Since the inception of the Intel Mac era, to the present M2 chip versions, I have seen many features removed, added, or changed again. This applies to HDMI ports, SD cards slots, and even the MagSafe connector. A touchscreen is an often requested feature that Apple computers do not have.
The idea has been a topic of little thought for me lately. I am more interested in questions such as: Why is the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro available? My colleague asked me recently to comment on the topic for a Q&A video.
I was forced to sit down and explain why touchscreens are so popular on Windows laptops and Chromebooks but not on Macs.
Apple wants you feel that you need to buy an iPad and a MacBook to enjoy the Apple experience. The recent OS updates have made iPadOS more Mac-like, and MacOS more iPad-like. But there is still plenty of room between them. The pendulum seems to be swinging in favor of iPads with Mac features, rather than the other direction.
Windows laptops need it more. Because most Windows laptops have an OS made by Microsoft, chips made by Intel or AMD and hardware made by a wide range of other manufacturers, those PCs lack the overall cohesion you get from Apple’s in-house hardware/software/chip combo. When I touch on a Windows laptop, it is usually because the default touchpad navigation is not as good as it should.
Apple has already done it with the Touch Bar. There is an asterisk attached to the no touch MacBook rule. Although it is only 60 pixels high, the Touch Bar, which was originally on several MacBook Pro laptops but now only on one 13-inch MacBook Pro, technically counts as a touchscreen. It’s possible to consider it a failure as an experiment. And it may even serve as an incentive for Apple not to use touchscreens anymore.
Don’t be fooled by people trying to cram touch into Macs. In 2008, I reviewed an Apple MacBook that had been disassembled and reconfigured into a touchscreen tablet. It was called the Axiotron ModBook and it didn’t last very long. The AirBar, a USB-connected device that added touch sensitivity to Mac screen displays, was also available. It did not work well.
The touchscreen Mac idea is still in the planning stages. The distance between the two products is now slimmer because they both use the same M-series Apple silicon chip. This could mean that both products will merge into one device. We are not likely to merge the products anytime soon, but we may be closer than we were one year ago.