Best Touchbar enabled apps for MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro 2016 has finally arrived! Check out the best TouchBar apps so far (video at bottom of page):

My recommended core TouchBar interface is to swap out the Mute button with Mission Control. The volume slider is good enough by itself.
Touch Bar Shot 2017-02-23 at 23.51.43
Additionally I use the grab tool a lot for taking screenshots in the extended view.
Touch Bar Shot 2017-02-23 at 23.53.17

1. Djay Pro - Algoriddim
If you are looking for the best TouchBar implementation so far then the clear winner is Djay Pro by Algoriddim. Djay Pro is a music app that has two virtual turn-tables for mixing songs. Using TouchBar you have quick access to the core features which in most cases is more intuitive than using the old button. In most cases you don't even need the trackpad apart from selecting songs! The TouchBar adds to the experience as you can dynamically phase music or apply up to two effects using finger gestures. Features that are currently missing from the TouchBar are turn-table volume, BPM changing and selecting songs to play. If these were squeezed somehow into the TouchBar then I wouldn't need my trackpad again!

Overall Djay Pro is a polished and deep app with all of the features you would typically require mixing live or for recording. The pre-cueing feature is very easy and powerful to use, I had speakers connected and bluetooth headphones on, as I loaded the app it asked if I would like to pre-cue on the headphones! There is full iTunes & Spotify support which means you don't even need to leave the app to add music or find playlists. Small details such as the option for light or dark mode makes it all the more customisable and adds to the experience.
Djay Pro Macbook pro Touchbar

Play/Pause, Record, Music bar scrubbing, Music view types
Djay Pro Macbook pro Touchbar guesture screenshot

Bounce at different beat lengths, Filter gesture, Effects browser, Bouce browser, Cue points browser
Djay Pro Macbook pro Touchbar screenshot

2. Logic Pro - Apple
The usefulness of TouchBar was first shown by Apple using Logic Pro X. Now the welcomed TouchBar update has finally arrived and it is not bad at all. You can use it to start/stop/record/rewind your track as well as scroll throw your track. What I was most impressed with is that the Smart controls have a quick and easy TouchBar version. This means you don't need to llad up the Smart controls menu that often anymore.

There is a lot of functionality within Logic Pro that has not had the TouchBar treatment at all which is disappointing. It seems Apple have missed the opportunity for particular function to appear in Logic Pro when needed. I expect TouchBar will be improved upon in future update.
Logic Pro X Touchbar update.png

Menu select, Effects dials
Logic Pro X Touchbar update levels.png

Up/Down scale, Virtual Keyboard, Scale/Major.Minor/Key, Arpeggiator
Logic Pro X Touchbar update virtal keyboard.png

Menu select, Track browser
Logic Pro X Touchbar update track browser

3. Spotify
The way in which we consume music has changed dramatically in the last few years as many consumers have chosen to stream over downloading. At present Spotify is still the most popular streaming service with the widest choice of music to stream. Spotify is great as it is platform independent and with a single account you can play music & sync playlists across multiple devices (PC, Mac, Android phone, iPhone).

Streaming is a different way of consuming music and it was quite a change for me personally. I have found I am enjoying a larger range of music since converting, I'm listening more to genres that I appreciate but don't own any of such as Reggae. A particular advantage of Spotify is music discovery, either put on a genre or mood curated list and save songs that you enjoy, or check out similar artists to those you already listen to. With streaming you can listen and try out artists that you wouldn't go out and intentionally buy, you are only limited to the time you have to listen!

There are two subscription tiers for Spotify: Spotify Free or Spotify Premium. It is obviously well worth your time to try out free before starting to pay as it lets you test out the interface and check out the massive music collection that is available to stream.

The Free version has 30 million tracks to choose from with periodic audio adverts between songs. First up platform you stream from matters if you use Free, for example you can choose specific songs when streaming from desktop, but on mobile you have to use shuffle play with limited number of skips. Second of all you cannot locally download songs for listening to when you don't have access to the internet. And most importantly for an audiophile is that the song quality on the Free tier is below acceptable at just 160 kbps (on par with YouTube quality).

