Apple SVP Phil Schiller addresses Touch Bar, other MacBook Pro concerns

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In an interview, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller further elaborates on Apple's reasoning behind the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro, why Apple hasn't gone to a full touch screen, and the USB-C connector.

"Watch, iPhone, iPad, Macbook, iMac, they really are all computers. Each one is offering customers something unique and each one is made with a simple form that perhaps is eternal," said Schiller to Steven Levy from Backchannel, regarding the absence of a full touch screen experience. "People in the industry may question them  —  we don't, for some very simple reasons."

Schiller noted that Apple had tried to implement touch screens in the Mac family "a number of times over the years." Each time, the company deduced that it wasn't the right thing to do for the ecosystem.

"If we were to do Multi-Touch on the screen of the notebook, that wouldn't be enough —  then the desktop wouldn't work that way," explained Schiller. "Can you imagine a 27-inch iMac where you have to reach over the air to try to touch and do things? That becomes absurd. You can't optimize for both."

"I know our team made very smart choices and this is the best notebook that can be made with the greatest technology." — Phil Schiller

The Touch Bar is an extension of the work Apple put into investigating a full touch screen experience for macOS. It is not, however, a migration of iOS to macOS.

"Its implementation is pure Mac," Schiller said regarding the Touch Bar. "The thought and vision from the very beginning was not at all, 'How do we put iOS in the Mac?' It was entirely, 'How to you use the technology to make a better Mac experience?'"

USB-C only, and the path forward

Schiller reinforced to Backchannel that USB-C connectors are "the right thing" for Apple and the industry, and the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 is the solution to high transfer rates to and from the computer. The executive is not deaf to concerns, however, even if nothing is done about it.

"We care about the feedback but we know that the fundamental difference on where their opinions are coming is between those who had a chance to use it and those who haven't," said Schiller, basically saying the same thing as in a previous interview. "There are people who want us to innovate faster and when we do there's people who say, 'Whoa, whoa, you're going too fast.'"

Physical, versus virtual keys

Some critics of the Touch Bar included in the new MacBook Pro in recent days have called it gimmicky, and are concerned that it may pave the way for the removal of a physical keyboard all together on future Mac models.

"It's certainly not on the horizon right now. We do want to add those experiences that you are talking about —  talking to talk to Siri, voice dictation, suggestions," answered Schiller when posed with the question about the future of Apple input devices. "Although for us right now, there's no reason to make that trade off. Instead, we focused on not removing the keyboard but making a better keyboard."

"There's always something for a critic to beat up on anybody's notebook, because you have to make choices," Schiller added. "I know our team made very smart choices and this is the best notebook that can be made with the greatest technology."