Lack of touchscreen Mac shows Apple is adrift without adequate product leadership

“Undeterred by Apple’s pronouncements regarding ‘convergence’ of mobile and traditional PC devices, Neonode, a Swedish company, has designed the AirBar,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “AirBar attaches to the bottom of the screen of a 13-inch MacBook Air to give it touch screen functionality. Even AppleInsider has called the experience ‘oddly satisfying.'”

Hibben writes, “It was back in November that Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing took to the Internet to explain and justify Apple’s refusal to endow Macs with touch screens. As reported by Backchannel, he had this to say:”

“We think of the whole platform,” he says. “If we were to do Multi-Touch on the screen of the notebook, that wouldn’t be enough – then the desktop wouldn’t work that way.” And touch on the desktop, he says, would be a disaster. “Can you imagine a 27-inch iMac where you have to reach over the air to try to touch and do things? That becomes absurd.” He also explains that such a move would mean totally redesigning the menu bar for fingers, in a way that would ruin the experience for those using pointer devices like the touch or mouse. “You can’t optimize for both,” he says. “It’s the lowest common denominator thinking.”

Apple came to this conclusion by testing if touch screens made sense on the Mac. “Our instincts were that it didn’t, but, what the heck, we could be wrong – so our teams worked on that for a number of times over the years,” says Schiller. “We’ve absolutely come away with the belief that it isn’t the right thing to do. Our instincts were correct.”

“I think Schiller is absolutely wrong. In fact, I think the whole issue of accommodating touchscreen mode on a large monitor is a red herring, for the following reasons,” Hibben writes. “No operating system, whether Microsoft’s Windows 10, or Google’s Android 7, that implements both touch and pointer driven interfaces forces the user to use one or the other exclusively. So Schiller’s statement about users of a 27-inch iMac being forced to use touch on the large screen doesn’t make any sense.”

“A properly designed macOS system that supported touchscreens would always allow users the option of using a mouse, touchpad or keyboard,” Hibben writes. “When I encounter that kind of transparently flawed rationalization, all I can think is that Apple is adrift without adequate product leadership. In this case, all Apple’s management can do is steer by the original guidance of Steve Jobs, who declared touchscreen notebooks ‘ergonomically terrible’ when the iPad was first introduced.”

“What I found interesting about AirBar is the fact that there is no change to the macOS user interface whatsoever. AirBar essentially acts like a giant trackpad overlaid on the screen. The mouse cursor simply goes to whatever point on the screen is touched. It’s that simple,” Hibben writes. “It’s really hard to believe that Apple worked ‘for years’ on this problem, only to conclude that they were right all along. I’ve seen this phenomenon before. Management goes through the motions of considering an alternative to the current policy, often making a big show of it. But the outcome is a foregone conclusion, because management has already made up its mind.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hibben lists several reasons why Apple’s management might have come to a foregone conclusion, but one stands out: “Touchscreen Macs would cannibalize sales of the iPad.”

Apple brass seem to have convinced themselves that the iPad is the PC/Mac replacement for 95% of personal computer users today and, by Jobs, they’re sticking to it regardless of flashing neon signs to the contrary – even as they inexplicably fail to update iPads for Christmas and in the face of ever-declining iPad sales. We’ll be very interested to see what Cook & Co.’s plans are for iPad and, of course, for the Mac in this coming year.

Here’s an idea: Apple could sell iPad Pros as they do now, and for those wanting a “Mac,” Apple could sell them the macOS-powered display-less keyboard/trackpad/cpu/RAM/SSD/battery base unit. Attach your iPad for the display and off you go, you Mac-headed truck driver! Plus, you get to use the iPad’s battery, too, extending battery life to provide a truly all-day battery for portable Mac users. Detach the display and you get your iOS-powered iPad back, same as always.

Too outside the box? We’d love to be able to take our 12-inch iPad Pro, mate it with this theoretical Mac base unit, and turn it into a portable Mac. Right now, we carry 12-inch iPad Pros and MacBooks in our backpacks. Guess what’s redundant? Right, the displays. We don’t need to carry two screens on the road. The iPad Pro’s screen would do just fine, thanks.

Buy the Mac base on its own (for those who already have 12-inch iPad Pros) or buy it as part of a package (get a new 12-inch iPad Pro at a nice discount when you buy it with the Mac base). Imagine if Apple had unveiled this headless MacBook that you use with your iPad at their iPad event this past fall. What would the narrative about Apple be like versus what it is today? With such a product, would Apple have missed its revenue and profit goals for the year, causing Tim Cook and other high-level Apple executives to have their compensation cut? How many more 12-inch iPad Pro sales would such a product have generated? Enough to return iPad to unit sales growth, we bet. And, how many more Macs would have been sold, too?

