Apple does not make a touchscreen Mac but it should. Why? The only bright spot among traditional personal computer makers is the hybrid notebook with a detachable touchscreen. That is what sells these days and every PC maker of note has a line of them. Except Apple.
Ross Rubin on CES (Consumer Electronics Show) of the recent past:
After the launch of the iPad in 2009, the following CES events were awash in so many tablets that you couldn’t elbow your way around an aisle corner without bumping into one.
Yes, tablets were all the rage for a few years and Apple sold over 200-million of them before falling on hard times as large screen smartphones and thinner and lighter notebooks took over.
What’s the latest? Convertibles.
The iPad’s initial rocket launch spurred Microsoft to create an isolated tablet experience within Windows 8, one it has integrated much better into Windows 10. Convertibles like the Lenovo Yoga that allow the keyboard to fold behind the screen create extra thickness make for a thicker, heavier tablet experience. Detachables like the Surface Book that allow the screen to separate from the body need heavier keyboard bases or Surface Pro-like kickstands to counter the electronics — primarily the battery — that must live in the screen for independent operation.
These are the PCs that are growing in number, thanks to lower prices– some for less than $200– and more power, including Dell’s XPS 13, Lenovo’s X1 Yoga, the HP Envy X2, Lenovo Thinkpad X1– and a new line of Microsoft Surface PCs. Each is different from the other but the common ground is a touchscreen, either detachable or foldable.
Also in the mix are Chromebooks that run Android apps, and ARM-powered Windows 10 devices with LTE cellular data capability built-in and with all day battery life.
The odd duck out is Apple and the Mac.
Wil Gomez writing in Mac360:
On the surface (pun intended), the Mac might seem to have stagnated while newer Windows 10-based notebooks with more horsepower, better screens, lighter hardware, better specifications– and touchscreens– might be creating a new lease on life for traditional PCs while the Mac languishes. I can and have made that argument.
Apple seems to have reached a point where the company is not willing to take a risk on a product that just doesn’t have the revenue and profits of iPhone.
What if the seeming lack of innovation on the Mac front is because Apple is working on the next generation of traditional notebooks? I’m thinking of an ARM-based, Apple-designed CPU in a notebook design with a detachable Retina display. When detached, it’s an iPad. When attached, it’s a Mac. Even better if the screens could overlap and run both macOS Bakersfield and iOS 12 apps on the same screen in Mac mode.
In other words, a touchscreen Mac.
I understand the argument against a Mac with a touchscreen. Gorilla arm. Tablets are hand and finger centric. Notebooks are keyboard and trackpad centric. How each is used remains notably different. But detachable screen notebooks which turn into tablets have come into vogue the past year. They are thinner, lighter, more power, and the Chromebook models which run Android smartphone applications are even more attractive than Windows 10 on a touchscreen tablet.
PC makers have managed to create a device that does decent duty at both ends of the spectrum– traditional notebook PC with keyboard and trackpad, and a detachable tablet device. In other words, a Mac with a detachable iPad.
Is such a device possible?
A 10.5-inch iPad Pro weighs in at about one pound while the 12.9-inch model comes in at 1.5-pounds. An entry-level MacBook notebook weighs about two pounds. Could Apple build a device that works as a Mac in the keyboard and trackpad but uses an iPad screen? And, once detached, the screen becomes an iPad?
Likely? Also no. Why? Apple makes money on the Mac and the iPad. That means two sales on two devices instead of one.