Apple MacBook
Image courtesy: Apple

In a complete turnaround of company policy, Apple is, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, considering adding touchscreens to its Mac computers.

Why haven’t Macs had touchscreens before?

To date, Apple has resisted adding touchscreens to any of its Macs or MacBooks. In the past, the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs said that computer touchscreens are “ergonomically terrible.” While adopting touchscreens for iPhones and iPads, Jobs didn’t think computer screens would work due to the angle people use them at. In 2010, Jobs said: “Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. After an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off.”

Why is Apple changing its position?

Apple is the only major computer manufacturer that doesn’t have a touchscreen laptop. This means the company is missing out on a share of that market, so it seems Apple’s changing its stance on desktops with touchscreens.

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This isn’t the first time Apple has changed its mind about company policy. Steve Jobs once said that Apple wouldn’t make smartphones or tablets, and the company is now a market leader for both products.

What about the Touch Bar?

Apple did explore touchscreens in the past by adding the Touch Bar to some Macs in 2016. However, this was only a small strip by the keyboard rather than a full touchscreen. The Touch Bar didn’t catch on with users or developers and was discontinued on the Mac Book Pro two years ago. In addition, starting in 2018, Apple started to combine its applications. However, the decision to bring iPad apps to its Mac computer has further highlighted the lack of touchscreens.

What do we know?

While there are no plans to launch a touchscreen MacBook yet, Apple engineers are reportedly working on a design. It is predicted that this will still follow a traditional form factor with a trackpad and keyboard. In addition, Apple is going to start using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens rather than the LCD displays currently used on Macs. This makes sense as the company already uses OLED screens for its iPhones and Apple Watches.

What we think

Touchscreen computers don’t suit everyone’s way of working. However, by not having a touchscreen model in its Mac range of computers, Apple is missing out on customers who do want one. It will be interesting to see whether the desire to capture part of that market will finally change a long-standing Apple policy.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.