Rumors have been circulating that Apple is looking to develop a touchscreen MacBook. Ever since the Cupertino company’s flagship laptop computer was first launched in May 2006, it has used a standard, non-touchscreen display with a built-in keyboard and trackpad. Considering that there are dozens if not hundreds of other laptops on the market that do feature a touchscreen interface, many people believed that it was only a matter of time until Apple released a touchscreen MacBook. According to Apple, however, the company has no plans to develop a touchscreen MacBook.
When speaking to Wired, Apple executive Craig Federighi rejected the idea of a touchscreen MacBook. Federighi explained that the MacBook is specifically designed so that the user’s hands rest on a surface. If Apple incorporated a touchscreen interface into its laptop, users would have to lift their arm to perform touch commands, thereby causing fatigue.
“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,” said Federighi in the interview.
Of course, Apple has used similar touch-based technology in its MacBook. The latest generation of the MacBook Pro, for example, features a Touch Bar instead of a row of physical keys on the keyboard. This feature isn’t without a cost, though. Adding the Touch Bar increases the MacBook Pro’s cost by $300. And considering that the MacBook Pro already starts at $1,299, many consumers and business owners simply aren’t willing to pay the steep price for a Touch Bar-equipped laptop.
On the other hand, there are certain benefits to using a touchscreen interface in a laptop’s design. Hybrid tablet-laptop computers, for example, rely on a touchscreen interface when the device is used as a tablet. The user can detach the touchscreen display from the keyboard to use the device as a tablet computer. Additionally, the risk of failure is greater with traditional keyboards than touchscreen interfaces. If food or debris becomes lodged underneath the keys, it may prevent the laptop from registering key presses.
Does this mean that touchscreen laptops will fade from popularity? Probably not, as the marked is currently flooded with touchscreen laptops, nearly all of which run either Google’s Android operating system or Microsoft’s Windows operations. Unfortunately, though, you won’t see a touchscreen MacBook — at least not in the near future.