Is Apple gearing towards touch screen Macs?

Apple has once again held its famous WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in June to the delight of many developers and of course tech aficionados. 

If you’ve never heard of WWDC it is the second biggest Apple event which showcases new versions of iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS and MacOS as well as developer toolkits for products like the iPhone, iPad and Mac. It is also at times a sneak peek into Apple’s plans for the future – although some of this only Apple themselves know and the most we can do is speculate. 

While this year Apple couldn’t host the event in person, the company instead chose to stream their announcements online offering looks at new software they have been creating in California at Apple Park.

One of these announcements was the unveiling of their new MacOS ‘Big Sur’. MacOS Big Sur is due to be released this fall. ‘Big Sur’ brings a host of new features including a redesign, a new Control Centre, all new Safari, messages and maps applications. The new redesign looks as though Apple has taken inspiration from the Mac’s younger siblings- the iPhone and the iPad, or rather iOS and iPadOS. Mac OS Big Sur offers a more uniformed approach with their redesign including a customisable control centre with toggles for brightness, Do Not Disturb and other settings that you can choose. It also has a new notification centre to keep all your notifications and widgets in a single column. Both interfaces are translucent like their iOS counterparts. 

With the newest design being more reminiscent of iOS, it does raise the question – Is Apple gearing towards touch screen Macs?

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple have implemented a touch screen in their Macs as in 2016 Apple released MacBook Pros with a touch bar. These act as a menu bar which adapts to what you’re doing and gives you intuitive app control and shortcuts. Many other laptops out there already offer touchscreens on their laptops and have done for many years – so why hasn’t Apple?

It could go back to a philosophy that the company founder Steve Jobs had when he was alive where he described Touchscreens on a laptop as “Ergonomically Terrible” as you can see in the video below.

This philosophy still maintains with Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook comparing Touch Screen laptops to a Toaster Fridge.

“You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those aren’t going to be pleasing to the user. […] We are not going to that party, but others might from a defensive point of view.”

This could have been put down to a lack of technology at the time and with the iPad Pro becoming ever closer to bridging the gap, maybe now Apple are considering adding touch screens to Mac. This would certainly explain the design choices of the new OSX redesign. Just look at the new control centre, it looks so inviting and begs the user to want to touch the icons. The same goes for the redesigned dock. The Dock icons are now more spread out to suggest room is given to place your finger to tap an app. 

A touchscreen on a Mac would be a welcomed change by many pro users who also spend a lot of time using apps like Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. Having a touch screen would allow greater and finer control over editing. Also, with the new Catalyst features allowing iPhone and iPad apps to be simply brought over to the Mac, it all points to the fact that maybe Apple are finally giving the users what they want – which is a Mac with a touchscreen.