Touchscreen Laptops And Macs? Apple Does An About-Face
Apple may finally manufacture touchscreen laptops for a purported 2025 release.
That would be, as Bloomberg puts it, a “major turnabout” considering how the company’s most known co-founder found the idea unsuitable for Macs.
It could be recalled, back in October 2010 - nearly a year before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer - during the launch of the MacBook Air and Mac OS X, Steve Jobs (1955-2011) rejected it.
For Jobs, as quoted by Insider, incorporating the touchscreen technology to Macs would be “ergonomically terrible.”
Yes. Not only uncomfortable but uncomfortably terrible, too. Take it from the revolutionary Steve Jobs.
COPYRIGHT_NOVA: Published on https://www.novabach.com/i/touchscreen-laptops/ by Daniel Barrett on 2023-01-17T01:43:50.339Z
The then-55-year-old Apple CEO and co-founder believed that not even the newly launched 0.68-inch-thick MacBook Air, which he dubbed as “the future of notebooks,” should possess such technology.
That flat refusal happened 12 years ago.
This 2023, however, Apple, now under the reins of Tim Cook, the chief-operating-officer-turned-CEO, seems to be humming a different tune.
So, will the public eventually line up for the reportedly upcoming Apple touchscreen laptops?
World Business Watch: Apple reportedly working on touchscreen Macs | International News | WION
More than a decade ago, touchscreen laptops were a no-no for Apple.
Below is the 2010 opinion of Steve Jobs about touchscreen technology, if ever applied to laptops (or at least to those ones from Apple):
It gives [a] great demo but after a short period of time, you start to fatigue and after an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off. It doesn’t work. It’s ergonomically terrible.
- Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
Jobs thought comfort and user experience would be compromised as the hand would eventually get exhausted.
Even his successor, Tim Cook, didn’t also favor it, reported Insider in 2012.
Jay Yarow, the former Business Insider executive editor behind the news report, wrote that Cook was “skeptical” about the idea.
When Cook announced Apple’s fourth quarter earnings for fiscal 2012, he clarified once more the company’s stand regarding touchscreen laptops.
He said that touchscreen technology plus a laptop with keyboard would be akin to combining “a toaster and a refrigerator.”
Possible but not acceptable to all consumers.
Speaking of acceptance, in the succeeding years, consumers patronized touchscreen laptops from the likes of Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung.
Though it appeared to be unfazed, Apple likely took note of it.
Come the third week of 2023, the company’s prized engineers, reported Bloomberg, have been “actively engaged” in it since Apple’s reported approval of the once spurned idea.
Still, an unnamed Apple representative approached by Bloomberg decided not to comment about the matter.
What’s certain, however, or at least could be expected, is that the display of the upcoming updated version of the MacBook Pro will be new.
It will have OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology as replacement to the current LCDs (liquid crystal displays).
There might not be a strong clamor for touchscreen laptops, but several ones are buying them.
Tech website MakeUseOf (MUO) offers five advantages of this kind of laptop, namely:
1. A better screen
Touchscreen technology requires better hardware. Therefore, one can expect the quality of the screen to be higher than usual in terms of, among others, color (range and accuracy) and brightness.
2. An easier navigation
There will be more flexibility and improved efficiency on the interface of touchscreen laptops.
3. Work well for art/design-related tasks
Compared to using a mouse, doing illustrations and sketches and other similar activities and editing on a touchscreen become easier.
4. Rescue users when keyboard malfunctions
In case the built-in keyboard starts to have problems for whatever reason, the overall function of touchscreen laptops will not be affected.
5. Note taking becomes a breeze
This one becomes truer if the laptop supports a stylus. Students dealing with several math-related subjects will benefit a lot from this one.
One of utmost concerns mentioned by MUO when it comes to the disadvantages of touchscreen laptops is the physical discomfort (Steve Jobs had a point after all).
The other issues are price (could be more expensive) and weight (could get a bit heavier).
Not only stunning displays, the best touchscreen laptops this 2023 promise a longer battery life, too.
Below are the ones recommended by tech news website ZDNet:
a. Dell XPS 15 (9520)
- ZDNet’s top pick
- 15.6-inch OLED display
- $1,800 dollars
b. Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (for Chromebook fans)
- 13.3-inch OLED display
- $391 dollars
c. HP Spectre x360 (also a convertible laptop)
- Intel Core i5 or i7 processor
- $864 dollars
d. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (most ideal choice for creatives)
- 14.4-inch display
- $1,600 dollars
e. Google Pixelbook Go (under budget-friendly category)
- 13.3-inch LCD display
- $649 dollars
The table below shows touchscreen laptops that cost no more than a thousand bucks (prices taken from Amazon), as compiled by Laptopified.com:
|Brand & Model||Price (in U.S. Dollars)|
|Acer Spin 3||$793.70|
|Dell Inspiron 15 5000||$888.49|
|HP Envy x360 (2-in-1 convertible)||$799.99 (per U.S. News)|
|Lenovo Flex 14 (2-in-1 convertible)||$759.99|
|Samsung Chromebook Plus V2||$545|
For those with a tight budget, here are some of the touchscreen laptops available at Best Buy and priced below five hundred bucks:
|Brand & Model||Price (in U.S. Dollars)|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 514||$429|
|ASUS 2-in-1 Chromebook||$310.99|
|Dell Inspiron 3511||$429.99|
|Lenovo Chromebook 3||$229.00|
|Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2||$369.00|
According to the technology site MakeUseOf, the battery of touchscreen laptops tends to drain faster compared to the battery of non-touch laptops.
Per Nelson-Miller, a Los Angeles-based electronics manufacturing, and design company, touchscreen laptops are more responsive and durable. In addition, they provide a better user experience.
On its website, American display manufacturer Nauticomp identified the following as five of the top touchscreen technologies that have been made available since 2021:
- infrared touchscreen
- resistive touchscreen
- projected capacitive touchscreen
- Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW)
- surface capacitive touchscreen
The visually appealing touchscreen laptops may soon be sold under the prestigious Apple brand.
If Steve Jobs thought that such won’t work, based on several news reports, Tim Cook will make it work for Macs this time.
Knowing how innovative Apple can get, their future version of touchscreen laptops could be worth the wait.