Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Gurman: Apple working on touchscreen Macs

Bloomberg’s very reliable reporter Mark Gurman says that Apple is working on touchscreen Macs:

Apple Inc. is working on adding touch screens to its Mac computers, a move that would defy long-held company orthodoxy and embrace an approach that co-founder Steve Jobs once called “ergonomically terrible.”

Apple engineers are actively engaged in the project, indicating that the company is seriously considering producing touch-screen Macs for the first time, according to people familiar with the efforts. Still, a launch hasn’t been finalized and the plans could change.

The plan is, apparently, to start with a revision to the MacBook Pro in 2025. So we’re talking at least two years from now. Still, this is big, since it will probably require design changes to macOS to make it more appropriate for touch. I have to wonder if the entire interface will just be made to even more resemble the iPad. Of course, apps built for touch (for the iPad and iPhone) would be able to support touch right out of the box, presumably.

I don’t think this is quite as big a deal as everyone will undoubtedly make it out to be. I frequently use a Mac via a touch interface (using Screens to control a Mac mini from an iPad), and while it’s not ideal, it works just fine. When my daughter used a Chromebook with touchscreen as her main computer, I found myself reaching for the screen to quickly tap an item or scroll something, even though the laptop had a standard trackpad.

And the best example is the one closest to home: The iPad Pro, in a Magic Keyboard, is essentially a touchscreen laptop. I use the keyboard and the trackpad a lot… but I also reach up and touch the screen. Of course the context of using a touchscreen in a laptop configuration is very different than a phone or a tablet. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful. (And it opens the doors for different designs, like a tear-off or fold-away keyboard that would make the Mac feel more like an iPad. And Apple Pencil support starts to make more sense in those scenarios, too.)

And the Mac and the iPad continue to move closer together…

—Linked by Jason Snell

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