February 1, 2023

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Why Apple might finally embrace touchscreen laptops


Over the years, Apple has added touchscreens to nearly every computer imaginable, from phones and tablets to smartwatches, but has held off on bringing the feature to its Mac product lineā€”even as a long list of competitors have done so with laptops and tablets. their desktop computer. .

In 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs described Touch screen computer concept – permission An emerging trend among the company’s competitors – such as “Ergonomically awesome. Two years later, CEO Tim Cook Repeat the feelings during the earnings call. “Raising your arm up to poke the screen is very stressful,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said in 2018.

But now, Apple may be rethinking its stance. Wednesday, bloomberg mentioned Apple engineers are developing a touchscreen for the MacBook Pro with an expected launch date of 2025, citing unknown sources familiar with the matter. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While it’s unclear if a touchscreen laptop will ever see the light of day, introducing the product could accomplish two important things for Apple: adapt to changing consumer expectations and outperform sales of its Mac product line.

Microsoft, HP, Samsung, and Dell have long offered computers with touch screens, and more consumers are coming to expect that they can tap on a computer screen just like they do on their phones. (If you have a MacBook, you may have already had the experience of a friend or relative reflexively touching your screen thinking it was going to do something.)

At the same time, interest in Apple computers is on the rise, thanks in part to Apple’s inclusion of its new in-house processor that has improved battery life and delivered better performance. Mac revenue increased 14% in Apple’s fiscal year 2022 to $40.1 billion. On the other hand, Apple’s iPad business saw sales decline from the previous year.

Apple previously kept the touchscreen out of its Mac lineup to prevent it from cannibalizing iPad sales. Instead, Apple added a narrow Touch Bar to its MacBook keyboard to provide easy access to shortcuts, emoji, and other features, but in the end I got rid of the tool After it was panned by users and critics.

Now, however, Apple can use a touchscreen for the Mac to motivate consumers to upgrade their computers and keep the Mac sales momentum growing.

Thanks to new chips, battery life and thinner design, the lines are increasingly blurring between high-end iPads and Macs, said David McQueen, director of research at ABI Research. He noted that when you connect the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to the Magic Keyboard with an Apple Pencil, “there’s not much to differentiate it from the laptop experience.”

“The market has embraced laptop-tablet 2-in-1 hybrids, and Apple may now see the rationale for adding one to its arsenal,” he added.

Apple, for its part, has softened its stance on touchscreen Macs lately. When asked at a conference last fall if Apple would add a touchscreen to Macs, Federighi answered: “Who says?”

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