Premium is a worthy upgrade for anyone who regularly uses Spotify. The audio quality jumps up to 320 kbps which is good enough for most streamers without the file size being too large. It would have been very welcome for Lossless Audio Quality music for Premium users as well but unfortunately you will have to look towards Tidal for that at the moment. With Premium you can stream or download uninterrupted and unlimited for all devices.

Spotify on the Mac has been swiftly updated with TouchBar support and it works perfectly. If you are used to using TouchBar in iTunes then you will equally enjoy Spotify. All core features have a quick access command on the TouchBar such as play/pause and changing the volume of songs. My favourite TouchBar interface on Spotify is the fine scrubbing screen because it is not only beautiful but very responsive and functional. Screenshots shown below.
Spotify Touchbar update macboo pro

Music scrubbing, Previous track, Play/pause, Next track
Touch Bar Shot 2017-02-09 at 10.36.24

Previous window, Next window, Search, Shuffle, Previous track, Play/pause, Next track, Repeat, Volume slider
Spotify Touchbar update macboo pro screenshot

4. Pixelmator
If you want to do anything serious with your photos or create digital art then you need a photoshop-esque app. You could go the Adobe route but instead I will strongly recommend Pixelmator. If you are looking for an all in one image editing app that you buy once and get free content updates then you should look no further. Adboe is very expensive and requires paying subscriptions or paying for large updates. The core features of Pixelmator are the drawing and editing tools. There is also a built in vector tool which is a bonus but the file type compatibility is not ideal for other vector apps.

The Pixelmator team are always the first to adopt new MacOS standards… and this time it is for TouchBar! Using Pixelmator with TouchBar is very impressive as it provides quick and easy access to tools that intuitively displays required parameters when selected. Using a trackpad in Pixelmator is not the fastest way to work but the TouchBar really does speed you up.
Pixelmator touchbar update macbook pro

Tools menu, Colour Palette, Brush size, Brush spraycan strength, Brush transparency
Pixelmator touchbar update macbook pro tools screenshot

Rainbow colour selector, Light colour scale, Dark colour scale, Basic colour selector
Pixelmator touchbar update macbook pro color browser

5. Office for Mac
It's been a few months since TouchBar release and finally Office has been updated with TouchBar support! There is plenty to check out with Touchbar pretty much replicating the toolbar. Pressing each tool often provides more options or parameters beneath such as choosing specific text colour.

Word Office touchbar update macbook pro colour browser
Word Office touchbar update macbook pro colour browser styles

Powerpoint Office touchbar update macbook pro colour browser styles
Powerpoint Office touchbar update macbook pro colour browser styles Presentation

Excel Office touchbar update macbook pro
Excel Office touchbar update macbook pro styles

Recent files Office touchbar update macbook pro
Paste options Office touchbar update macbook pro

OSX Core Apps

6. QuickTime
Use TouchBar record your display with realtime file size. Don't forget using it to scrub whilst playing your videos.

Quicktime scrub touchbar update macbook pro
Quicktime Record touchbar update macbook pro
Quicktime Record touchbar update macbook pro 1

7. Calculator
Use the calculator is much faster in TouchBar, don't forget to customise TouchBar there are many tools hidden!
Calculator touchbar update macbook pro

8. Safari
Beautifulul way to display your bookmarks. Easy tab switching in Safari using TouchBar,
Safari Bookmarks touchbar update macbook pro
Safari Tabs touchbar update macbook pro.png

9. Photos
Browse your photos & videos. Easy editing features using TouchBar.
Photos Tabs touchbar update macbook pro.png
Photos Edit touchbar update macbook pro

10. Screenshot tool
Customise your core TouchBar interface to include Screen Grab.
Grab TouchBar screenshot
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