“The rise of touch-enabled computers raises two questions. First, what’s the point: Do you really need to be able to touch your computer’s screen rather than use a track pad or mouse? And second, why is Apple—the firm that has done more to stoke our collective touch-screen fervor than any other—apparently holding out against touch on its computers?” Farhad Manjoo asks for Slate.
“To answer the first question: Yes, a touch screen on a PC can be useful. Over the past few months I’ve used a few touch-enabled Windows 8 PCs, and during the last week I’ve been playing with a Chromebook Pixel that Google sent me to review. I’ve found their touch screens to be handy—the screen complements the keyboard and the track pad quite naturally, making for one more way to get your computer to do your bidding,” Manjoo writes. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say you need a touch screen on your PC. Touching the screen doesn’t allow you to do anything you couldn’t do on a nontouch PC. But like other high-end laptop features—a backlit keyboard, a slot for an SD card, a high-definition display—a touch screen is a nice thing to have.”
Manjoo writes, “The conventional criticism against adding touch to laptops is that it’s unnatural… This gets to why Apple hasn’t added touch to the Mac. While it’s mostly handy, sometimes touching your PC’s screen results in an annoying experience. And it’s just not Apple’s way to build a new feature that’s sometimes annoying (well, OK, other than in iTunes, Maps, Siri … ). Thus, to do it right, giving a MacBook a touch screen wouldn’t just require a small hardware upgrade to the screen—Apple would also have to reimagine its OS, redesigning it so that every element could be controlled as easily with your fingers as with a pointer. Microsoft solved this problem by building a touch-friendly interface that sits alongside the old Windows’ point-and-click interface, but I don’t think Apple would go for that—it feels too tacked-on and inelegant. Apple would have to do something bigger and more ambitious than that. But why should it? Considering that the Mac is an ever-smaller part of its revenues, and that Apple firmly believes that PCs will be eclipsed by tablets anyway, it has little incentive to make the Mac touch-friendly. Thus, for the foreseeable future, we’re likely to be stuck with touch-less Macs.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: “Apple hasn’t added touch to the Mac?”
Apple introduced two-finger scrolling and panning trackpads, an early implementation of Multi-Touch™, on January 31, 2005. Apple introduced their first notebook with much expanded Multi-Touch™ capabilities on January 15, 2008, half a decade ago.
Now, does it make more sense to be smearing your fingers around on your notebook’s screen or on a spacious trackpad (built-in or on your desk) that’s designed specifically and solely to be touched? Apple thinks things through much more than do other companies. The iPhone’s and iPad’s screens have to be touched; that’s all they has available. A MacBook’s screen doesn’t not have to be touched in order to offer Multi-Touch. There is a better way: Apple’s way. And, no Gorilla Arm, either.
The only computers using Multi-Touch properly, using device-appropriate Multi-Touch input areas are Macintosh personal computers from Apple that run OS X (and Linux and can even slum it with Windows, if need be) and iOS even more personal computers (EMPCs), namely: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and iPad mini.
Note that none of this bars a “MacPad” from production. Any iOS-based iPad would become a high quality display (possibly still “touchable,” but likely not due to the reasoning stated above) when docked into a “MacBook” (running OS X, and providing keyboard, trackpad, processor, etcetera). Such a convertible device would negate having to carry both an iPad (car) and a MacBook (truck) around. They’d be one thing, but able to be separated into two, each providing the best capabilities of their respective form factors.