Apple kills support for older Touch Bar MacBooks - could this be the end of the line?

MacBook Pro Touch Bar
Image Credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Apple)

Apple has reportedly added the 2017 Touch Bar MacBook Pro to its list of vintage products around the world, with both the 13- and 15-inch versions affected. The move means that getting those laptops repaired could now be more difficult than ever before.

The Touch Bar was first introduced in 2016 and has largely been unloved ever since, but it's still available on just one of Apple's modern laptops. The M2 13-inch MacBook Pro still ships with a Touch Bar, but for how long? Apple seems to have generally accepted that the physical function keys are a better option despite continuing to ship the Touch Bar — but notably, it isn't available on the company's 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which are currently among the best laptops out there. That should probably tell us where the Touch Bar sits in Apple's view.

The 2017 MacBook Pro isn't the only new addition to the vintage product list, either. The mid-2015 15-inch MacBook Pro (without a Touch Bar) was also added. 

Gone, but not forgotten

MacRumors was the first to notice that the MacBook Pro had found itself on the vintage list, and it's a move that could mean getting one repaired is now more difficult than it was previously.

Products that are on the vintage list are no longer guaranteed to be eligible for repairs at Apple Stores or even at Apple Authorized Service Providers. They will work on them for a fee, but only if they have the parts available at the time. That means that you might find yourself having to buy a new laptop or resort to using a third-party repair shop. And even then, there is no guarantee that the parts will be available.

As for what comes next, it's possible to take this latest move as a sign that the Touch Bar is not long for this life, especially with a refreshed M3 version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro likely to be announced during Apple's rumored October event. However, this move might not be quite as foreshadowing as you might think. Apple routinely adds products to the vintage list five years after they were last sold, a timeframe that this laptop has now passed.

Still, we can only hope the Touch Bar is going the way of the dodo. It would be a shame, though. There's no denying that the Touch Bar was a missed opportunity for Apple.

The only question now? Will that M3 MacBook Pro have a Touch Bar to call its own?

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back.