Should Apple Offer Touchscreen MacBooks?

AppleGazette’s Sean Melrose says that Steve Jobs could at times get things wrong, a case in point being his stance on what would become the iPad mini, which less than a year since its release, accounts for 55% of iPads sold.

Melrose observes that Tim Cook and the late Steve Jobs before him have contended that the idea of a touchscreen MacBook is simply not feasible, that their objections make logical sense (notably that Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical), and that the obvious ergonomic problems would be just the beginning.

However, touch surfaces don’t absolutely have to be vertical in a laptop PC device. EG: Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga (a notebook that folds back on itself to become a tablet) and the Microsoft Surface Pro (a touchscreen PC with a kick stand and detachable keyboard), and it’s not a fanciful reach to speculate that Apple could improve on either concept.

Melrose says that regardless of wether Apple changes its stance on touchscreen MacBooks, you can’t deny the fact that people are reaching out to try and touch their laptop screens. SInce getting an iPad, your editor has caught himself occasionally absent-mindedly reaching to touch a laptop sceen.

I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I’m not a big touchscren fan, but as long as I can still use a touchpad and/or mouse, having a touchscreen on a laptop would be no hardship, especially on a hybrid machine like the Yoga that allows it to morph into a quasi-tablet running a desktop OS. With touchscreens becoming ubiquitous on Intel Ultrabooks, whether it makes logical sense or not, if Apple MacBooks don’t get touchscreens there will be a perception that Ultrabooks offer a marquee feature that MacBooks don’t.

As with the Mac OS in the ’80s and ’90s, Apple is objectively right, but being right doesn’t always yield the better market prospects.

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