Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

In an Interview With the Independent, Craig Federighi Tempers Speculation of Touch Screen Macs

Following Tuesday’s Apple event, Andrew Griffin, of the Independent, interviewed Greg Joswiak, Craig Federighi, and John Ternus about the products announced. Griffin also asked about the company’s plans for future products, which it was characteristically reticent about, but Federighi did want to tamp down expectations of touch screen Macs:

But it’s still the case that fans repeatedly speculated that Apple was going to do something more profound to the Mac: turn it into something like the iPad, for instance, or use the transition to radically alter how its laptops work. Apple has repeatedly insisted that it thinks the laptop form factor is valuable and distinct from touchscreens like the iPad, but people haven’t always believed them.

This has led to ideas including the theory that Apple had redesigned its new macOS to make way for touch screen Macs. The Big Sur aesthetic borrows from the iPhone and iPad — buttons are bigger, with more space, which numerous commentators pointed out would make them perfect for manipulating with your fingers — but not because of some secret plan to change the way the Mac works, Federighi says.

“I gotta tell you when we released Big Sur, and these articles started coming out saying, ‘Oh my God, look, Apple is preparing for touch’. I was thinking like, ‘Whoa, why?’

“We had designed and evolved the look for macOS in a way that felt most comfortable and natural to us, not remotely considering something about touch.

Big Sur offers a little more space around some elements, but not by much, so I think this speculation is quickly snuffed out if you use Big Sur for more than a couple of minutes. Most of the menus, buttons, and window controls are still tiny and clearly designed for a cursor and decidedly not a finger. It is still very much on the desktop side of the continuum.