When will we see a touchscreen Mac?

“I never wanted a touch screen on my notebook,” Tom Mainelli writes for Tech.pinions. “In fact in 2012, when Intel and Microsoft convinced PC manufacturers (who were staring down the existential threat of cheap Android tablets) to add touch (and substantial cost) to their Windows 8 notebooks, I thought it was a bad idea. And it was.”

“But over the course of the next four years, the industry quietly worked out the kinks,” Mainelli writes. “Now, in 2016, I look down and realize three of the four notebooks I use regularly have touch. And somewhere along the line, I started using it. Furthermore, unless I’m docked at my desk using a monitor, I use touch all the time, primarily when scrolling through Web pages or documents. When I use that one non-touch notebook — a Macbook Air — I’m constantly reminded the feature is missing.”

“The rumor mill is pointing to an imminent refresh, at least of the Macbook Pro. However, while it looks like the new notebook will have a touch-enabled, programmable bar above the keyboard, there’s no indication Apple is any closer to adding an actual touch screen to the Mac,” Mainelli writes. “I happen to think for many long-time Mac-only users, the lack of touch isn’t an issue because non-touch Macs are all they’ve ever used. But for those of us who move between Windows and the Mac, the omission is becoming glaring. It seems obvious that, at some point, the next-generation of potential Mac users—raised exclusively on touch screens — will find the lack of touch on the Mac unacceptable.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve been over this. Last decade.

To us longtime Apple watchers, Cupertino seems to be saying, “Multi-Touch on the screen only when trackpads are not part of the device.”MacDailyNews, November 19, 2008

Does it make more sense to be smearing your fingers around on your notebook’s screen or on a spacious trackpad that’s designed specifically and solely to be touched? Apple thinks things through more than other companies… The iPhone’s screen has to be touched; that’s all it has available. A MacBook’s screen does not have to be touched in order to offer Multi-Touch™. There is a better way: Apple’s way.MacDailyNews, March 26, 2009

TGIF! Intern, TTK (both of them)!


  1. The idea of reaching across the desk to touch my MBP seems silly, like a Microsoft product. My laptop is my desktop computer.

    Hope this isn’t a product Apple designed for their own professionals. That habit would explain some of the screwball qualities of iTunes now and then.

    1. So why is the iPad Pro being pushed as a PC replacement when it is a touch screen only device that requires one to reach up and tap the screen.

      No track pad.

      No mouse support.

      Only a touch screen.

      If apple is okay with a touch input on a PRO device like the iPP, then why not on an MBP?

      Why not?

        1. But for “Pro”, Apples product gets way above $4000.

          Try Dells 7710, where it tops out at about $7000 for a workstation class 3D CAD machine that can run FEA.

          The market will be be Prius vs Trucks, but the Trucks will still rule.

      1. To replace something it doesn’t mean it does so by simply mimicking it that way it simply becomes that product, it does so instead by trying to do it differently and a way per eived as better even if at first it seems less ‘natural’ and traditional. Surely if the iPad had the assets that you describe it would become the very product that Apple says it doesn’t agree with creating. Personally I have no problem with the concept as long as it works seamlessly, but by doing it it would be the contradition for Apple, rather than being accused of it by refusing to make the iPad Pro a laptop.

        My problem is that as the writer suggests such a product could increadingly become a logical one depending upon what it is used for and who is using it. Added cost and unacceptable compromise is the main argument against but if that is being erased (a big if) then it could be the right solution. In that scenario how foes Apple get through the perceived capitulation?

        1. The iPod was not the first portable audio file player, nor was the iphone the first smart phone (Treo). Even thr iPad was not the first tablet. They were simply the best, and not because they mimicked other products but because they executed the technology much better. They just worked.

          I would like Apple to make the touch screen Mac, so that it “just works” in a way better than Windows ever could.

          I know Apple could do it.

          Why not?

        2. Remember when you could get 160GB iPods?
          8 years later you still can’t get that much storage.
          Everything is going backward at Apple.
          Fire Tim Cook.

    2. When Apple has a one device operating system is when we’ll see a touchscreen Mac. Not until then.

      An example: a multi-touch 32″ iMac that has an innovative hinge that you can position close into yourself and touch the screen to interact with it.

      These would also have mouse and pen input.

  2. As a long time Mac user since the Mac 512k and the early “Mac Portable”, it is time for radical update.

    Take the entire palm rest, track pad/click area and turn it into a giant iPhone touch screen. Let me put accessory apps, notifications, etc on those screens, just like the iPhone.

      1. It obviously would be able to be turned on and off.

        We seem to deal with “fingerprint goop” on our devices today without issue, so I don’t see it as an issue. It you get crap on your keyboard, you need to use the sink more.

        Seriously, the surface is already there. Why not let the user configure it as desired. Each user would put up what he needed, whether it was the weather, notes, an app.

