The Future of the Mac

July 26, 2008

 

Mockup of Touch on the Mac

Increasing evidence has come up to support the fact that Touch Macs are coming our way, and soon. How we will see it is still up for debate. Some believe we will see a “Newton Reincarnation”, and it will be 1.5 times the size of the iPhone, with some more advanced gestures, focusing on bringing back the PDA. Some say we will see a “Mac Tablet”, which will be a device with an 10 inch, multi-touch screen, and no keyboard, but will boast compatibility with both Mac Apps, and the App Store. Finally, there is the group of people who believe that multi-touch will simply migrate to all their products, from the laptops to the cinema displays.

 

The people who believe that we will see a Newton Reincarnation are dead wrong. Period. The Newton has already been revived: its called the Safari Pad, which was morphed into the iPhone, which is available today. If you don’t want the phone, you can get an iPod Touch, which is more PDA-Like than any PDA I’ve ever seen. To sum it up, the Newton has already been reincarnated, and most of us own one already.

To those that think we will see a Mac Tablet, I think it is possible that something like this would come out, but unlikely. Why sell us a device that combines a Mac and an iPhone when you could sell us both, for more money? Unless this device is outrageously overpriced, I doubt we will see it… yet.

As for those who believe multi-touch will simply migrate over to the Macs we already have: you’re right. I am very convinced that multi-touch will become standard on the MacBook and MacBook Pro (maybe Air) by the end of Quarter 4. This is supported by the fact that Apple’s next quarter’s gross margins are predicted to be lower than was expected: Apple wants to sell these notebooks, with the more expensive multi-touch screen, at the same price point (or lower). These notebooks wouldn’t ditch the keyboard: a huge consumer backlash would result if they did so, but instead would probably be a redesign of both the MacBook and MacBook Pro, with a screen that rotated all the way back. This would give you the best of both worlds: the keyboard and mouse for typing documents and web browsing, and the multi-touch screen for photo editing and playing songs in iTunes. We would finally see all the advanced gestures which Apple filed patents for, incorporated into Mac OS X. Expect these laptops to come thinner than they are now, with some new innovations besides multi-touch, in a month or two. As for the iMacs and Cinema Displays: no multi-touch yet. I doubt that Apple would force multi-touch into the Desktops, as it would be very uncomfortable and impractical for the user. Maybe once Apple tests the waters with the laptops, they will figure out a way to make it work.

Summary: Multi-touch will indisputably (edit: possibly) come to the MacBooks in this quarter.

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