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Yesterday’s Apple event brought a few new iterations of old product categories – we got new iPads, new Mac Minis, and new iMacs with super high definition displays. But while everything old is new again, one feature was left decidedly out: touchscreen computers. And according to a new interview with Apple’s Senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi published by CNET today, it’s likely to be left out for quite a while to come, if not forever.

Federighi didn’t mince words about how unlikely Macs were to gain the touch-based user-interface that’s found its way into Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablets and PCs:

“We don’t think it’s the right interface, honestly. Mac is sort of a sit-down experience.

We’ve really focused on building the best track pads we can, something where it feels [like] your posture’s relaxed, it’s a comfortable machine to use. And, of course, over the years we’ve experimented with all the technology, but we found it just wasn’t good.

We’re not all that interested in building one.”

This is a little surprising given Apple’s popularity with creative artists, many of whom might really benefit from having a touch-based option for getting work done in applications like Photoshop or Illustrator, for instance. On the other hand, it’s not as though Microsoft has seen humungous success with touch-based user-interfaces. The Surface Pro 3 is great, but as a laptop replacement. It’s an added bonus that I can draw and finger-tap – but its strength is mostly in how well it works as a full PC in a small package.

On the other hand, if one were to take a more cynical view of Federighi’s sentiment, Apple’s bread and butter is locking users into an ecosystem that continues to feed the beast. Macs are great, and so are iPhones – but what are iPads but in-between devices that do some of the stuff of both, but not as well? Few people use iPads to replace Macs or iPhones, as they’re often supplementary devices fit mostly for consumption, and not as much for productivity.

A touch-enabled Mac or Macbook could cannibalize the iPad’s sales, which is already in a precarious position as it is. Why would Apple want to hasten that product category’s demise by adding touch-based capabilities to full computers? That’s what I think is mostly behind Apple’s position – but that’s just me. What do you think?

[Source: CNET]

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