As for touch:

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 (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.MacDailyNews, May 4, 2013

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014

Anyone in the market for a 12.9-inch device that’s an OS X-powered MacBook when docked with its keyboard base and an iOS-powered iPad when undocked? — MacDailyNews, October 7, 2014

Illustration from Apple's hybrid Mac-iPad patent application
Illustration from Apple’s hybrid Mac-iPad patent application

Apple’s Craig Federighi explains why there is no touchscreen Mac – November 1, 2016
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip ‘blows away the competition,’ could easily power MacBook Air – Linley Group – October 21, 2016
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip miracle – September 20, 2016
The iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip should worry Intel – September 16, 2016
Apple’s remarkable new A10, S2, W1 chips alter the semiconductor landscape – September 15, 2016


    1. While Apple may be adrift, this doesn’t show it. To make fingertip targets big enough to use on an 11-inch screen, they would have to be HUGE (and hugely ugly) on a 27-inch screen. Sizing them appropriately for 27 would require using a stylus on 11. If the targets aren’t big enough or are too small for touch use, there is no point in providing a touch interface.

      Repeatedly ifting one’s hands away from the keyboard (and touchpad) to touch the screen might be feasible on a 12-inch laptop, but it would require yoga-like stretches on a 27-inch iMac (even assuming that there aren’t two or more displays attached… each of which would have to be touch-enabled).

      Yes, you could require developers to make their programs usable with both touch and pointer, but for most non-art applications, there isn’t much—if any—point. It would simply make the interface unnecessarily complex and the hardware unnecessarily expensive.

      1. While I am not that excited about a touchscreen Mac, I think that your argument gets a little extreme. Since Apple was able to make a fully functional multitouch iPhone with 3.5″ to 5.5″ displays, and with iPads using 7.9″, 9.7″, and 12.9″ displays, it is reasonable to believe that Apple could do the same for Latoya with 11″ displays and larger. How big do you think the “fingertip targets” are on an iPhone?

        1. Not good enough. Haven’t you ever tried text editing in iOS? Slow and clunky at best. I prefer Macs without touch inputs on the screen. You already have a touchpad, why smudge your screen?

      2. Thank you for the voice of reason. I don’t know why or when it became that the ultimate Apple product would be a touchscreen Mac. We have touchscreen Windows PCs but they aren’t exactly lighting up the market.

        I think critics just want something to believe in…the magic holy grail that if only it would be produced it would cure all problems and result in skyrocketing growth and great press, above all. Some people just like to believe in unicorns.

        1. Perhaps it is because Microsoft is pushing touchscreen PCs lately on TV advertisements. It is one of the few differentiating features between current PCs and Macs that favors the PC side – so they emphasize it as an exciting and important feature even if relatively few people appear to need it.

          Personally, I don’t need a touchscreen. But I could see that there might be times when a touch/stylus-enabled display could be useful.

    2. the best solution is to make the keyboard/trackpad portion of the clamshell an entire touch screen with programmable, resizable, moveable keyboards, trackpads, tear off menus, pallets, etc etc. This provides more real estate for the display and provides massive touch screen productivity. those who say it would lose the tactile feedback, minor issue over time.

        1. It’s not impossible. You just have to trust that you know where your fingers are AND trust the OS to increase your targets on the right letters at the right time. I touch typed on the 9.7 inch iPad screen and the biggest problem was no home row rest. Once I learned to hover I could type quite accurately with iOS catching any errant slips.

    3. You know, this is so easy even I can make this decision.
      Stop telling your customers what they want!
      Even better, make both versions, but you need only one.

      A touch screen Mac impedes nothing. Don’t want to touch? Then don’t. It’s not brain surgery people…

    4. TxUser, MDN, other fanboys:

      TxUser: your analysis is flawed, which I will explain.

      I’ve been repeating this over and over on here. Apple’s major problem is this: it has two completely different operating systems. For starters, this hamstrings them to not being able to do much more innovation with the Mac: no multi-touch input or other input methods period. And then we have how jarring application experiences are on iOS (stripped down versions of their desktop or even Web counterparts).

      Microsoft has the right strategy: one operating system that allows for not only precise mouse input, but multi-touch and other input modes where full versions of applications run on all devices. I’ve said this all along: nobody can really criticize things like the MS Studio PC because the user is not forced to use multi-touch. They can just use it like any regular desktop. Multi-touch is an added benefit and a big one at that.

