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Jony Ive decided against Mac touchscreens “many years ago”

by Todd Haselton | October 31, 2016October 31, 2016 6:00 am PST

If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to wonder why Apple isn’t including touchscreens on any of its macOS computers. The company opted to adopt a small “Touch Bar” — an OLED touchscreen above the keyboard — in its new MacBook Pro computers. It turns out, Apple’s head of design, Jony Ive, is totally against the idea of adding touchscreen to Macs, and he has been for a long time.

“When we were exploring multitouch many, many years ago, we were trying to understand the appropriate application and opportunities for [it],” Ive told CNET in a recent interview. “We just didn’t feel that [the Mac] was the right place for that … It wasn’t particularly useful or an appropriate application of multitouch.”

It’s not that Apple has something against multitouch, of course. Its iOS devices, including the iPad and iPhone, take advantage of the technology. Indeed, introductions of new products like the Apple Pencil continue to push what those devices are capable of, too. It’s just that Apple doesn’t want full touch displays on its computers.

Don’t hold your breath for touchscreen Macs

The bizarre thing about all of this is that Ive didn’t really provide CNET with a real reason why. We know through patents that Apple has considered using gestures for interaction with computers, so it’s possible that’s a route it takes in the future, but that’s just speculation on our part. When CNET asked why Apple doesn’t have any plans, Ive simply said: “For a bunch of practical reasons. It’s difficult to talk without going into a lot of details that puts me starting to talk about things that we are working on. I don’t really want to talk much more about it.”

In other words, Apple has found what it thinks is a better solution than touchscreens. Is it the expansion of the Touch Bar to peripherals such as external keyboards? Gesture input? We don’t know, but Ive promises that the team is working on refined solutions.

The takeaway? Don’t hold your breath for Macs of any kind, whether it’s a MacBook, a MacBook Air or an iMac, with touchscreen support. If you want that, you may want to check out the latest Windows 10 computers instead.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...