Apple is allegedly working on touchscreen Macs, including a 2025 update to its MacBook Pro notebook that would sport an OLED touchscreen.
- What’s happening? Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is out with a new report claiming Apple will combine a toaster with a refrigerator after all.
- Why care? Apple CEO in 2012: “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know, those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”
- What to do? Go read the full report on Bloomberg.
A touchscreen MacBook Pro with OLED could drop in 2025
Gurman writes that Apple engineers are “actively engaged” in building the company’s first Mac computer with a touchscreen. While a launch hasn’t been finalized, Gurman claims that the first touchscreen Mac will be a MacBook Pro notebook equipped with an OLED display. It’s supposed to have its debut in 2025.
The current work calls for Apple’s first touch-screen MacBook Pro to retain a traditional laptop design, including a standard trackpad and keyboard. But the laptop’s screen would support touch input and gestures—just like an iPhone or iPad. Over time, Apple could expand touch support to more of its Mac models.
That doesn’t mean Apple is working to converge the iPad and the MacBook Pro, Gurman notes. “Even with the reversal on touchscreens, Apple isn’t actively working to combine the iPad and Mac operating systems,” he writes.
Apple toyed with touchscreen Macs in the past
But even if the first touchscreen Macs end up running macOS with bolted-on touch support, it’s pretty easy to imagine a combined operating systems in the future.
In October 2022, someone at a conference asked Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi about a touchscreen Mac, to which he responded, “Who’s to say?” And as evidenced by CNET’s 2016 interview with Federghi above, he revealed that Apple had created prototypes of Mac notebooks featuring a touchscreen in the past.
The toaster-refrigerator dilemma
Gurman is right to call this “a major turnabout” due to a documented history of Apple executives saying a touchscreen Mac would never make sense. Tim Cook likened this to converging a toaster (tablet) and a refrigerator (computer), saying a decade ago that “things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”
You wouldn’t want to put these things together because you end up compromising in both and not pleasing either user. Some people will prefer to own both, and that’s great too. But to make the compromise of convergence, we’re not going to that party.
Before that, Cook’s former boss Steve Jobs said that “touch surfaces want to be vertical.” His argument against a touchscreen laptop was the Gorilla Arm syndrome—the user is forced to extend their arms to hit touch targets, which quickly causes a feeling of heaviness in the arms.
Don’t believe Apple’s lies
After the redesigned iPad Pro launched in 2018, Apple’s marketing began calling the iPad Pro your next “computer,” producing a video embedded below which lays out 5 reasons why a touchscreen tablet, in its mind, is better than a touchscreen notebook.
Of course, Apple is known for secrecy, so it would be foolish to expect executives to admit that the company is indeed working on something.
In the past, the company didn’t shy away from lying about its future moves. Before the iPhone came along, Apple laughed off rumors that it had been building a phone.
On the other hand, it’s also true that Apple’s computers have borrowed many features from the iPad, including fast flash storage, ultra portability and stock apps that look the same across iPadOS and macOS. So, why stop there?