Most televisions and all MacBooks still lack a touch screen.
When will this change? When will
displays be converted to touch screens?
It could take some time. While the PC industry has embraced
Windows 8 with a wide variety of touch screen devices (including
laptops and desktops), some manufacturers are reluctant to enter
Part of this is based on cost and consumer demands. Hundreds
of millions of traditional mobile phones are still sold annually,
especially in emerging markets. These devices can barely surf the
Web and rarely feature more than the most basic apps (such as a
calculator or a calendar). Thus, there is no need for
manufacturers to add a touch screen.
The same is true for laptops. While it would be great if Dell
) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:
) added touch to every device they produce, the reality is that
there are still millions of consumers who want a cheaper
This is not an issue that is exclusive to computers and
smartphones. Automobile manufacturers, such as Ford (NYSE:
) and GM (NYSE:
), charge a lot of money for their in-car touch panels, many
lower end models are produced the old-fashioned way.
For some companies, the added expense may not matter. Apple's
) prime customers tend to make and spend more money. After
discovering that Mac users spend an average of $20 to $30 more
per night on hotel rooms, Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:
) decided to show them more expensive hotel options than the ones
seen by PC users.
Apple's starting price is $329 for the iPad Mini -- the
highest price of any small tablet. Regardless, the company still
managed to sell
three million units
of the iPad 4 and iPad Mini when they were released.
These are just a couple of things that show the buying power
of Apple customers. If the company wanted to release an expensive
touch screen computer, it could. People would buy it up
immediately. But Apple may continue to wait another five to 10
It's all part of Apple's incremental update schedule. If the
company adds touch to the MacBook, it would greatly reduce the
importance of the iPad 4 and iPad Mini. Tablet sales would
plummet as wealthy consumers shifted to the ultimate all-in-one
Apple does not want this to happen anytime soon. The
iPad profit margins
are much higher than the margins on a MacBook. Apple sold 100
million iPads in less than three years -- the MacBook will never
be able to compete with that. Thus, the company has a number of
reasons to put off the touch screen transition for as long as
In doing so, Apple can also stretch out the flow of
innovation. Right now, MacBook Air and iMac users are looking
forward to one thing: a Retina Display. After that, there is not
much Apple can provide. The company might continue to refine its
creative Hybrid Drive concept, but only select users will care
Beyond the expense associated with adding a touch screen, and
beyond the corporate decision to delay their inclusion, there are
a number of reasons why the touch transition is years away from
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