Law laid down: MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar barred from bar exams

Want to use your shiny new MacBook Pro’s funky Touch Bar in an exam? Not so fast, says the Board of Law Examiners of North Carolina in the US, as it could facilitate cheating in the bar exam.

Other US states have gone even further by banning Apple’s new notebook entirely, citing potential abuse of the context-sensitive OLED strip.

The issue with the Touch Bar, as pinpointed by software testing and assessment firm ExamSoft, is that it offers a predictive text capability which could effectively be used to cheat in some manner.

So from February 2017, those sitting the North Carolina bar exam with a new MacBook Pro will be required to disable the Touch Bar – and an ExamSoft technician will verify that this has been done before the start of the examination.

Bar ban

As CNET reports, some states have gone even further than this, and the New York State Board of Law Examiners has banned the new notebook entirely from its exams from next month.

The New York board writes in no uncertain terms: “The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Apple’s newest laptop computer which came out in November 2016, is NOT permitted for the February 2017 Uniform Bar Examination.”

It further adds that if you do bring the new MacBook Pro to the exam, it will be physically removed from your desk and “you will be required to handwrite the answers to the essay questions”.

So there you have it – best get hold of another alternative laptop for the New York bar exam, rather than Apple’s latest offering.

It’ll be interesting to see if this is the start of a trend of the newest MacBook Pro being banned from other exams outside of the legal sphere.

At least MacBook Pro owners got some good news last week, with the release of a macOS Sierra update which fixed the well-publicized battery bug that caused the notebook to fail to gain a recommendation from Consumer Reports (a decision which has now been reversed).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).