No, the Mac and iPad will not merge, nor will there be touchscreen Macs

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the world’s best pro notebook.
Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro is the world’s best pro notebook.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller spoke with CNET about the concepts of a merged Mac and iPad and touchscreen Macs:

iPad was created, as you may remember when Steve [Jobs] announced it just about a decade ago now, to be a new-category product between your iPhone and your Mac, and something that had to create its own reason to exist to fill a need in your life…

[CNET] You don’t envision a future where they merge?

[Schiller] No, that’s not our view. Because then you get this in-between thing, and in-between things are never as good as the individual things themselves. We believe the best personal computer is a Mac, and we want to keep going down that path. And we think the best tablet computing device is an iPad, and we’ll go down that path.

iPad Pro, in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models, introduces the world’s most advanced display and breakthrough performance
Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the world’s best pro tablet.

iPad benefits because we assume that you need to be able to do most everything with touch, and we don’t have to trade off on that experience. Mac assumes you want to do most everything with a keyboard and mouse input. We don’t have to trade off on that path. You can look at some of the other products that will try to go halfway between the two. They end up just compromising experiences. That’s not good.

[CNET] What about adding a touchscreen to a Mac? In your mind, would that be a compromise?

[Schiller] That engineering effort is better spent on making the Mac be the best keyboard-trackpad experience possible. That’s what our customers want us to spend our time on.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is approaching this correctly — as opposed to Microsoft’s Surface toaster-fridge — exactly as we suspected Apple would many years ago:

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.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

7 Comments

  1. It seems like there are all kinds of ways to think yourself into a corner with this one. If you look at Microsoft’s new Surface Pro X, that thing looks and behaves like an iPad in every way imaginable except that it runs full blown Windows.

    They call it a tablet. It clearly competes with the iPad, but it seems to be more of an advanced MacBook Air. Is it a tablet? Quacks like a duck. Is it a laptop? Quacks like a duck. It can drive two 4k monitors at 60Hz as well so it’s definitely got a productivity edge.

    You detach it from its keyboard, same as you would an iPad, pull out the pencil and start drawing. It’s at least as mobile as the iPad.

    I definitely classify it as a tablet. I’d definitely classify it as an ultrabook.

    It’s has a trackpad. A pretty good one from what I’ve read.

    It makes me wonder if Mac users wouldn’t appreciate a machine that looked and worked like a tablet but filled the MacBook Air space.

    When I use Windows there is often a touch screen available, though I never use it. I use Windows with a mouse and keyboard like normal.

    I bet if I sat in front of a Surface Pro X, I’d use it like normal Windows with keyboard and mouse.

    When I sit in front of an iPad I become a touch screen fiend.

    When I go back to the Mac after the iPad I keep touching the screen wondering what’s wrong! Why doesn’t it work!

  2. I see lots of people using touch on their laptops, mostly for scrolling, and tried it myself (though a steady Apple user since the 70’s). It’s a natural extension of the tablet experience that we all have, and when you do it, it feels natural and logical. Sure, the trackpad does that, but not always so succinctly. Gonna have to disagree with Phil here. If it can be implemented easily and logically, they should strongly consider it – because they are creating a generation of touchers who will look for the touchscreen laptop when they buy.

    That said, the desktop system is a different animal. When the display isn’t close to the keyboard, people won’t be so inclined to reach up to touch it. But the desktops are declining anyway (especially since there’s no affordable, expandable, midrange desktop Mac to by any more, if you already have a display).

  3. How about a different type of merge…
    A laptop with the keyboard/trackpad surface replaced with a full size touchscreen running iOS.
    The keyboard wouldn’t appear until needed – not as good as a normal keyboard, but enough for people who don’t do a lot of typing. We’ve been trained to use such a keyboard by using the iPad/iPhone. And how much typing do video, music and photo editors do – and they are probably the target audience for such a machine.
    The touch screen would default to being mainly a multitouch trackpad, but with plenty of space for “buttons” and controls relevant to the program being used. Like the control strip on steroids.
    For photo editing and drawing/designing, the touchscreen can switch to mirror the main screen to allow direct interaction with the work being done.
    You can already do all this to some degree using any Mac and a connected iPad. The touchscreen integrated into a laptop form factor just makes the concept much more useable. And with Apple doing the integration rather than just app designers there is huge potential.
    Just the machine I would like for the work I do…

  4. Not introducing touchscreen laptops is a mistake. I used a Chromebook for sometime with a touchscreen and liked it very much. Apple, come on give us a MBP with touchscreen…..

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