at the company’s October 27 event, with the announcement of the first touchscreen ever to make its way to MacOS hardware. After months of speculation, Apple showed off the Touch Bar, a strip of touch-sensitive OLED screen that changes with the computing task at hand. The screen is located where the function keys used to be.
That’s a welcome addition if you’re a MacOS user who wants another way to control applications. But what if you’re a Windows user running the MacBook Pro using Apple’s Boot Camp dual-boot system? The answer is simple — the Touch Bar turns into a static row of virtual function keys, MacRumors reports.
The question was asked and answered via an email exchange between Apple user Abraham and Apple software engineer chief Craig Frederight. Abraham asked, “Craig, am I correct in assuming that the Touch Bar becomes a row of visual function keys when using Windows with Boot Camp?” Federight answered, “You are indeed!”
Given the incredibly thin and light nature of the new MacBooks, their enhanced trackpads and keyboards, and the improvements in connectivity options, one can assume that the machines will be at least as popular among Windows users as past MacBooks have been. The Windows ecosystem is strong in its own right, with machines like Dell’s XPS 13 and HP’s latest Spectre x360 offering their own benefits to Windows users, but Apple’s options remain good ones as well.
There’s no word yet if Boot Camp will ever support more advanced Touch Bar features with Windows. It’s possible they won’t because Touch Bar support might be baked into MacOS at a deeper level, and Apple may have no real desire to give up such a strong advantage of MacOS on its own hardware. Boot Camp has always provided decent Windows support, but nobody could ever call it equal to MacOS.
Apple hasn’t confirmed the email exchange, and so the veracity of this information remains a bit uncertain. Nevertheless, the solution makes perfect sense as a way to maintain Boot Camp’s validity in light of such fundamental changes to the MacBook Pro line.