      Onto one operating system and design. No, you don’t need to make targets proportionally bigger on larger screens. They just have to be big enough to accomodate an average person’s fingers. That’s it. Nothing more. No bigger.

      With responsive design, we’ve learned a lot over the years. Apple could utilize responsive design so applications automatically optimize based on screen size. Right now, they don’t really do this and iOS’s management of different screen sizes is terrible, so is OS X’s.

      I also completely disagree with Phil Schiller on touch and large screens. It’s precisely that the screen is larger that makes multi-touch even more useful. You have much more room for your hands, you can swipe and arrange things on a much larger canvas, increasing productivity. Take Maps for instance. Way better on a larger screen, especially with multi-touch. Take browsing the Web: same thing… you can put a few or three browser windows next to one another…

      MS has the right strategy, but their execution has always been flawed. They are getting better though and are a threat to Apple once again, with the MS Surface Studio PC being a threat.

      The problem is that you guys are delusional… you think Apple has some bag of magic that is going to be released this year or next. But that is not happening. What’s happening is history is repeating itself: Apple needs a new operating system, and they have a leader who is bleeding their resources on R&D unicorns.

      We waited 4 years, for instance, for the MacBook Pro, and we get something that is barely any different than original Retina MacBook Pros, but with a TouchBar. The TouchBar is clearly a sign that Apple has no answer to the problems being discussed. This is it. And we’ll be on this train for years to come. The TouchBar is a confused mess of an input mode that looks like something from the 1990s: it’s redundant and flawed.

      All of the evidence points to Apple being lost… chasing R&D unicorns and wasting time and money. Instead, they should have stopped messing around with cars and watches and been reinventing their computers and operating systems, all with the end goal of significant conversion of technologies into one operating system, utilizing the latest in responsive design with new classes of devices that do multi-touch, mouse input, etc.

      We currently use operating systems that basically were invented in the 1980s…

      If Microsoft continues doing what they’re doing, Apple is going to lose in a big way: the desktop is going to be the new mobile. It’s just waiting to be reinvented, and the MS Surface Studio PC is part of this reinvention.

      1. From a hardware standpoint, I like the idea of being able to use a large iPad in two forms: A) standalone, and B) as a display screen for a Mac OSX box/laptop/dock of some sort.

        I have yet to warm to iOS – no user-available file system, some apps that simply run/operate better/easier on a laptop, other older apps that have no equivalent in the iOS world, no ability to run a local VM and other operating systems.

        What I would like to see is a larger iPad size, built with easy-to-grab handles on either side, a tough-case that can take a fall when it (inevitably) slides off of one’s lap, and onto the floor a couple/four times — AND, it will plug-into a Mac OSX box and become a display screen. Yet, while serving as a display screen, the larger iPad’s iOS device is quietly communicating with the Mac OSX box’s OS, allowing syncing and other necessary housekeeping functions to transpire between the two OS environments, transparent to the user.


    5. NOT!

      What, exactly, is the touchscreen market actually WORTH at this point in time? Not much.

      Then there’s the usual, eternal problem:

      Extended use of gestural interfaces without the ability of the user to rest their arm is referred to as “gorilla arm.”[55] It can result in fatigue, and even repetitive stress injury when routinely used in a work setting. Certain early pen-based interfaces required the operator to work in this position for much of the work day.[56] Allowing the user to rest their hand or arm on the input device or a frame around it is a solution for this in many contexts. This phenomenon is often cited as a prima facie example of what not to do in ergonomics.

      IF there is a choice to entirely IGNORE the touchscreen, that might make sense, EXCEPT there’s that nagging added COST question.

      Go get an iPad and add a keyboard if you insist upon a touchscreen laptop from Apple. √ √ √

      1. Oh and a touchscreen iMac or touchscreen Apple display?

        There are obvious uses for BIG touchscreens when demonstrating or brainstorming in a room of people. But what is that market worth? That’s a more open question and may well grow with time. But there are video projection and touch location solutions already on the market providing flexibility that a fixed display cannot.

      2. Derek:

        You’re not getting it. There is effectively no gorilla arm on something like the MS Surface Studio PC. That’s because it’s designed to accomodate the new multi-touch: the screen moves in and angles close to you with an innovative hinge. You can then use multi-touch with your arms like a preying mantis: elbows bent and at the sides, thereby eliminating gorilla arm. And Users can also rest their arms on the screen… and it does pen input.

