Apple is one of the largest manufacturers and sellers of touch screen computers in the world. These computers aren’t laptops or all-in-one desktops like the ones you’ll find selling like hotcakes with Windows 8 pre-installed. They’re tablets like the iPad and pocket computers such as the iPhone and iPod touch.
As far as desktop and laptop computers go, Apple has yet to ship a screen with this capability. Its MacBooks, iMacs, and Apple Cinema Displays remain touchless. Whether or not this will be the case inside of five years is anyone’s guess, but there are some hints being thrown out that Apple could very well change this stance.
Could Apple Be Working Toward Touch Screen Laptops and Desktops?
Microsoft’s Windows 8 has kicked off a major shift in the PC industry. Right now, laptops with touch screens are outselling traditional laptops in the Windows market if only because the OS is specifically designed with touch screens in mind. Apple doesn’t have that factor to consider for its hardware just yet. OS X is still primarily designed for trackpads, mice, and keyboards. This could very well change, and Launchpad is one example of just how possible touch screen optimized applications are for Apple’s future.
For now, iOS is Apple’s leading touch operating environment. It’s built from the ground up to support touch (and almost exclusively so) to make use of compatible products easier. You don’t need a keyboard or mouse to navigate iOS, just as you don’t need these things for Android. Windows 8 sits somewhere between traditional desktop operating systems and mobile operating systems. This is because Microsoft is making a bet that the future of computing is in finding a way to blur the lines between mobile and desktop computing devices.
Apple is rarely the first company to act on a trend in technology. Portable media players existed well before the iPod, smartphones before the iPhone, tablet computers before the iPad, and touch screen laptops exist today. The difference is in how Apple approaches these trends. It’ll enter into the touch screen desktop and laptop market when and if it’s ready to. This could be this year or sometime in the next five years. What’s important to consider is that touch screen laptops are performing fairly well in the market today when compared to other Windows-based PCs. This is because the operating system works better with this feature.
Why Tablets and Smartphones Should Be Considered Computers
A computer isn’t defined by its processor or form factor. A computer is simply a device with the ability to compute. Tablets and smartphones are computers every bit as much as a MacBook Pro or an iMac. These devices have more power on average than many of the computers we once considered our primary workstations just a few years ago. It wasn’t but five years ago that my tricked-out gaming rig included two processors. Those processors are weak compared to the ones found in some of the smartphones and tablets you can buy these days.
If some tech pundits are right, then iOS could very well evolve into a desktop operating system. It’s already capable of running many of the programs we once believed to be exclusive to a desktop or laptop, and with some additional accessories, these devices could become our primary computing systems.
For many users, their phone is their primary computer already. It’s how they browse the Web, stay in touch with friends, and update their social network pages. It’s their camera, credit card, and before long, it may even replace our car keys.
Does Apple make touch screen computers? Absolutely.