As an aside to today’s release of new Retina iMacs, Apple granted an atypically personnel-driven set of interviews to Steven Levy of Backchannel. Levy spoke with Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller and several members of the company’s Input Design Lab, notably discussing several topics of interest to Mac and iPad users:

  • Although it continues to seek improved screen performance, Apple considered and passed on using Quantum Dot screen technology, which some have called a natural successor to the IPS LED screens found in most Apple products. According to Levy, “Apple rejected [Quantum Dot] because it required cadmium, a toxic element,” but developed an LED alternative “that got [Apple] everything [it] wanted without the environmental downside.”
  • Apple is continuing to define a space for Macs, particularly desktop computers, in an increasingly phone- and tablet-dominated world. Pointing out that Tim Cook last month called the iPad “the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing,” Levy asked Schiller why desktop Macs should continue to exist. According to Schiller, the desktop’s “job is to challenge what we think a computer can do and do things that no computer has ever done before, be more and more powerful and capable so that we need a desktop because of its capabilities. Because if all it’s doing is competing with the notebook and being thinner and lighter, then it doesn’t need to be.” Big-canvased Retina iMacs achieve that, the article suggests.
  • Schiller reaffirmed Apple’s previously-stated position that OS X and iOS are not being merged together, despite increasing similarities between the two operating systems. “iOS from its start has been designed as a multi-touch experience… Mac OS has been designed from day one for an indirect pointing mechanism. These two worlds are different on purpose, and that’s a good thing — we can optimize around the best experience for each and not try to mesh them together into a least-common-denominator experience.”
  • Acknowledging Microsoft’s announcement of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book devices last week, Schiller suggested that Microsoft’s push into hardware has confirmed Apple’s longstanding hardware and software development approach as correct. “It’s amazing that one event validated so much of what Apple does, and held us up as the gold standard. And that’s flattering.”

The full article, discussing the new P3 Retina displays and Magic accessory details such as the runners on the bottom of the Magic Mouse 2, is available here.

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