Phil Schiller Thinks Touchscreen Desktops are ‘Absurd’
by Evan Selleck
Instead of implementing touchscreens in the MacBook lineup, for instance, Apple opted to go with the Touch Bar, which sits above the keyboard. It’s an OLED strip, a touchscreen, that allows for contextual options based on the app running. Apple sees it as a best of both worlds situation, and in an interview with Stephen Levy over at Backchannel< Apple’s Phil Schiller sheds a bit more light on the process that got Apple to the Touch Bar. Of course, Apple tested touchscreens for the Mac lineup, both in laptops and desktops, and eventually came to a variety of conclusions, but all stemming from the same result: Touchscreens aren’t the way to go for their computers. Specifically, putting a touchscreen on the MacBook lineup “wouldn’t be enough,” because then there would be a very distinct divide between the laptop and desktop. And putting a touchscreen on a desktop would apparently “become absurd,” because Apple still wants the main point of interaction with its desktop lineup to be the keyboard and mouse (or trackpad). Schiller says that including a touchscreen, while still focusing on the keyboard and mouse, puts too much separation between the points of interaction.
“We think of the whole platform,” he says. “If we were to do Multi-Touch on the screen of the notebook, that wouldn’t be enough — then the desktop wouldn’t work that way.” And touch on the desktop, he says, would be a disaster. “Can you imagine a 27-inch iMac where you have to reach over the air to try to touch and do things? That becomes absurd.” He also explains that such a move would mean totally redesigning the menu bar for fingers, in a way that would ruin the experience for those using pointer devices like the touch or mouse. “You can’t optimize for both,” he says. “It’s the lowest common denominator thinking.”Apple came to this conclusion by testing if touch screens made sense on the Mac. “Our instincts were that it didn’t, but, what the heck, we could be wrong—so our teams worked on that for a number of times over the years,” says Schiller. “We’ve absolutely come away with the belief that it isn’t the right thing to do. Our instincts were correct.”
Of course, ports and USB Type-C was brought up in the interview. Schiller commented on the backlash that Apple received by not including a single “retro port” on their new laptops. He says that Apple is more sure than ever that they’ve made the right decision, and says that “in five years,” the USB Type-C technology will be in its prime. He believes only a smaller number of people will need dongles.
“While I had Schiller, I asked him what Apple made of the furor over the MacBook Pro’s switch to the new Thunderbolt USB-C connectors, without including even one retro port so that people could use their current devices without using a dongle. Schiller sees this as a non-issue. Apple is building this device for the future, he says, and in five years the nascent USB-C technology will be in its prime.
Furthermore, with its speed and versatility (a big advantage is that you can use any of these ports for video, charging, and pretty much anything you’d ever do by connecting with a computer), USB-C is right for now. As far as dongles, he claims that most people won’t need them. For the small number of people that do, ones are available. (Apple, obviously sensitive to the issue, recently cut dongle prices on its store.) “We’re absolutely more sure than ever that we’ve done the right thing.”
The full interview can be read through the source link below.