Well, this is different. This morning, Microsoft VP of Surface Marketing Brian Hall sent out a couple of tweets that are sure to rile some feathers. We're not sure if this is more interesting from a Microsoft perspective or an Apple perspective, but basically, he called Apple out and claimed that they simply must be making a detachable touchscreen Mac.
Here are his tweets:
2/2 @IsForAt they would not have planned just the touchbar. buy a Surface now & let's let the games really begin when they get (real) touch
— Brian Hall (@IsForAt) October 28, 2016
Now, as some other Twitter users pointed out, Apple already has the iPad Pro with its dedicated keyboard, and so that's a detachable device of sorts. It's not a Mac, however, and it runs iOS and so full-blown PC application support is limited. Of course, Apple could always make an iMac competitor to the Surface Studio, but Hall seems to think it's definitely a detachable device, and that implies mobile.
This writer wonders if Apple would be able to pull this off anytime soon. Windows 2-in-1's, including the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, aren't just a touchscreen slapped on Windows 7. Rather, Microsoft has engaged in a years-long effort to meld Windows into an operating system that can support touch. Windows 10 is made for touch to a certain extent, and the Universal Windows Platform is made to support touch-centric applications.
MacOS, on the other hand, would be just as bad with touch as Windows 7. Microsoft already tried to paste direct input onto old-style Windows with their previous Tablet PC initiative, and that needed a pen to interact with the tiny screen elements. Windows 8/8.1/10 changed all that, making Windows into something that could work with the relatively fat-fingered capacitive touchscreens that are much more responsive and natural but that aren't terribly precise.
We're not saying Hall is wrong here, and that Apple has no plans to ever utilize touchscreens in a MacOS device. We just think it will take some significant steps to turn MacOS into an OS that works well with touch, probably requiring the long-rumored merging of iOS and MacOS. We're not seeing that today, however, and we suspect that if Apple does get in this game, it's not going to be anytime soon.
However, this is Microsoft's VP of Surface Marketing we're talking about, and he certainly spends a good portion of his time analyzing the market and trying to predict where Apple is heading. If he says it's possible, we're not going to argue with him. At the very least, it's good to know that Microsoft isn't making the mistake of being complacent in the face of what is a serious competitor in Apple.