        Speaking of Apps, why shouldn’t you be able to run iPhone/iPad apps on your MacBook Pro? It is called “Pro” is it not?

  3. When will we see a touchscreen Mac?

    Hopefully never.

    Multi-Touch, once you learn the majority of the multi finger moves (many of which seem seem very intuitive) that are associated with Multi-Touch you can do virtually anything that you can do on a touch screen (except maybe something like constantly smudge the screen).

    It would seem that the author of this article has never tried to learn the Multi-Touch actions. I will confess that when Multi-Touch initially came out I was very skeptical about its ease of use. I’ve been a hardcore mouse user (even on laptops) since Apple first started shipping mice. However, I rapidly became an avid Multi-Touch fan.

    1. I remember telling a Linux friend about how much I like using the Apple touchpad, after he told me that he only uses a mouse.

      I don’t know if it is a problem with the hardware or the software (or both) on his laptop computer, but I came to understand why he detests what passes for a touchpad on the Windows/Linux side.

    1. The iPad is meant to be handled, carried around, used on a moment’s notice. My desktop is not designed for that type of use. A keyboard and trackpad work absolutely fine. Hard enough time keeping the screen clean as it is,

      1. Exactly. A tablet and phone are handheld devices. Desktops and laptops are not. It’s inherent in the nature of both types of devices why a touch screen works so well with the former and not the latter.

        It’s nor so much the nature of the work you do on one or the other, as it is HOW you use the device.

        And ergonomics. Can you imagine what your shoulders and arms would feel like after spending the day working in front of a 32″ touchscreen?


  4. Those against a Mac touch screen wouldn’t experience any degradation from a touch screen. They wail nonetheless.

    i have often tried scrolling, touching a button, and two-finger zooming on a Mac screen. Its not an earth shattering feature, but its natural from some people. Perhaps when adding touch is cheap enough Apple will add it.

    Like many Mac improvements that are demonized before they happen, it seems some people can’t imagine other are different or recognize that they are not being inconvenienced.

    Examples: New smaller iPads didn’t hurt large iPad lovers. New larger iPhones didn’t hurt smaller iPhone lovers (once Apple clued in and continued support for them). Slimmer less performant MacBooks didn’t make MacBook Pro’s any less capable (Apple’s lack of upgrades did that).

    People are different.

  5. Useless. Better wait till an effective (Minority report like) gesture recognition arises. Touch scree, unless it has all of a perfect graphic tablet, is fitting for iPad or smartphone.

    1. Apple actually has a few relevant 3D gesture patents.

      Meanwhile, Apple keeps sitting on adding 3D GUI elements to macOS that could be manipulated using 3D gestures. I don’t personally comprehend what the computer community is waiting for. Possibly there are patent conflict problems or high hardware costs.

  6. My five year old loves her iPad, so when she sits next to me and I’m on either the Macbook Pro or iMac the first thing she goes for is the screen and then looks at me as though it’s busted.
    We may not like it but I can see certain advantages, just he thought of those fingers prints though….

    1. I think many people actually use a computer while they could satisfy their needs with an iPad, or even only an smartphone.
      Some do work on their device and therefor need a bigger screen and some sort of “serious” machine. These, also, do handle quite bumpy applications that, mostly, won’t see any touch commands ever.
      So, it’s very probable that tablets will take over on common uses. Yet, Apple should take more care of power users and make less of low bows in front of the shareholders.

      1. ipad / touchscreen is fantastic for 80% of use cases, and complete crap for the other 20%. I find touch screen awful for text processing for example because the highlighting of regions of text is complete pain.

  7. Unless the display is detachable, I would never want a notebook computer with a touch screen. Have no desire for gorilla arm. In fact, I have a touch screen Dull, I mean Dell, laptop at work. Never ever use the feature. It stinks. Give me a capable trackpad like on my Macbook Pro. Much more efficient.

  8. Good point. I can see if you’re working with a device like any of the iPad family, then touch is a necessity. Though working with a laptop?

    What’s the point of a keyboard and a trackpad if you’re going to be touching the screen directly.

    I just don’t see the point or the rationale (other than for someone to say that their device does it, that is).

  9. The thing is, I like the Surface type design where you can use it as a notebook or a tablet. That’s why we need a tablet/notbook hybrid. As it is, I HAVE to carry around 2 devices, because neither an ipad nor a notebook can do it all. For the love of god, why? There is lots to criticize about MS, but they did in fact nail the Surface hardware design in many ways. I want a mac with removable keyboard, touch screen that can run ipad and mac apps.

  10. Touchscreen devices get smudged up with finger grease, and as such look kinda gross if they are large. Imagine a giant iMac with grease smudges all over it.

    And from a usability perspective, a trackpad is fine.

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