Apple’s Jony Ive says touchscreen Macs wouldn’t be useful, but it’s hypocritical – The Next Web
When Apple unveiled the Touch Bar on its new MacBook Pros, it prompted many a Windows user â including yours truly â to wonder âwhy include a small touch strip when you can have a real touchscreen?â
According to Jony Ive, touchscreen on a Mac just wouldnât be particularlyÂ useful. At least, thatâs what Appleâs head designer told CNET in an interview. When asked if Apple decided against a touchscreen MacBook Pro to avoid taking the âeasyâ route and to differentiate from PC makers, Ive said:
âWhen we were exploring multitouch many, many years ago, we were trying to understand the appropriate application and opportunities for [it]. We just didnât feel that [the Mac] was the right place for thatâ¦. It wasnât particularly useful or an appropriate application of multitouch.â
Ive seems to imply what people have been saying about touchscreen laptops for a while: you just donât touch the screen that often. But the real question is whether thatâs because lifting your arm to touch the screen is really thatÂ uncomfortable, or macOS just isnât properly optimized to supportÂ useful touch implementations.
Appleâs own portfolioÂ seem to indicate it thinks itâs the latter. With all the hubbub over touch screens and Touch Bars, lets not forget Apple already has the equivalent of a laptop with a touch screen: the 13 inch iPad Pro. That device is as big as laptop and reliesÂ almost entirely on touch for navigation, even more than similarly-sized Surface products.
If touch is appropriate on a giant tablet with a keyboard, but not a laptop with the same basic size and shape, then the answer comes down to the software.
Touch and the future
â Napier Lopez (@napilopez) October 27, 2016
Despite the above, I actually like the Touch Bar. It brings utility to a function row few people use beyond changing brightness and volume. But itâs no replacement for a touch screen, and it would be so much better to, you know, have both.
Touch is far from perfect on Windows, but itâs hard to live without it once you find useful implementations. Itâs great to have in apps that support it â photo editing on my Surface Book is better than on my MacBook Pro because of it â but right now there just arenât that many powerful apps with decent touch and pen support.
Thatâs slowly been changing though, thanks Microsoftâs push for its Universal Windows Platform and the Surface lineâs growing popularity (not to mention more clones popping up). Now, Microsoft is showing that touch has its place on the desktop for professionals too (with mixed reality a further goal down the road).
Both Microsoft and Apple recognize the need for input beyond the keyboard and mouse, but right now Microsoft is giving you the more flexible platform with much more room to grow. The Surface Studio and Dial were the highlight of the tech world last week, not the new MacBook Pros (if YouTube views and our traffic count for anything). I spent some quality time time with Microsoftâs devices, and itâs not hard to see how the interaction between touch and physical media provided by the Studio and Dial combo can make creative work both more efficientÂ and fun.
Of course, the Studio is an expensive, niche product for creatives to buy and others to lust over, but thatâs exactly what used to be Appleâs domain.
Moreover, its important to keep in mind the Studio runs Windows, which meansÂ itâs as much a template for other OEMs to replicate as much as it is its own product. In other words, touch outside of phones and small tablets is just getting started.
Perhaps Apple has seen Microsoftâs struggle to make touch work on laptops and decided it was best to leave that stone unturned. ButÂ when Jony Ive says touch wouldnât be useful or appropriate on a Mac, what heâs really saying is that AppleÂ isnât willing to put the effort to makeÂ macOS touch-friendly.
Donât get me wrong; at this point, it probably makes more sense to help iOS grow up into a full-fledged productive OS than to make macOS more like its smaller sibling. But with Microsoft proving that touch still has room to growÂ in workplace applications, itâs a shame Apple isnât willing to go further than a little strip atop your keyboard.