First Click: the great Mac vs. PC touchscreen debate
March 27th, 201548
The current divide between MacBooks and Windows-based laptops spans the length of an outstretched arm. Since the announcement of Windows 8, laptops from Dell, Lenovo, HP, Microsoft and others have all featured touchscreen displays. Apple, the company that brought multitouch displays to the masses with the iPhone and iPad, made its trackpad the showcase for touch, by layering a robust gesture language atop frictionless glass. For Cupertino, touchscreen displays had no business on a laptop.
On October 20th, 2010, Steve Jobs would pontificate on why “touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical” at the introduction of the redesigned MacBook Air with a large, multitouch glass trackpad. Just one day later, Steve Ballmer would call Windows 8 Microsoft’s “riskiest bet yet.” The MacBook Air went on to become the benchmark for laptop computing to this day, while convertible laptops featuring Microsoft’s compromised “no compromises” OS failed to stop people from carrying around both laptops and tablets.
Five years later we find both companies doubling-down on their divergent strategies. Microsoft’s more cohesive Windows 10 is coming this summer, and its Surface Pro 3 is already receiving some special pen and touch love from Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator. Apple, meanwhile, has introduced its new Force Touch trackpad with apps like Inklet using it to turn styli into pressure sensitive paintbrushes.
It’s still Mac vs. PC in 2015 and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
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