        Remember when Apple used to be innovative like this…

        And iOS is simply too handicapped to be a replacement for OS X/devices: terrible multi-tasking, low power, substandard and stripped down Apps, too small a screen… the iPad Pro is not sufficient.

        1. Windows is still Windows; an OS built on a very outdated technology base, still prone to viruses, bugs, crashing, etc.

          The Surface Studio is not exactly selling a whole lot; it got lots of press attention, but that’s it. And it’s underpowered.

          Why are there no breakout hits with touchscreen PC’s? Why aren’t these devices reigniting PC sales?

          Bottom line: touchscreen PC’s are a novelty, something that some people cling to as a magical unicorn that will solve all problems.

        2. Dude,
          you are bringing up the old, tired argument. About past MS versions of Windows. They have it right with W10. I haven’t had one crash, etc. since ive used it. Yes, it is still susceptible to viruses, malware, etc. you need 2 levels of protection. AV and malware, and you ar good. Get over it, Win10 is a threat to OSX. Period.

    6. Apple have yet to integrate the pencil functions with their iOS apps like Pages.

      Until you can edit documents as you would with a pencil, the move to iMac won’t be worth much.

      If Apple had a 27″ or bigger screen that swivelled flat – like the Studio from MS – and the above app integration, there could be big user demand.

    7. I disagree. I think the iPad Pro was poorly executed. The fact that good hand writing recognition is not on iPad but was present on the now 20 year old message pad means Apple is not thinking their iOS products through. They could stomp M$ in one product line.

      Then they go and ignore “pro” Macs.

    8. This is the least of a multitude of reasons Tim Cook has been, is currently, and will be failing. Tim Cook is a living and breathing example of failure.

  1. Another problem Apple have is the absurd pricing relative to increased features. My MacBook Air functions just fine for what I want it for. If I’m interested in the new Touch Bar, I have to spend $2000 to get a machine that has the new gimmick. They need some seriously transformative hardware to get people like me to plunk down two grand.

  2. I don’t want a touchscreen Mac. I want the Mac to be as fast and easy to use as it was years ago. No hidden controls and transparency bullshit, just pure desktop efficiency.

    If you want a touchscreen, then buy an iPad at Apple’s inflated prices. If Apple was smart it would an put SD card slot and move to USB-C on the iOS gear to enable fast local file sharing, but Apple is hellbent on getting you to rent their cloud, so no wonder Apple is losing the ultraportables market too.

    1. If you don’t want a touchscreen, then don’t touch the screen. I fail to see how it impacts you, as long as pricing is competitive.

      Or…you should be able to buy a non-touch model. Why should other’s be limited by your wants?

      1. So you recommend people pay a significant premium for features they don’t want? Is that on top of the Apple brand premium for products that Ive removes features the customers do want?

        Hey, remember the colorful plastic iMacs that practically saved the company? People loved them because they were affordable and convenient and stylish. Now all Macs are gray, overpriced, and inconvenient. Or antiquated, or it has crummy battery life. No touchscreen on a Mac is going to solve that.

        Apple needs to offer better convenience features and pricing in its Macs, not touchscreens.

        1. He probably did. Still, I think MacObserver has a point. Offering multiple configurations of hardware doesn’t come for free. Apple has the slimmest variety of hardware of any major PC maker and keep removing customer options with each generation. I don’t think Apple wants to offer touch and non-touch versions of the same product. That is a question for Apple’s supposed supply chain genius.

          I wish Apple would just provide better value in Macs with increased battery life, an array of new and legacy connections, and more reasonable prices.

  3. Wasn’t convinced about MDN’s take on this device originally but coming around to it, especially as it’s the only way Apple could even have a chance of selling it as a logical distinctive plan, without the total humiliation of a decisive U-Turn on its long pronounced beliefs.

    Their continued discounting of true combo devices, which ironically they pioneered in patent applications, is almost exclusively fueled to my mind by greed in that wish to sell both Macs and Tablets at least till they forced us all over to iOS devices, and/or keep their large profit margins intact that a combo device would probably preclude. That was short sighted and arrogant in the extreme, based on commercial over design considerations, as in reality the technologies to make such a device increasingly viable were always going to develop over time, so that very valid initial argument would decline accordingly. The touchbar is perfectly logical, indeed will become the norm in laptops, but it isn’t a touch screen replacement in itself as Apple are left looking like claiming in the timing. As MDN state, on a laptop, if at all possible both options are a useful quality to have for most people at least dome of the time, as long as there are no specific unacceptable compromises as a result. One device, instead of two is simply undeniable logic unless you want to milk the consumer of course, which tend to be the priorities of accountants and production bods, perhaps significantly. Of course if both your separate device product lines decline as a result of that decision then we see just how short sighted that short sighted view ultimately is and further irony exists in the fact that is exactly how Apple took markets away from others who took similar decisions based on short term gain over logic, or the innate cost and fear of changing tack when profits still look healthy.

