I’m going to keep this one short.
I keep trying to touch my MacBook Air’s screen.
The novelty hasn’t worn off
When I offered my first thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, I noted that the touchscreen was a particular highlight.
It still is. Whenever I use that laptop (which is most days now), I reach out and touch its screen to interact with the user interface on Edge, Trello, Teams, and several other apps. It has become second nature and I barely notice I’m doing it – until I go back to my Mac.
I don’t want to labour the point today, because I’ve written about this extensively in the aforementioned first impressions review of the Surface Laptop 4. But I can’t help myself, because I think Apple is seriously missing a trick here and it annoys me that they appear too Apple to do anything about it.
The argument for touchscreen Macs
Just do it, Tim.
People will touch the screen when it feels appropriate to do so and continue to use the trackpad and keyboard 95% of the time.
That’s it. That’s my argument.
Adding a touchscreen to a laptop doesn’t impact its performance or make it harder to use. It simply adds a feature that some people will enjoy using.
Apple doesn’t even need to make any changes to macOS. Although, ironically, there have already been a number of finger-friendly changes made to Control Centre. That volume slider looks spookily touchable, doesn’t it?
The bits of macOS that aren’t touch-friendly will be left alone by most users, although I’d argue that they’d probably still manage to hit the target if they decided to give it a go. In those instances, it won’t be as elegant, accurate, or as natural as iPadOS, but that doesn’t matter.
The biggest thing I miss when switching from Windows back to macOS is the touchscreen. It feels like one of the most natural ways of interacting with my laptop has been needlessly stripped away.
Will Apple do it?
This is Apple, remember. They’ll undoubtedly argue that they have the user’s best interests at heart for not doing so, and reasons why adding a touchscreen would negatively impact the experience of owning a Mac.
Unfortunately, that attitude alienates large sections of their potential market. A case in point: my girlfriend has been using my MacBook Air recently, and her fingerprints are all over the screen.
“Why can’t I touch it like my work laptop?” she asked the other day.
I admire how protective Apple is over the user experience offered on each of its devices. But, sometimes, that spills over into belligerence.
How long are they going to leave it until we finally have Face ID on Macs? When will the iPhone and AirPods Max get USB-C? When will they redesign the Magic Mouse? When will the Apple TV remote be available on Find My?
When will we get touchscreen Macs?
Do you agree?
This topic fascinates me. So, go for it – tell me in the comments why we do or don’t need touchscreen Macs.