Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch:
What professional users would like — what I know I would like if I were still editing thousands of photos a week as a photographer — is a way to surface buried commands and make them ready for you. (As a side note, I think Apple is doing future generations a great service in sublimating the importance of keyboard shortcuts, which are arcane and difficult to discover and use.)
The Touch Bar is not the answer to “How do we bring touchscreens to the Mac?”, because that question is not actually a problem. The Touch Bar is the answer to “These keyboard F-keys are cryptic and inflexible — what can we replace them with that’s better?” That’s an actual problem.
Keyboard shortcuts can be great in applications that you use all of the time, but they’re hard to discover. This is particularly true when the command is buried in some tertiary-level menu, or if the software doesn’t use system conventions: VLC’s ⌘N shortcut for opening a file from a URL instead of creating a new window or document, for example, or Photoshop’s ⌘K shortcut for preferences instead of the more typical ⌘,.
The Touch Bar solves buried shortcuts by elevating contextually-related commands to a visual foreground. Pro users may scoff that they don’t need it for the applications they use regularly, but that’s missing the point. The Touch Bar is for the applications or commands that you use less frequently.