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Apple: Touchscreen Mac would be “a waste of energy”

Sam Loveridge


Apple: Touchscreen Mac would be “a waste of energy”

Apple has said making a touchscreen Mac would be a “waste of energy” and would make for a bad user experience.

It seems Apple has no intention of going all Windows 8 for Mac users in the future, saying adding a touchscreen is a “non-goal”.

Despite the slowing PC sales following the introduction of tablets and smartphones, Apple says the Mac is doing better than ever. The Mac actually celebrated its 30th birthday this week.

“The thing that has turbocharged the Mac has been the advent of the iPhone and the iPad,” said Bud Tribble, Apple’s Vice President of Software Technology. “That cross-pollination of ideas, the fact that the [Mac and iOS] teams are the same team, has propelled the Mac further than I had hoped for.”

Recent rumours, and patent filings we might add, have suggested Apple is considering introducing touchscreens to the Mac range. However, during the MacWorld interview, Apple execs have said it isn’t true.

“It’s obvious and easy enough to slap a touchscreen on a piece of hardware, but is that a good experience? We believe no”, said Craig Federighi, Apple’s Head of Software.

“We don’t waste time thinking, ‘but should it be one [interface]! How do you make these [operating systems] merge together?’ What a waste of energy that would be,” said Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple.

Apple has also said there is no plan to merge iOS and OS X into one integrated operating system in the future.

“To say [OS X and iOS] should be the same, independent of their purpose? Let’s just converge, for the sake of convergence? [It’s] absolutely a non-goal”, added Federighi.

“You don’t want to say the Mac became less good at being a Mac because someone tried to turn it into iOS. At the same time, you don’t want to feel like iOS was designed by [one] company and Mac was designed by [a different] company, and they’re different for reasons of lack of common vision.”

Microsoft aims to create a OS experience that is the same across all products, regardless of screen size of usage, but Apple is determined to keep things separate. Every product has its strengths and sometimes the right tools for the job are a trackpad and keyboard.

“We have a common sense of aesthetics, a common set of principles that drive us, and we’re building the best products we can for their unique purposes. So you’ll see them be the same where that makes sense, and you’ll see them be different in those things that are critical to their essence”, said Federighi.

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January 25, 2014, 1:12 pm

everyone I've worked with who works with a macbook and also owns an ipad tends very often to touch their macbook screens. Having a touch screen on my win8 laptop is a great addition, I love it


January 25, 2014, 6:03 pm

Personally, this article makes me so very happy inside. I HATE touchscreens on laptops and desktops. It just seems counter productive, I can open things and move things around much faster with a mouse and it doesn't leave fingerprints! Thank you Apple for being smart.

Prem Desai

January 26, 2014, 10:49 am

What Apple is really saying is that they really do not have the know how to do this.

Creating iTunes (which in v11 now is still rubbish) is the pinnacle of their software development.

Angry Viking

January 26, 2014, 3:32 pm

Yes, that will be why iPads don't have touch screens - Apple doesn't have the "know how". Oh wait...

Prem Desai

January 27, 2014, 9:38 am

iPad = toy


January 27, 2014, 10:35 am

The problem with touch screens on a laptop or desktop is that the screen is most frequently not in a good ergonomic position to be used as such. Touch screens should be used much closer to the body to avoid arm fatigue.


January 27, 2014, 10:35 am

utter troll


January 27, 2014, 12:46 pm

I agree, but you might as well include it anyway for the times it is still useful. My vaio duo 11 has the screen more forward and I've found having a touch screen on my laptop to be a great evolution. No touch pad, and an external mouse for more specific things like CAD. Personally, there's no going back to the traditional laptop format for me, it just doesn't feel right anymore.


January 27, 2014, 4:04 pm

They said the exact same thing about a smaller iPad...


March 24, 2014, 3:00 pm

My wife has moved into the 'eye' experience due to pressure from her kids and friends. She has the phone, pod and pad. She loves the MS laptops with the touch screens, but i wanted to get her a MAC so I wouldn't have to fix her iTunes all the time on her Windows PC. I was even willing to pay the excessive $$, but no touchscreen means no sale for her.


