Andrew Griffin for The Independent, discussing new Macs and Big Sur with Apple’s Craig Federighi:
But it’s still the case that fans repeatedly speculated that Apple was going to do something more profound to the Mac: turn it into something like the iPad, for instance, or use the transition to radically alter how its laptops work. Apple has repeatedly insisted that it thinks the laptop form factor is valuable and distinct from touchscreens like the iPad, but people haven’t always believed them.
This has led to ideas including the theory that Apple had redesigned its new macOS to make way for touch screen Macs. The Big Sur aesthetic borrows from the iPhone and iPad – buttons are bigger, with more space, which numerous commentators pointed out would make them perfect for manipulating with your fingers – but not because of some secret plan to change the way the Mac works, Federighi says.
“I gotta tell you when we released Big Sur, and these articles started coming out saying, ‘Oh my God, look, Apple is preparing for touch’. I was thinking like, ‘Whoa, why?’
“We had designed and evolved the look for macOS in a way that felt most comfortable and natural to us, not remotely considering something about touch.”
I have one question for Federighi: After a long day of using your iPad and Magic Keyboard, have you ever sat down at your MacBook and tried to tap a browser link or swipe to switch apps? Because I have, repeatedly.
Here’s what I want to say to the nay-sayers of touchscreens on MacBooks:
If you don’t want a touchscreen, that’s fine, you can choose not to use it. But for those of us who want a touchscreen, if there isn’t one we can’t choose to use it! Telling someone to “go buy an iPad” is a dick reply — I already have an iPad! I want a touchscreen on my Mac, and wanting a feature that provides greater usability and accessibility shouldn’t be disparaged by other Mac users.
While Federighi never says “absolutely never going to happen” he does play the “shocked and surprised” card really well. But despite what Federighi said in the interview, I can’t believe that Apple isn’t actively sourcing and experimenting with Mac touchscreens. They have the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, so their “ergonomics” argument is lost. And Big Sur is another nail in that coffin, as they’ve introduced the oversized control center, larger menus, and bigger buttons. And now we’re supposed to believe we’ll be using iOS apps on our Macs with a trackpad? C’mon.
But if Federighi isn’t playing a classic Apple bluff here, and they really have no plans for touchscreen Macs? Well, what’s that line that John Gruber likes to use? Oh right, then I’d say Apple is “skating to where the puck was“.