Apple Working On Touchscreen Mac Laptops


But rivals have increasingly added touch screens to personal computers, putting pressure on Apple to do the same. A Mac resurgence in recent years also has made the business a bigger moneymaker than the iPad – and the company wants to keep its computer line-up as compelling as possible.

Based on current internal deliberations, Apple could launch its first touch-screen Mac in 2025 as part of a larger update to the MacBook Pro, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. The current work calls for Apple’s first touch-screen MacBook Pro to retain a traditional laptop design, including a standard trackpad and keyboard. But the laptop’s screen would support touch input and gestures – just like an iPhone or iPad. Over time, Apple could expand touch support to more of its Mac models.

I don’t believe that many laptop buyers seek out touch as a wanted feature, but touchscreen Windows laptops are popular just because they are so pervasive in the marketplace. Of all the Windows laptops pedalled in retail stores, I’d wager half have touch screens on them. So, people buy them. And when they buy them, it turns out, they actually get used.

All the time, I see people swipe up and down on their vertical laptop screens to navigate webpages and zoom into photos with a pinch gesture. The ergonomics of this are naturally poor. Stretching your arm out forwards to reach the laptop screen quickly becomes uncomfortable. And yet, people still do it frequently. The touch screen is used as an accessory to primary mouse input. They swipe around a bit, then they go back to the mouse. They read a screenful of content, then they swipe to the next page, and put their arm back down. It’s a surprisingly subconsciously natural thing to do.

Apple has trained a generation on the expectation that screens respond to touch input, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone and iPad. In the perspective of the average user, the MacBook is the outlier here: why doesn’t touching the screen work?

In terms of implementation, it is not the Apple way to introduce a touch screen without a touch screen OS. Making macOS truly designed for touch is a huge undertaking, though, and doing that without compromising the mouse-keyboard experience is even harder. I’m not sure Apple has the bandwidth for it. However, given what we just said about touch on Windows laptops being secondary rather than primary input, maybe Apple can get away with doing very little. As Windows has demonstrated, adding touch to laptops does not necessitate a major reworking of the desktop UI. It would be nice if that was the case — better even — but it’s not required for users to be happy.