    1. “keep their large profit margins intact that a combo device would probably preclude”
      Why does anyone think a combo device by… think about this now… APPLE would NOT have the same large profit margins? They’re the ones setting the price and if they want to make 37% profit on it, you’d either buy it or not. They’re not going to sell anything with slim to no (or has been recently proposed, negative) profit.

      And “whatever it would be” would never cannibalize iPad sales. Even the cheapest fully usable Mac (screen, keyboard, everything) is MORE expensive than an iPad and I don’t see anyone paying MORE to do the facebooks and candy crush just because it’s MacOS.

  4. I don’t care what any media moron says, Touch screens for computers are “stupid” is retarded to strong a word? not only is reaching up to a fixed screen in front of out a tiring event if done enough, eventually your screen becomes filled with prints, no matter how effective the screen design is made to try and eliminate it.. I’d like to watch one of these media morons work and see if they actually have a touch screen computer and how often they really use it… I’d predict, rarely at best.

    1. I have no reason to want a touch-display desktop Mac. I honestly hate displays with fingerprints on them. I’m even constantly cleaning my smartphone screen to get rid of fingerprints. I suffer from bursitis in my shoulders from playing too much handball when I was younger. My shoulder joints don’t particularly appreciate having to reach up up repeatedly. There are many things I believe Apple is behind in, but touch-displays aren’t one of them. I definitely prefer a trackpad or mouse because smaller pointer movements translate into larger ones on the display and that’s perfect for me and with no stress on my shoulder joints.

      I’d like to see actual proof in numbers that touch-display desktops and notebooks are more in demand than non-touch-display desktops and notebooks. I find it hard to believe. I can understand it if a notebook is convertible into a tablet (detachable or foldable) then it makes sense to me. Apple can’t follow that path because it wants to sell pure notebooks and pure tablets. Apple will not make any 2 in 1 devices due to their supposed compromises.

    2. You say that, but when I go into the Apple store there is row after row after row of iPads attached to Apple’s keyboard case, neatly lined up like laptops. If the idea is so stupid, why to Apple promote it so heavily?

  5. This is such crap. If you can touch your trackpad, why the hell do you need to touch the screen? Touch screens have a some specific uses – like you restaurant server keying in your order – or if you’re an artist who wants to simulate brushstrokes, etc. This is just a long and concerted effort for companies with inferior technology to try to legitimize they product by trying to get Apple to stoop to their level to make themselves look as good as Apple. If Apple makes stupid crap, they win.

  6. I saw that AirBar before, and although it appears to work, the screens on Apple laptops weren’t designed to be repeatedly touch and swiped. I wonder what the long term effects of this would be. I also think a touch screen is a stupid idea, unless it was a detachable type.

  7. I’m with Macinfo on this one – whoever wrote this article is clueless. Apple needs to produce a touchscreen Mac right after they produce the Apple version of the Echo – never. Want a touchscreen Apple product? The iPad Pro is phenomenal. The whining about Apple’s pricing is soooo tiresome. If you can’t afford to play Apple, go play Surface or Fire or some other Apple wannabee. You get what you pay for and we don’t have to read your crybaby junk. Win-Win.

    I am, however, concerned about Apple product leadership. Steve Jobs is gone and Tim Cook is product clueless. It is quite fair to wonder, with the man who drove all products Apple through a string of innovative devices no longer there, how the heck they move into the future. Who will say, “this is not yet right and we need to start over” when that is the correct play and who has the genius to know what people want before they realize it? Nobody. However Apple is attacking this void, one thing is for sure, the lightweight who wrote this junk article has zero insight into the answer to that question. Maybe they can write another “MacBook Pro short battery life” or “iTunes interface sucks” column. The whiners will love it.

  8. Too bad that S. Jobs got conservative as he died, annointing non-visionary, nuts and bolts, Mr. Supply Line, Tim Cook CEO.

    Yeah, Scott Forstall is an ass, some say like Jobs, but he might be the visionary leader we want, but can he and Ive get along?

    1. The guy who is currently a Producer on Broadway and a Snapchat advisor? If he was brilliant in his field, he’d be working in it. It’s telling that NO ONE picked him up for their software shop.

      If “Being an ass like Steve Jobs” defined genius, there’d be a lot of ’em out there.

