Technology giant Apple is reportedly working on a series of MacBooks with touchscreens, according to a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman citing Apple engineers who are “actively engaged in the project”.
Gurman states that the company is “seriously considering” producing a touchscreen MacBook Pro notebook with an OLED display for the first time that may appear as early as 2025 as part of larger updates to the MacBook Pro. However, a launch hasn’t been confirmed and the plans may be subject to change.
He says this move would defy a long-held company orthodoxy, as Apple has always repeatedly rejected the idea of a touchscreen Mac for more than a decade.
The new report also states that the company plans to switch from LCDs – liquid crystal displays – on its Macs to an organic light-emitting diode or OLED technology that are currently used in 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks. The screen would “support touch input and gestures – just like an iPhone and iPad.”
Further, the first touchscreen Macs are likely to retain the traditional laptop design that includes a standard keyboard and trackpad. It will use macOS, as Apple is not actively working to combine iPadOS and macOS since both operating systems have a separate fan base.
For those unaware, during the launch of the iPad in 2010, Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, strongly disliked the idea of adding touch screens to Macs and said it would be “ergonomically terrible.”
He argued that touch screens do not perform well on laptops and if someone wants a touch interface, the iPad is a better option.
“We’ve done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn’t work. Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical,” Jobs was quoted as saying in 2010.
“It gives 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.”
Over the years, a majority of Apple’s rivals in the laptop market have increasingly added touch screens to their personal computers. For instance, two-in-one laptops with touch displays are available from Dell, Lenovo, and other top laptop manufacturers.
While Apple already dominates the tablet market with the iPad, the move by its competitors to include touchscreens in its laptops has put pressure on the Cupertino giant too to follow the same.
If the company decides to go forward and bring touchscreens to Macs, Gurman says that Apple could eventually expand touch support to more of its Mac models over time. Recently, Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst with TF Securities, tweeted that the company may introduce an OLED MacBook before the end of the year 2024.
Apple has yet to officially comment on the report.