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Apple tested touchscreen Macs but found it “absurd”

by Brandon Russell | November 14, 2016November 14, 2016 2:30 pm PDT

Apple has always been cagey about the possibility of a touchscreen Mac, and new comments suggest a Surface Pro-like device from the Cupertino company is unlikely to happen.

Speaking to Backchannel, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller called a full touchscreen desktop experience “absurd.”

“We think of the whole platform,” Schiller said. “If we were to do multi-touch on the screen of a notebook, that wouldn’t be enough—then the desktop wouldn’t work that way. Can you imagine a 27-inch iMac where you have to reach over the air to try and do things? That becomes absurd.”

With a portfolio that includes the Surface Pro, Surface Book, and Surface Studio, Microsoft certainly begs to differ. It’s becoming increasingly clear the companies have two very different visions for what the desktop experience should be. That means Apple will stick to the very old school way of the keyboard and mouse.

According to Schiller, making macOS touch-friendly would “ruin the experience for those using pointer devices.”

“You can’t optimize for both,” Schiller said. “It’s the lowest common denominator.”

Apple previously tested full touchscreen Macs

Apple could always change its mind but it sounds as though the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is the closest thing Apple fans will get to a Surface Pro. You either buy the company’s latest MacBook Pro or you buy an iPad Pro; don’t expect Apple to combine the two.

Schiller told Backchannel that Apple engineers have tested full touchscreen Macs in the past but concluded, “It isn’t the right thing to do.” Schiller said, “Our instincts were correct.”

It’s unclear which company’s approach will win out in the long run. However, recent data suggests Apple’s new MacBook Pro is already selling like hot cakes, so perhaps Schiller’s instincts were right after all.

Backchannel Macrumors

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...