      1. What OS is currently being created at any of the copycat Tech companies none…See the software crap that Apple is putting out, that is Tim Cook and Eddie Cue, see the Mac Pro that’s Ive.

      1. Good point. Here’s my point of view: I hate iPads too. Dirty screen, horrible to type, poor ergonomics for productivity. I don’t even like touchscreens on microwaves.

        The touchscreen is okay for phones, but what i use and love is an old MacBook Pro with a trackball attached via goog old fashioned wires. I don’t want to learn 25 multitouch swiping moves and I don’t want to memorize 3-key shortcuts. I want a big screen and an always visible toolbar.

        If Apple had a clue, it would spend some of its billions of dollars in cash on a new series of Mac vs PC ads instead of chasing the Microsoft Surface with iPads usiya crippled consumer OS.

        1. ” I don’t want to learn 25 multitouch swiping moves and I don’t want to memorize 3-key shortcuts. ”

          But it looks so cool when tv and movie characters do it in hipster ads and movies…….it makes them look like they know how to use computers.

      2. I don’t do photo retouch in my iPad. Image attempting to get rid of something that is not on your image, but it’s on your screen. As a graphic designer/web develop/ Illustrator, I don’t care for people touching my screen to pint things out. The first thing I tell a client is DO NOT TOUCH THE SCREEN.

  9. I can’t agree with this article at all. This is a reduction of world wide market share, not mere quarterly sales, meaning people are dropping Macs for other makes. Lack of value for the money and mere gimmicks are what holds me back from buying new Macs today. Traditionally Macs had all the ports, better screens and cost about $200 more than equivalent PCs. That extra money was well spent for the MacOS and not needing virus wares or IT. Well, no more. Today’s Mac lineup lags in almost every category, lacks all the ports, yet is still premium priced. *IF* the cost of Macs after dropping all the ports was lower, I’d forgive them, but they are way too greedy and think we’ll buy anything with an Apple on it. Well, the market is clearly saying “Nope”. I have to wonder if they’ll see it soon enough to stop the slide before more lifelong Mac users like me are forced to jump ship.

  10. A simple test to know if touch screen on computer screen is a good idea:

    1. Raise your arm to the screen like you are going to touch it
    2. Now dont let your elbow touches the table.
    3. stay in that position for 1 minute.

    If you are tired, it’s not a good idea.

  11. Apple need to accept “Think Different” means people are not going to agree all the time. In touch vs. no touch screen discussion, neither sides are wrong. It is just one’s preference. By not offering the option on macOS, many will move to other OS which does offer the option. Apple is hoping they will move to iOS. However they will may lose them to Windows10 or Linux. Like it or not, MS has done a good job with their Surface computer, this time around. Apple should provide touch screen on macOS and let the 3rd party application developer come up with how to implement the user interface on their applications. I believe Adobe already has the code for Watcom touch screen monitor. Apple may be surprised with what they will come up with and find out how useful touch screen can be.

    Both mouth/track pad and touch screen are good user input devices and will be used differently. One does not replace the other.

    1. Nope. It’s not about “agreeing” on anything.

      Ergonomics dictates this issue, and no amount of rationalizing a personal desire is going to change the reality that touch on a desktop (regardless of how one approaches it) is very un-ergonomic for long term computer use.

      The people best suited to demonstrate this are artists/designers who engage in traditional arts that require an easel, drawing table, or similar equipment. The very people who it appears the MS Surface PC is aimed at… traditional artists who may want to move to the digital equivalent of that sort of artist’s equipment.

      I’m one of those people.

      The thing is that sort of work is hard on a person’s back, arms, shoulders, necks, etc. Award-winning comic book artist Colleen Doran recently wrote about this very issue.

      Changing the type of equipment artists use won’t change the ergonomic issues that have to be dealt with as a consequence of how artists have to work… or anyone else who would be using touch in a similar fashion. Meaning for an extended period of time.

      Ergonomics are not going away and they are going determine everything about the success of touch in the desktop arena. Which is not to say that it will never make an appearance on Macs, but (just like now on touch PCs) it isn’t going to be the predominate method of computer interaction… nor replace mice, keyboards, etc.

      And “Minority Report-style”, hand waving in midair with projected UI imagery isn’t going to work either, and for the same reasons.

  12. “Touchscreen Macs would cannibalize sales of the iPad.”
    It is better for Apple to cannibalize sales than someone else. Both macOS and iOS are now in mainstream. It is time to take off the self imposed limitations on both OS. Bring touchscreen to macOS and bring Xcode to iOS. Only difference between the two should be does it have intel or arm chip. Let the customers decide which one survives.

