Apple's software engineering chief tells us why there's no touchscreen MacCraig Federighi discusses the thinking behind the Touch Bar, describes the challenges of adding Touch ID - and reveals that Apple had built several touchscreen prototypes.
We all do a lot of powerful work all day on our Macs and our hands can be super productive right there with the track pad, with the keyboard. And so that's why, when we look at providing more controls, that's where we want them. Right where your hands are, right at your fingertips. If you're on the keyboard, you tend to want to stay on the keyboard. If you're on the track pad or using a mouse, You tend to want to stay on that mouse, and so having your hands on the keyboard and without even lifting your hands to be able to reach a control just right in front of you. We the opportunity with the function key strip, being really something that's a throwback to the past and a legacy, to instead create an area that was so useful and so powerful and that really provided the controls Contextually that were most relevant to what you were doing at any given time. And so when the technology came together with a multi-touch display that we could actually engineer into that space and into this extreme enclosure, our eyes got very wide as to what we could make happen there. The touch bar almost becomes this Mutable custom piece of hardware. Most of your keys are fixed in position and purpose, but the touch bar is as a reprogrammable patch surface, anything it needs to be for what you're doing it's suddenly a musical instrument where you can use multiple fingers to be doing real time performance and operate not just buttons but But sliders and different effects. And I think that really is an idea and a capability that is just gonna continue to get better as more and more developers really rethink how they can solve their problem through the framework of the Touch Bar. It services functionality that in the past has been, in a way, hidden behind a menu. But the fact that it can come forward contextually. Based on exactly what you're doing that moment, really prompts you to rediscover the depth of some of your applications and accomplish tasks that you might not have even realized were available to you, and now you can do them in so much a faster way. So there's a really great discoverability element to this Display that try to your finger tips. My wife of course wasn't able to know that I was using this system that she must have wonder why I sent her more emoji, because they were right on my finger tips. So it is things like that I do think also some task that you do like navigating through your photos just be calm. So much quicker you know you end up approaching it differently because you just wanna move around, put your hand down slide across, it's really fantastic. In Apple we build prototypes around all sorts of ideas. So we certainly explore the topic deeply many years ago and had working models. But decided that it really was a compromise that. For a device that you hold in your hand like a phone or a tablet. It's very natural to rest your hand on the tablet and work that way. We think touch is at its best and we want to build and have built a really deep experience around a multi touch first user interface. Drafting touch on something that was fundamentally designed around a precise Pointer really compromises the experience. When we engineered Touch ID for the phone, privacy and security were fundamental. In fact, we had to put capabilities into our custom silicon years before people ever saw the iPhone 5S with that capability, because we wanted to make sure That we could keep your fingerprint data securely in a secure enclave away from even a hacker if they could possibly get access to your phone. And so we've been able to take that same custom silicone, that technology and build it into a chip that's in the Mac. So you get those same protections and then you get this really incredibly fast sensor so when it comes to Signing into your Mac, Touch ID payments for payments with Apple Pay, or even fast user switching. They all work here and I think just as with iOS as we saw other third parties starting to take advantage of this sensor over time to provide kind of security features. We'll see the same kind of roadmap for the Mac. As we built this 13 inch machine and Really made the ID both so tight in x and y, so dense, so small. We realized, in the end, we had the perfect 13 inch laptop. And, in fact, when we compared it to the MacBook Air, which is so beloved, we saw that we'd built a machine that was actually Thinner, smaller, just as light, and then had all the things that we really, as users, wished we could have in our Air, right? It had the Retina Display, that I think, once you've had one, it's really hard to turn back. You have the fantastic trackpad, and then just all the performance. And so, we realized for so many Macbook Air potential users This was the right next step for them. And so we were able to create a configuration of the 13 inch without the touch bar and with just the two ports, which actually is a ton of I/O. Phil talked about the incredible capabilities at the event about The thunder volt port and it sort of the best MacBook Air. I think a lot of people who want it a little something more from the Air were gonna find it perfect 13" machine. [MUSIC]