Apple execs on why it's Touch Bar over touchscreen with MacBook Pro

In an interview with CNET, a trio of execs outline why the Touch Bar is better on the MacBook Pro than a touchscreen. Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive doesn't find a touchscreen on a laptop useful.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

The MacBook Pro gets a Touch Bar that offers two-handed multi-touch.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, software lead Craig Federighi, and designer Jony Ive explained why you won't get a touchscreen MacBook anytime soon (and probably ever).

Simply put, you don't need one. In an exclusive interview with CNET, the Apple execs outlined their thinking about the new MacBook Pro. A touchscreen Mac isn't "particularly useful", Ive told CNET. In fact, a touchscreen on a Mac could even be a burden. So, the MacBook Pro gets a Touch Bar that offers two-handed multi-touch.

Ive's take is that trying to do the touchscreen-and-laptop design perfectly can actually undermine both concepts.

I find Apple's take fascinating given the popularity of 2-in-1 devices in the PC market, as well as Microsoft's approach to the Surface, which is all in with touchscreens.

However, it's hard to argue that Apple's Touch Bar highlighted some key uses. Meanwhile, power software partners such as Adobe and Microsoft are on board.

History will ultimately be the judge. After all, Apple thought phablets were insane until just a few years ago. Macs could get a touchscreen at some point, but Apple will need something to convince execs that such a feature matters.

As a user of a three 2-in-1 devices, my behavior is the following:

  • I primarily use the mouse and keyboard, while the touchscreen gets little if any love.
  • When I do use the touchscreen, the experience can feel clunky at times.
  • I watch my kids utilize the touchscreen more than I do -- but not by much.
  • Tablets that are purely touchscreen-based never get a keyboard accessory.

In many ways, I prove Apple's point. Nevertheless, a 2-in-1 is appealing to me.

Bottom line: CNET's interview sheds light on the Apple's thinking about touchscreens. Rest assured that the MacBook Pro will have strong sales because the Touch Bar is unique.

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