    1. The problem is Apple itself is blind to the limitations of iCloud and iOS. Selling other people’s iOS apps is quick easy money so they think iPads are all anyone needs. Macs have been produced by the Bream ever since Apple dropped the 17″ MBP workhorse. The Mac would cannibalize PC sales if Apple would get to work delivering solid Macs in the non-touchscreen configurations people want.

  13. i really want one of these dual iOS/macOS devices.

    detaching the touchscreen device while on the train or in a taxi or in a meeting where consumption of content is needed.

    but when you get back to your desk at office or home you attach it to a its keyboarded/trackpad base that turns it into a macOS device.

    then while in the kitchen or consuming movies anywhere it becoming an iPad again.

    and while were at it, i want the apps to be compatible too. like Numbers, Pages, and Keynote are already between iOS and macOS versions.

    and for good measure, pls call it the (new) MacBook Air to revive its franchise.

  14. I also like idea of dual device. I also like remote terminal option on Windows, where I have access to a fast desktop from a laptop. Only problem is the setup has wrong OS. I like to see Apple offer a remote access to macOS desktop from iPad. Parallel provides the option, but would be nice to get the functionality from Apple.

  15. Pro Mac users, like myself, are sick and tired of the bullshit from Apple since 2012. My wife made a prediction a long time ago that Jony Ive was going to be the eventual downfall of Apple. Looks like she was correct.

    Apple has lost its soul IMO. With Ive’s stupidity regarding thinness we’ve got the new MacBook Pros and the new MacBooks – both of which are hobbled beyond belief for the average user. The new iMac is a bloody joke. No hard drive sizes in the 6, 8, 10 TB range.

    I, for one, am sick and tired of no real PRO offering – a headless Mac with bloody expansion to MY liking NOT Apple’s. So, screw Apple. I’m building a Windows 10 Pro PC in the Spring and I’m going to Hackintosh it without requiring any hacked drivers. I want to choose MY storage requirements and I want to choose MY video card requirements. Apple just doesn’t bloody get it anymore.

    1. But you would be forced to pay for it and manage the bastardized OS that attempts to handle all forms of input. No thanks.

      Note that Apple’s iOS gadgets don’t accept any external input devices and for some unknown reason Macs are not allowed to use iOS screens as input devices.

      So much for an ecosystem that plays well together for anything other than Apple’s cumbersome and limiting iWork apps. AirDrop almost works. ICloud doesn’t. ITunes and wired connection for iOS backup and file management hasn’t improved in years. Now you want Apple to copy Microsoft when they can’t even get Macs to play well with iPhones and iPads now?

      1. “… some unknown reason Macs are not allowed to use iOS screens as input devices.”

        Astropad will let you do just that. Does require an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Haven’t used it myself, but looking into it.

  16. Yuk. Who wants fingerprints on their 5K or any other computer screen? Not I.

    Yes, I’ve got an iPhone and an iPad, but they are sub-computers, not as powerful, without the RAM and memory of a computer. It would be like running boards on the space shuttle. It may sell a few copies, but nearly totally useless (yes, astronauts can step on a running board as they get off the shuttle once it lands back on Earth, that is, if it doesn’t burn up on re-entry).

    Oh, BTW, every time I put my iPhone or iPad away, I wipe off the screen. I would not want to wipe my Retina 5K screen every day.

  17. Touch screens work if you have a hard glass screen. Easy to clean and hard to scratch. Laptop screens tend to have a plastic surface that will get scratched easily if touched frequently.
    Removable keyboards are what is being used to adapt a tablet to make typing easier.
    What Apple need is an A-processor that can run macOS and iOS. It may well be the same OS that can handle both types of apps. Only really needs to be as fast as a base model and put in a tablet with an attachable keyboard / trackpad. The mouse icon only appears when the keyboard is attached.
    I’m sure Apple are working on A chips with that capability.

  18. Apple is correct, touch-screens are not suitable for a computer with a large screen and keyboard. My first serious project as a Defense Scientist was to stop the Army who planned to use touch screens. I knew it was not suitable for several reasons e.g., Fitts’ Law. I studied how fine the touch positioning had to be and told the senior officers that they would have to put their fingers in a pencil sharpener to get the fine point that was needed. Furthermore as the hand approaches the screen it obscures the target making positioning very inaccurate. To convince them I had to build a simulation and actually show them how unsuitable a touch screen was. After I put on my demonstration, the General with the most decorations came up and tried my alternative, a touchpad, and turned and said “This is what I asked for” and all the Colonels who accompanied him agreed. Writers with no knowledge of user computer interaction should not be telling apple to blindly use a technology. Apple did their studies and said “Not suitable” and I agree with them.

