Windows 10 could get one of MacBook’s most divisive features

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10 could soon get its own version of Apple’s controversial Touch Bar with the Wonder Bar, which will use a second screen to offer users quick shortcuts for apps, media controls and more.

Originally planned for Windows 10X, a version of Windows 10 specially designed for dual-screen devices, Wonder Bar appears to be one of the latest features to make a move to regular Windows 10 after Microsoft announced the Surface Neo's delay, which was supposed to be a flagship device that showed off Windows 10X.

As Windows Latest reports, several well-known Microsoft leakers have hinted that the Wonder Bar could be coming soon to Windows 10 – for compatible devices, at least. This means you’ll need a touchscreen to use it. 

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A touch of Touch Bar 

The Wonder Bar is set to sit above a virtual keyboard and offer context-sensitive buttons and shortcuts depending on what you’re doing. If that sounds a lot like the Touch Bar found on modern MacBooks to you, we agree.

Apple’s Touch Bar sits above the MacBook keyboard, and also offers contextual buttons and shortcuts. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch

(Image credit: Future)

We already knew the the Wonder Bar would be coming to Windows 10X devices, but this is the first we’ve heard of it appearing in regular Windows 10.

Not everyone will be too enthused about this, however. The Touch Bar has been a rather controversial addition to MacBooks, and while some people have found it useful, many others have found it a pointless gimmick that adds to the overall cost of the device, and can sometimes slow down workflow rather than speed it up.

We can picture the Wonder Bar being similarly divisive with people. However, while Apple has now dropped non-Touch Bar versions of the MacBook Pro (the MacBook Air still doesn't feature it, however), because so many different companies build Windows 10 devices, we can’t see the Wonder Bar being widely adopted.

Some people may accuse Apple of forcing the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro customers, but at least it has got people using the feature – and many third party apps now support it.

The Wonder Bar, on the other hand, may simply be ignored by most people until it’s better integrated in Windows 10X, when that finally launches. Still, including it in regular Windows 10 will at least give people the chance to try it out for themselves, and as it’s a virtual implementation, rather than a physical addition like the Touch Bar, which requires its own custom touchscreen, there'll be no extra cost to users.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.