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Apple: Pro users couldn’t care less about a touchscreen iMac

With the Mac Pro languishing on the sidelines, not to mention the backlash that accompanied Apple’s arguably underpowered 2016 MacBook Pro, a narrative that Apple no longer cared about its creative professional demographic began to grow and take hold.

Earlier today, Apple took steps to assure the Mac faithful that the opposite is true and that the company is working on some new hardware that is being designed from the ground-up to meet the stringent needs of video and other creative professionals. Specifically, Apple teased that a new Mac Pro with a modular design is in the works and that the company is also busy working on new iMac configurations specifically designed for pro-oriented users.

“We’re going to begin making configurations of iMac specifically with the pro customer in mind,” Phil Schiller said during a recent roundtable discussion attended by a handful of select reporters, including John Paczkowski of Buzzfeed.

What we won’t see, however, are new touchscreen Macs of any kind.

While Apple has long railed against the very idea of creating a hybrid device featuring a traditional Mac with a touchscreen, the fanfare that surrounded Microsoft’s unveiling of its Surface Studio PC last year prompted some to wonder if Apple might ever contemplate reversing course on next-gen versions of the iMac.

The short and complete answer to that question is a resounding no.

Addressing this issue head-on, Buzzfeed relays Schiller’s thoughts on a touchscreen Mac ever hitting stores.

Company executives are, however, quite happy to confirm a feature the pro iMac will not have: touchscreen. “No,” Schiller said when asked if Apple would consider building such a thing. “Touch doesn’t even register on the list of things pro users are interested in talking about. They’re interested in things like performance and storage and expandability.”

Far from a surprise, Schiller has previously said that a touchscreen based Mac makes no sense because it would be impossible to optimize the user experience. “It’s the lowest common denominator thinking,” Schiller said late last  year.

For what it’s worth, it’s not as if Apple blindly decided not to pursue such a design. On the contrary, the company actually researched a touchscreen iMac previously and even filed a few patents on such a design, as evidenced by the photo below.

Ultimately, Apple came to the conclusion that such a design would diminish the user experience across the board.

“Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said about two years ago. “So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.”

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.