    1. What you say is interesting as it’s new info for me.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Perhaps if it doesn’t violate work contracts etc you can elaborate more what the military’ was asking you to do initially. Why touch screen vs mouse and pointer for example (too slow with mouse maybe) ?

    2. Yes, touch is not suitable for some scenarios. But judging by the success of iphone and ipad it IS appropriate for most scenarios. So your little story is completely irrelevant. Nobody is suggesting we need a Mac where you cannot use a touch pad.

  19. Hibben is the one who is wrong here! He claims Schiller stated people would be *forced* to use one or the other input methods exclusively.

    That’s not what Schiller said!

    As he put it, “You can’t optimize for both,” he says. “It’s the lowest common denominator thinking.”

    That’s absolutely true. Menus and menu items would have to become big enough to accommodate finger touching. Apple’s design teams concluded you couldn’t perfect the input method for both mouse pointers and fingers.

    Schiller never said that it would *force* users to use one method over the other.

    On the other hand, where Schiller is wrong is that the Mac menus have shrunk so much in size over the years that they need to be enlarged. They need to become as readable as they were on the iBook G4 under Tiger.

    If they did that, one likely could point and select quite easily.

    People also wouldn’t have to go though al sorts of conniptions to change monitor resolution, use the zoom in and out commands, etc.

    Now, there would be a limit to how many commands could be put on a menu, however!

    Just try this test. If you are in Safari right now, use your touch pad or mouse to click and leave open, say, the File menu. I have 15 commands there. Put your finger on the screen. It will easily cover up 3-4 menu items (depending on size of finger).

    You might fit 10-12 finger enabled items, but they would fill the screen!

    The View menu has 20 items. Replace those with finger-enabled items and the menu would spill off the bottom of the screen. That defeats the purpose of a menu system which is to see relevant commands all at once and quickly select the one you need.

    It really doesn’t work all that well.

    However, with fewer items, perhaps with a few well-chosen sub menus, it could work quite well.

    The real benefit, though, would be in making the menus readable again.

    They need to revisit the venerable Human Interface Guidelines. As I sit here, I cannot even make out clearly the bookmarks on the bookmark bar. The text is tiny and the grey background renders the text even harder to read.

    The incredible amassing of glitches, poor interface decisions, inconsistencies, hidden controls, etc. is what shows a lack of design leadership.

    1. You raise some good points. The original Mac had screens and menus designed for ease of use based on knowledge of human perception and information processing. This has slowly changed with graphic designers making it “look nicer” while actually making it harder to use. Today we have lack of contrast (grey on grey), items too small for the human eye and using the wrong colours, e.g., the progress bar in Safari’s URL entry field used to use a grey background bar which subtly throbbed behind the black URL text to let you know that it was working and showing progress from left to right, easily seen even with peripheral vision while not strong enough to trigger involuntary saccadic eye movement if looking at the rest of the screen—humans have an involuntary reflex to look at something in the periphery that moves as it could be a predator*. Today there is a tiny blue progress bar at the bottom. But, with only about 2% of our receptors for blue, it us virtually invisible. I have told Apple to hire visual perception experts to make sure a human can easily see what is on the screen and you can see that they have no listened. *You can experience this on web pages that have animation, While looking at the rest of the page you will find yourself involuntarily looking back at the animation.

    2. “Apple’s design teams concluded you couldn’t perfect the input method for both mouse pointers and fingers.”

      I think you might be overstating your case a bit, but let’s say it were true. I’d be pretty happy if I could simply run my ipad apps on my Mac, and have it function as a pure ipad while I’m doing it with finger input. Nobody could complain about that.

      As for your specific complaint, so make the menus bigger if you’re using touch. Problem solved.

  20. Apple needs to cancel the Macos. I invented the dang touch screen so I know what I’m talking about!

    Cancel the Macos. No one needs the dang truck! No one uses it. !9 no one buys it. Macos = Past.

    Watchos is the future. Lean. Ssimple. Elegant. Beautiful. Watchos is all we need from now on. Buy it in gold too, so exclusive and luxurious.

    1. I just want to add that the Maccos isn’t even running Windows apps. Only the hoi polloi use the aplle Macos! No one even needs it. Get rid of it. Shut it down. Not even profitanble. Watchos watchos watchos. Use it. Learn it. The watchos is the future.

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