By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 1:21 pm
Yesterday, I posted about the fact that Steve Jobs usually doesn’t take questions at Apple press events–except when he does. I said that if he did, I’d try to ask a question on behalf of the Technologizer community. You are, apparently, a shy group–lots of folks read that post, but only two piped up with questions.
But the good news is:
A) Steve Jobs, Apple COO Tim Cook, and marketing head Phil Schiller did indeed field questions from the audience;
B) I was the very last person who squeezed one in (Steve greeted me like an old friend–oh, not really, he called me “blue shirt”);
C) I asked a question on behalf of a Technologizer community member thinking that I might not get a real answer–but I did, and it’s one I haven’t seen elsewhere.
The question I asked was a boiled-down version of one posed by community member Patrick:
What are Apple’s plans for touch interfaces into the future? Both track pad and screen based, and across which platforms – phones, laptops and all-in-ones (like iMac).
That felt like several questions, and the Q&A was winding up, so I only tackled part of it: I noted that the new MacBook and MacBook Pro designs obviously show that Apple has put a lot of effort into making its touchpads into more ambitious multi-touch devices. Did that mean that Apple didn’t think that Macs with touchscreen interfaces made sense? (There’s been plenty of discussion of the possibility, including both rumors and idle wishes.)
Jobs noted that Apple has experimented with the idea–not a surprise, since patents show that to be true–and then told me that they don’t make sense so far.
So there you go. It’s Steve Jobs tradition to speak dismissively of ideas up until the moment that Apple embraces them in one form or another, so I don’t take his answer as conclusive proof that Apple won’t releasae a touch Mac sooner than you might expect. (Although I agree with Steve that there are issues with the idea–actually, I wrote about that awhile back.) But if he’d expressed an opinion on touchscreens for computers in public until now, I hadn’t seen it.
Thank you, Patrick, for the topic of discussion; thank you, Steve, for the answer…
[NOTE: The picture above is not from today; it's by Matthew Yohe and is borrowed from Wikipedia.]