Here’s why you don’t want Apple to make a “touchscreen laptop”.

The macOS user interface is not designed for touching. Mercifully.

Everything on your computer’s screen is designed to be navigated by an extremely precise, tiny little digital arrow, also called a pointer or cursor. If you’re using something as imprecise as your grubby fingers or even a stylus to touch elements of the interface, you’re gonna have a bad time. When touch targets are too small, it makes for a frustrating experience. You’ll frequently find yourself tapping the wrong button or just nothing at all by accident.

“EEEH BUT THEY’LL REDESIGN THINGS TO MAKE THEM EASIER FOR TOUCH EVENTUALLY.” No, they won’t. Because any redesign like that would really suck for the vast majority of us who like using the tiny little digital arrow. Microsoft already tried this exact approach in Windows 8 and ended up walking a lot of it back.

No one has yet even come close to designing a compelling touchscreen laptop computer. Because there is absolutely no compelling use case for such a computer.

They couldn’t even get models to pretend like they enjoyed staring down at that dinky little wrong-angle screen (Image Credit: Lenovo)

The phrase “solution looking for a problem” comes to mind when I think of touchscreen laptops. The ones that fold into a tent are the only real innovation in the touchscreen laptop space and there is literally no other way to describe them than that phrase.

“Oh sure, it’ll be useful for… presentations.” Yeah, all those presentations I do where there’s no projector and people are gathered around a tiny screen. Compelling af. And thank God I had this cool folding tablet thing instead of a laptop, that keyboard out in front of the screen really would’ve got in the way of people seeing the presentation.

Your fingers are gross and there’s enough dirt on your screen already.

Do you really need more smudges on your screen?

It’s not even a comfortable way to work.

This looked way cool 20 years ago. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Touch screens on laptops have been technically possible for many years. Probably since about when the very first laptop showed up. What’s held up their adoption for years is the fact that they are annoying and tiring to use. Put your hands up close to your laptop screen and try some Minority Report style maneuvering right now. Fun, right? Now do it for five minutes. Really hold ’em up there. Pretend like you’re finger painting and stuff. Hopefully that will be enough to illustrate my point that it’s not comfortable to hold up your arms all day.

If you really do want this thing, it actually already exists. It’s called an iPad.

Almost everything folks want from a “touchscreen laptop” is available right now, as an iPad.

  • Interface that is “touch/stylus first” but designed for full trackpad/mouse/keyboard support
  • Attachable keyboard/trackpad combo
  • Support for external mouse/trackpad/keyboard
  • Most Adobe/Microsoft Apps available
  • USB-C
  • External Hard Drives
  • File Management
  • Desktop-class processor/graphics card

In conclusion, the only people who really want an actual touchscreen laptop are people who have never used one. Touchscreen laptops are terrible because they are a flawed idea from the ground up and you should stop saying that you want one.