How the MacBook Pro’s Magic Toolbar can cast a spell on the world


MacBook Pro
The Magic Toolbar will change depending on the app being used.
Illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple faces a serious challenge when it rolls out the rumored OLED “Magic Toolbar” on new MacBook Pros tomorrow: It must convince the world that the new adaptive touchpad is more than a gimmick.

Offering customizable function keys that work in different ways depending on which apps are running, the Magic Toolbar could make the new MacBook Pro one of Apple’s most exciting laptops in years.

But to be more than a gimmick, the Magic Toolbar needs to improve the way we interact with our Macs, not simply add another confusing control element to the laptops. The Magic Toolbar needs to make it easier to perform tasks that we now do using keyboard shortcuts or on-screen toolbars. If it can’t do that, the Magic Toolbar will go down in the history books as a failure.

Luckily, there’s one simple step Apple can take to ensure that the Magic Toolbar becomes a success.