First Click: the great Mac vs. PC touchscreen debate

March 27th, 2015

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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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  1. Inklet uses Apple's new trackpad to turn MacBooks into drawing tablets

    Apple's new MacBooks, announced earlier this month, have been upgraded with force-sensitive trackpads. Using the awkwardly named "Force Touch" technology, the pads can tell how hard you are pressing, allowing Apple to replace the old three-finger tap with a new powerfully pressed "Force Click." But the new tech doesn't just let Apple offer more menu options — other app developers can use the increased fidelity of the new trackpads too.

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  3. HTC loses its second chief designer in less than a year

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  4. Watch President Obama interview David Simon about The Wire

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  5. This is the greatest Yahoo! Answer on whether vampires can poop

    "Can we just concede," another reporter asked, "that if they don't excrete the blood they ingest as food, they're necessarily breaking the law of conservation of mass?" Then my head exploded.

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