March 24, 2014, 3:06 pm

The touchscreen is an EXTRA feature, not the primary input. It is great when showing people how to do things as they can sit side by side and the instructor can point and activate. Great for teaching children and getting them started without them having to deal with a keyboard first.


March 24, 2014, 3:16 pm

It does add cost to the screen though. On a laptop style device I prefer the extra cost to go towards high-res/quality screen but I can understand that for others touch screen is important.


March 24, 2014, 3:30 pm

Yes, it is a feature. They should offer MACs with touchscreen and without touchscreen. Let the buyer decide instead of making decisions for others. i can get a Windows 8.1 with a touchscreen and more power and features than a MAC for half the money.


March 25, 2014, 12:21 pm

It's an interesting point. When I spoke to HP's head of marketing he said that consumers don't want premium laptops with touch screen displays. He said that changes though when you look at hybrid devices like the HP x360 or Lenovo Yoga or the likes of the Asus T100 range. I guess it might be a little to much of a consumer niche to justify the extra outlay.


March 25, 2014, 2:15 pm

A quick way to see if one likes it is to buy one of the cases for your tablet with a built in keyboard. I bought one for my Kindle Fire that I travel with. I bought it out of curiosity, but now find that I like having both the keyboard and touchscreen a lot. I use it more and more around the house as it is fast and easy to carry. I find that I like touching the screen for navigation, but prefer the keyboard for entry. I see that the prices for laptops with touchscreens are dropping quickly and I think the energy issue is specious. Tiger Direct has 46 Windows 8.1 laptops. 27 have touch screens.


March 26, 2014, 3:20 pm

Ah a tablet with a keyboard case is different imho because you don't get a swanky touchpad and the screen is a lot closer to the keyboard. It's a small change but one that makes a big difference I think. I have a 17-inch laptop at home and really wouldn't to touch its lovely fullHD screen with my grubby mitts.

Hugo Chavez

March 30, 2014, 6:19 am

If Apple makes a touchscreen laptop or a hybrid device they will lose sales on ipads. They will not have a choice though since the touchscreen is the future of all OS's. I'm due for a computer upgrade and I'm ditching my apple for a cheaper, faster, more fun and practical computer made by a company that's not the greedy rotten apple we've all come to know and hate.

Santiago Rompotis

April 5, 2014, 3:21 pm

I have been a huge Apple fanatic for many years now. It's sad to see where the company is headed. I not only own a PC for work related projects, but I find myself using it more often than the Mac. Touchscreen is the future and the user experience is amazing. It's what makes the iPad and tablets so much fun to use. I own now a 23 inch Dell display (the 2314T) and I have to say that since it won't work with my Mac, I guess I continue to find less and less uses for it...

Santiago Rompotis

April 5, 2014, 3:24 pm

Software development and Hardware development are totally different. Building the proper software to run with the already running OS is not as simple as designing the software around a touch device like they did with the iPhone/iPad.

Angry Viking

April 12, 2014, 1:45 pm

It isn't rocket science.... except maybe to the hard of thinking.


April 28, 2014, 1:28 am

I guess if Photoshop Fingerpaint is ever a killer-app for serious design, Apple might reconsider.... LoL

Aditya Ravishankar

October 30, 2014, 1:26 pm

And a larger iPhone!

Aditya Ravishankar

October 30, 2014, 1:30 pm

Uh huh! Try pinch to zoom and scrolling

Aditya Ravishankar

October 30, 2014, 1:33 pm

I guess that's why hp lost the pc trace! Lenovo in at the lead now because it backed up windows 8 with touch optimized laptops like the yoga and didn't ditch ms at a crucial time

Peter Stamford

January 4, 2016, 4:24 am

I'm surprised Apple or a third party haven't invented a fingertip cover with built in sensor or specialised glove that acts as a multifunctional mouse that could simply create a virtual touchscreen alternative and maintain a finger print free screen.

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