Update: Patently Apple spotted an Apple patent published the day after this piece, in which the company shows a drawing of a touchscreen MacBook. No conclusions should be drawn from this, however: the patent is a generic touchscreen one, and it’s common for Apple to cover all the bases when it comes to protecting potential applications of its inventions.
With Apple touting the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard as a full replacement for a PC, the company seems to have moved on from Steve Jobs’ view that touchscreens are not meant to be vertical. We thought it would be interesting, then, to test interest in the idea of a touchscreen MacBook Pro.
Jobs was clearly right that a touchscreen as a primary interface to a laptop would be a horrible experience, so we were careful to stress that we were looking at a MacBook Pro that retained the trackpad as the primary means of control. What we found in both poll and comments was a very interesting split in views …
To my surprise, the winning option – albeit by a fairly small margin – was ‘love it,’ at 27% of readers. Adding in those who liked it brings the total in favor to more than a third.
I would certainly welcome it. My work computer is a Windows 10 Lenovo Yoga and I use the touchscreen all the time. To either scroll quickly, choose something with a single touch or be able to show somebody something. I find it quite useful. When I then go back to my MacBook Pro at home I find myself constantly touching the screen out of habit to do something.
However, almost a fifth were actively opposed to the idea. The main reason given was that Apple would have to compromise the design of macOS to make it usable on a touchscreen. Commenters pointed to Windows 10 as an example of why they thought this would be a terrible experience.
Don’t you see how ugly is Windows 10 with gigantic UI elements for better touch?
A quarter of those polled simply couldn’t see the point, stating that a trackpad was already a perfectly adequate touch device.
The trackpad is a touch input method, it is just not housed inside a Retina display.
Others were indifferent, but concerned about the impact on the cost of the machines.
I don’t need the iPad features so I don’t want the Macbook Pro to add those at additional cost to me.
Finally, one reader stated that he already had a touchscreen Mac: he was using a Surface Pro as a hackintosh.