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App Store graphic revives wild speculation about touchscreen Mac

Credit: Apple

Apple has downplayed rumors of a touchscreen Mac, but a new macOS Big Sur graphic on the App Store has revived rumors that such a device could be coming.

The App Store graphic, spotted by developer Louie Mantia, features a stylized human hand tapping on various widgets and user interface elements in macOS Big Sur.

Apple has since removed the animation and the hand graphic and replaced it with a static image depicting the widgets feature in the new macOS update.

However, as one would expect, Mantia's tweet picked up a bit of attention and reignited rumors and speculation that Apple is in the process of transitioning macOS to a touch-based user experience.

The macOS Big Sur update brings a complete visual overhaul to the Mac operating system that heavily borrows from iPadOS and iOS. That has led some people to believe that it's a first step toward merging macOS and iPadOS, or at least a step toward bring a touch-based UX to the Mac.

In an interview from earlier this week, Apple software chief Craig Federighi downplayed rumors that a touchscreen version of macOS was coming, and claimed that touch-based controls weren't in mind during the redesign.

On the other hand, Federighi didn't outright deny that a future version of macOS could incorporate touch support. And, in fact, Apple patented touch-based command systems for macOS earlier in 2020.