Whenever there's talk of a touchscreen Mac, Steve Jobs is invoked. That's because he famously said that touchscreens on computers were rubbish because they would give you sore arms – although the context, that he said it when he was telling people to buy the original iPad rather than touchscreen Windows PCs, tends to be forgotten. I think Steve Jobs was right, but only if you think of Macs in their current shape.
Jobs' words are back in the spotlight because Mark Gurman of Bloomberg says Apple is finally considering making touchscreen Macs. The project is in its very early stages and may not result in a shipping product, but I hope it does – and I hope it's more ambitious than the touchscreen MacBook Gurman says Apple's engineers are working on.
At the moment, Apple has been concentrating on making its bigger iPads more Mac-like. But I'm not sure that works. I'd much rather have a MacBook that turns into something akin to an iPad than an iPad Pro that's almost like, but not as good as, a MacBook, and that only becomes one via expensive accessories.
Reach out and touch faith
I agree with Jobs that vertical touchscreens are horrible for long periods. But as a long-term Mac and iPad user, the latter since the very first generation, I can think of countless ways in which a touchscreen 2-in-1 Mac would be brilliant.
I've been covering Mac rumours for a terrifyingly long time, and Apple keeps teasing us with patents for transforming laptops. Sadly none of them have made it into production, but I'd really like one anyway. It'd be the perfect laptop for me.
There's portability – using a Mac in iPad mode would be much easier on a bus, train or plane, or on the sofa. And there's flexibility. For example, My MacBook Pro sits at the side when I use Logic Pro on my large widescreen monitor. Wouldn't it be great if I could fold it over and use its touchscreen to control the mixer for my tracks, or to use it to scrub through video in Final Cut, or to do any of the other things in creative apps that are more fun and intuitive when they're tactile?
Maybe I'm in a minority here, because I'm one of the few people who really likes the Touch Bar. But whenever I see a genuinely innovative device such as Asus's Zenbook Pro 14 Duo, or just a really well thought out one such as any of the best 2-in-1 laptops, I can't help thinking: I wish my Mac did that.