Apple reiterates why touchscreens won’t be coming to Macs anytime soon

Apple MacBook-review-trackpad
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

While Apple announced that iOS apps will be coming to the Mac late next year, users hoping that Apple would release a MacOS-powered laptop, convertible, or tablet with a touchscreen shouldn’t hold their breath. The closest thing you’ll get to a touchscreen on Apple’s MacOS experience is the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, and that will be the case for the foreseeable future.

“We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,” Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, said in an interview with Wired.

Apple used the same justification in the past for reserving touchscreens for iPads, highlighting that MacOS is designed around the keyboard and mouse experience. However, when Federighi announced that iOS apps will be allowed to run on MacOS — provided that developers make some minimal adjustments to the code of the apps — consumers watching the WWDC keynote earlier this week were hopeful that Apple had softened its position. That appears not to be the case after examining the keynote message.

In bringing  iOS apps to MacOS Mojave, Federeghi said during his WWDC presentation that Apple has “adapted them to specific Mac behaviors, like use of trackpads and mouse, windows resizing, and the integration of copy and paste and drag and drop into the system services on the Mac.” There was no mention of adding touchscreen support to make iOS apps work better on a Mac. Rather, developers must tweak these iOS apps to account for the different input interactions on a Mac.

“iOS and MacOS devices are different,” Federighi said. “The user interfaces are different.” Apple’s position is starkly different than the approach that rivals Google and Microsoft are taking. As an adopter of the touchscreen on its Surface line of PCs, Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform, or UWP, apps work across multiple form factors — Xbox, PCs, laptops, and phones — and can be used with touch or manipulated with a keyboard and mouse. Similarly, Google’s Pixelbook also comes with a touchscreen, which comes in handy when running Android apps on Chrome OS.

And even though Google’s Android platform allows users to attach either a wired or wireless mouse to control the operating system, you cannot do the same with iOS, further highlighting the different approaches that Apple takes for its operating systems. On iOS, you can attach a keyboard, but you cannot use a mouse. This makes tasks like typing easier on an iPad Pro, but navigating iOS can still feel tiresome.


Need a new tablet? The best iPad deals for January 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.