For years, folks have been hoping Apple would release a Mac with a touchscreen. But Apple’s design chief Jony Ive has signaled it won’t happen.
Speaking to CNET in an interview, Ive, who leads Apple’s design team, said that Apple considered the possibility of adding touchscreens to its Macs “many, many years ago,” but ultimately decided that Apple computers just weren’t suitable places for a display that could accept finger inputs.
“We just didn’t feel that [the Mac] was the right place for that,” Ive told CNET. “It wasn’t particularly useful or an appropriate application of multitouch.”
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Apple (AAPL) last week unveiled a new MacBook Pro that comes with its new Touch Bar technology. The Touch Bar is a fully functional multitouch strip that sits above the MacBook Pro’s keyboard. From there, users can interact with on-screen software, get contextual information based on what they’re working on, and get word suggestions as they type text from the keyboard. It’s available in both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro sizes, and sits next to a new Touch ID sensor that will allow users to unlock the computer and make payments with Apple Pay.
While the feature has been generally well-received, the MacBook Pro still comes with a standard display that doesn’t support multitouch technology. For years, as Windows PC makers have embedded touchscreens on their laptops and desktops, many have called on Apple to respond with its own line of computers sporting touchscreens. Apple has declined those requests, and instead focused on offering touchscreens on its many mobile products, such as iPhone and iPad.
Exactly why Apple has decided against supporting touchscreens in its Macs is unknown. The notoriously secretive Apple has never said why it makes certain feature decisions and even Ive, who acknowledged that he made the decision years ago, wouldn’t say exactly why in his interview with CNET.
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“For a bunch of practical reasons,” he said. “It’s difficult to talk [laughs] without going into a lot of details that puts me starting to talk about things that we are working on. I don’t really want to talk much more about it.”
So, it appears as long as Ive is around—or if the market demand changes and touchscreens become more practical in Macs—those hoping to use their fingers to control macOS will be out of luck.