Plenty of digital noise has been generated about Apple’s latest Mac’s, the much criticized and oft condemned MacBook Pro, circa late 2015. The static comes in two waves. The first wave has to do with Apple’s trend of making machines that cannot easily be upgraded. All of the Mac notebooks fall into that category and it’s been that way for years. Also in that wave was the limit to 16GB of RAM, but that was the case with the last MacBook Pro upgrade a few years ago, so I’m not sure why all the new noise is justified. I have a 15-inch MacBook Pro and couldn’t be happier. It’s dizzyingly fast, light, has decent battery life (which requires some adjustments in preferences here and there), and the Touch Bar and Touch ID are super additions.
The second wave of criticism comes from the media technologists who lambast Apple for not making a touchscreen Mac, and, of course, the many and varied Microsoft Surface notebook ads which compare their touchscreens to Macs that don’t have a touchscreen. As in, all of them.
Apple’s executives have gone a tour of sorts explaining why the Mac would never and should never have a touchscreen. macOS is wrong for touch. Mac users don’t want to reach to navigate. Ad nauseam blah, blah, blah.
Touchscreens are the norm in the 21st century and Apple should put a touchscreen with multi-touch capability into every iMac and every MacBook notebook.
First, it’s the norm, and it’s the fastest growing segment of traditional Windows 10-based PCs, that segment that outsells the Mac by a wide margin. Touchscreen PC sales are up. Mac sales are down.
Second, even the new macOS Bakersfield due later in 2017– with a touch layer to handle touchscreen input– would be trivial for Apple’s famed engineers to employ, and users would be welcome to use it if they like, not use it if they don’t like. That’s much like Touch Bar and Touch ID on the new MacBook Pros. Most of us with recent iPads and iPhones wanted the latter but never considered the former. But it’s there. If we choose to use it, fine. But it’s still there.
What would a touchscreen bring to the Mac?
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a few people use Microsoft’s underpowered and overly expensive Surface Studio; that gargantuan 28-inch touchscreen with an anemic notebook PC attached. Expense and low power be damned, flopping that big screen down on a desktop allows many graphic artists and designers an element of usability that does not come with a Mac. I’ve seen people use giant spreadsheets and draw on the screen. The touch options– multi-touch to Apple’s customers– are there to use. If needed. And there’s not much to learn because everyone already knows how to use multi-touch. Apple brought it to the masses, and Google’s Android– mostly a derivative copy of Apple’s work– followed.
Microsoft has found a niche of PC users who appreciate the detachable notebook keyboards which turn the notebook into a tablet of sorts. No, it’s not an iPad, but it has a place.
Here’s the true proof of the taste of the pudding. Would I buy a new MacBook or iMac if it had a touchscreen?
Would I use it? For certain functions, yes. It has a place in the personal computer industry and Apple and Mac customers are missing out from some misguided dogma left over from the Steve Jobs era.