Touchscreen MacBooks could launch in the ‘next few years’ - but not before a significant iPad overhaul

MacBook Pro Touch Bar
Image Credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Apple)

Apple recently updated its MacBook line up with superb models like the M3 MacBook Air, notably improving performance. However, what didn't materialize in the latest models, was the introduction of a touchscreen. 

Will MacBooks ever feature a touchscreen? It remains one of the biggest questions for Mac fans, with rivals Lenovo and Samsung leading the way in the best touchscreen laptops on the market, unchallenged by Apple. 

We can speculate that one of the main reasons we haven’t seen a touchscreen MacBook is the fact that it may have a negative impact on iPad sales. The new iPad Pro models are geared towards providing the most ‘MacBook-like’ experience possible without buying an actual MacBook. 

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a reputable Apple leaker, noted in his Power On newsletter that: “Apple does plan to add OLED and touchscreen support to Macs in the next few years. But it seems more committed to distinguishing its tablets and computers from one another than serving customers who want something more.”

What would it take? 

While Gurman has a history of being pretty accurate with his predictions and timelines, we can only be certain of something once we hear it from Apple. That said, Gurman’s reasoning here does make sense. 

To introduce touchscreen capabilities to the MacBook line would require a revamp of Apple’s iPads to completely separate them from Macs so that even if consumers had a touchscreen MacBook, there would still be reason enough to buy an iPad (aside from its sheer portability).

Furthermore, to make such a drastic change as switching to a touchscreen, macOS would also need a massive update to accommodate the new functionality. As a fan of the Mac operating system, that excites me. 

Apple MacBook Air 15-inch M3 REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

macOS is due to receive some new AI-fueled improvements at Apple’s WWDC 2024 next week and is seemingly getting quite a facelift compared to Sonoma 14. The potential new interface might require tweaking mouse and keyboard support, and could potentially open the door to foldable MacBooks in the near future (where a touchscreen would be needed, though it might be implemented as a virtual keyboard).

However it might be realized, that the idea of a touchscreen MacBook is exciting, and the fact that Gurman is now commenting on the prospect of such a device brings more life to the rumor (which has been floating around for some time).

It’s hard to say where such a development would take future iPads, although they could skew towards becoming devices purely for entertainment and artistic pursuits (aside from the Pro models). We have quite a long while to wait, so all we can do is speculate and hope. 

You might also like...

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).