Has the time come for a Mac with a touch interface?

“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Dan Moren writes for Macworld. “But with its dual stewardship of macOS and iOS devices, Apple is in some ways a house divided into two different ideas of what a computer should be.”

“This week, rumors stirred the pot further, with the suggestion that support for pointing devices like mice and trackpads — traditionally the domain of the Mac — may be supported in an iOS release later this year,” Moren writes. “I don’t have a horse in that race. Because what I want is not an iOS device where I can use my trackpad, but instead—yes, I’m going to say it, at the risk of being ostracized by my fellow Mac fans—a Mac where I can touch the screen.”

“As it stands, all of Apple’s other devices—even the HomePod and the Apple TV’s remote—have touch features,” Moren writes. “So why is the Mac left out?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No.

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

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

That said:

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 12.9-inch iPad Pros) or buy it as part of a package (get a new 12.9-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 last fall. 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?MacDailyNews, January 7, 2017

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Interns: TTK!

SEE ALSO:
Craig Federighi doesn’t see a touchscreen Mac in the future – June 6, 2018
Apple’s Craig Federighi details how iOS apps will run on Macs – June 5, 2018
How Apple might approach an ARM-based Mac – May 30, 2018
Will the 2019 Mac Pro be powered by an Apple ARM-based chip? – April 6, 2018
Project Marzipan: Can Apple succeed where Microsoft failed? – December 21, 2017
Apple is working to unite iOS and macOS; will they standardize their chip platform next? – December 21, 2017
Why Apple would want to unify iOS and Mac apps in 2018 – December 20, 2017
Apple to provide tool for developers build cross-platform apps that run on iOS and macOS in 2018 – December 20, 2017
The once and future OS for Apple – December 8, 2017
Apple, a semiconductor superpower in the making, looks to build their own ARM-based processors for Macs – September 29, 2017
On the future of Apple’s Macintosh – February 6, 2017
Apple’s Craig Federighi explains why there is no touchscreen Mac – November 1, 2016

24 Comments

  1. Didn’t timid Tim say that was like a refrigerator and an oven combined? Yes he did. Apple should have already done this. Tim looks like Balmer and the current ATT CEO. He needs to move or be left behind. As Buffett said. Apple could afford to make a couple of mistakes. You never want to own a company where every product is a hit. Because it won’t last. You have to take risks. Tim is still riding the iPhone wave.

  2. “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? — MDN”

    All companies have been advocating this ‘finger grease product’ from before the time Apple first introduced the Mac with the mouse with WYSIWYG. I was there to remember. Some people want to live in the past.

  3. A MacBook with touch screen I have long wanted. I am mainly an iPad Pro user because I much prefer touch interface. But I do have a MacBook for occasional use and nearly every time I pull out instinctively reach for the screen at some time during my session. I can’t see any reason why MacBooks should not have touch screen. Those that don’t want to use, don’t have to do so – but give us a choice. The same as I would not consider using mouse with iPad Pro, but have no objection for that facility to be added for those that prefer. Just make these devices as useful and flexible as possible to all users!

  4. As a designer I have used various Windows Touch laptops/convertibles for work.

    I mainly use the touch screen with a stylus for drawing, taking notes, annotating design work and marking up documents. When using a stylus I would always fold the keyboard back behind the screen to make it a very chunky tablet or detach the screen altogether if I could.

    The rest of the time (80-90%) I would use it as a pure laptop and hardly ever touch the screen. The main issue I found was unless the display was resting on something behind it, the hinge would always flex a little as I was trying to touch the display, so it would push away from me making it difficult to accurately control the UI by touch.

    Window’s UI is generally awful, a halfway house that’s not sure what it wants to be. It’s great if you are using a stylus and just drawing, marking up or writing notes. It also has some great multi-tasking gestures but beyond that it’s a confused and not very elegant.

    This experience with Windows convertibles has really made me want a more powerful iOS with multi-window and trackpad/mouse support. I also see a case for a large desktop based iPad Studio with 17″, 21″ and 27″ displays that you could tilt and lean on while using them (like Surface Studio). That’s what I would wish for, not a touch based Mac.

    I think the Mac would be better served with somehow just getting ApplePencil support either directly on the display or via connecting an iPad.

  5. It will take Apple and MDN another 2-3 years before they finally figure this out. Then they’ll say that they supported touch macs all along (or iPad and Mac will converge into a single touch device, which is essentially the same admission).

    Watch if I’m not right.

    Meanwhile that puts them about 10 years behind the “other side”.

    1. ABSOLUTELY NOT MORONS! Try Using Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign for 2-8 hours with a touch screen! Your Arm will Literally Fall OFF! Buy a Magic TrackPad Like I did which works beautifully better than a touch screen and your fingers DON’T GET in the way! Every time someone brings this up I wanna SLAP them!

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