Why Apple May Finally Embrace Touchscreen Laptops | CNN Business
Over the years, Apple has added touchscreens to nearly every computing device imaginable, from phones and tablets to smartwatches, but has refrained from bringing the feature to its Mac product line, though a long list of rivals did it with their laptops and desktops. .
In 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs described the concept of a computer with a touch screen, then an emerging trend among the company’s competitors, as “ergonomically terrible.” Two years later, CEO Tim Cook reiterated the sentiment during an earnings call. And Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said in 2018 that “lifting your arm to remove a screen is pretty tiring to do.”
But now, Apple may be rethinking its position. Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Apple engineers are developing a touch screen for the MacBook Pro with an expected release date of 2025, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While it’s unclear whether the touchscreen laptop will ever see the light of day, the product unveiling could accomplish two important things for Apple: adapt to changing consumer expectations and boost sales of its Mac product line.
Microsoft, HP, Samsung, and Dell have long offered computers with touchscreens, and more consumers have come to expect to be able to touch a computer screen just as they can on their phones. (If you have a MacBook, you may have already had the experience of a friend or family member reflexively tapping your screen thinking it would do something.)
At the same time, interest in Apple computers is growing, thanks in part to Apple’s inclusion of its new internal processor that improved battery life and offered better performance. Mac revenue increased 14% in Apple’s 2022 fiscal year to $40.1 billion. Apple’s iPad business, on the other hand, saw sales decline from a year earlier.
Apple has previously kept the touchscreen away from its Mac lineup to prevent it from cannibalizing iPad sales. Instead, Apple added a narrow touch bar to its MacBook keyboard to provide easy access to shortcuts, emoji and other features, but eventually removed the tool after users and critics censured it.
Now, however, Apple could use a touch-screen Mac to incentivize consumers to upgrade their computers and keep Mac sales momentum growing.
David McQueen, director of research at ABI Research, said the lines are increasingly blurred between iPads and high-end Macs, thanks to new chips, the length of battery and the slim design. He noted that when a 12.9-inch iPad Pro is connected to a Magic Keyboard with the use of an Apple Pencil, “there’s not much to say about it other than a portable experience.”
“The market has embraced 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrids and perhaps now Apple sees reason to add one to its armoury,” he added.
Apple, meanwhile, has softened its stance on Mac touchscreens more recently. When asked at a conference last fall whether Apple will add a touch screen to Macs, Federighi answered: “Who’s to say?”