A folding-screen MacBook is an absolutely terrible idea

It’s hard to imagine a more ridiculous idea than an all-screen MacBook that replaces a full keyboard with a virtual keyboard.

This is the latest rumour. Apple is so excited, according to reports, about the possibility of a foldable iPhone that it’s already trying to figure out how to bring the technology to its popular MacBooks.

Assuming there’s even a shred of truth to it, it’s a silly idea, bordering on insane.

Why not?

After the screen, the second most important laptop buying consideration is – wait for it – the keyboard.

Reviewers can rave about the feel, click and especially key travel, which we now measure in millimeters. Consumers and business users care so much that when someone plays with the feature, they lose their minds.

Apple discovered this when it introduced butterfly keyboard technology in the MacBook Air. It was supposed to reduce the amount of space you needed for keyboard mechanics while still leaving in valuable place for travel. The reality was a system that was often marred by crumbs and other dirt.

When Apple eliminated the butterfly and replaced it with a more traditional keyboard, MacBook fans, especially MacBook Pro fans, rejoiced.

Laptops are, by nature, productivity systems. They are now the dominant desktop computing device and are used for creating reports, presentations, emails, documentation, and coding.

I can’t type a lick, but I know accuracy in all of these tasks is key. A virtual screen, yes, even a giant folding Apple-designed one can produce only the crudest form of accuracy. The level of haptics to tell people that they pressed the right key in the right place on a shiny glass surface is probably next to impossible.

History says no

I’ve seen my share of weird laptop designs and even products that attempt to mess with the laptop’s keyboard. They invariably fail.

When Microsoft introduced the Surface tablet, it also unveiled the Touch Cover – not the Type Cover but the Touch Cover. This cover, which can clip onto a thin edge of the tablet and fold down to cover the screen when not in use, is extremely thin and its keyboard has no actual keys, just a print that suggests a keyboard. . With the complete lack of physical keyboard response, I found it impossible to type on the cover. As soon as Microsoft made the Surface Type Cover available with real keys, I jumped on it. I have yet to see a single modern Surface user with a touchscreen cover.

Other companies have tried the screen-based keyboard approach. There was the Acer Iconia dual-screen laptop. You’d be forgiven for having no memory of this poorly designed device. To its credit, you could use both screens as regular screens, but if you wanted to use it in laptop mode, you had to settle for a fully virtual keyboard screen.

Apple knows best

I am fully convinced that Apple knows this history and is more allergic to bad designs and unusual ideas than most tech companies.

Still, the appeal of foldable screens is strong.

According to the report, Apple is considering a laptop that could fold down to a 20-inch screen that you attach to, say, an Apple Magic Keyboard. Seems okay until you remember that most folding screen devices still have a little ripple at the curvature of the screen. It is obvious to the touch and can, in some cases, be visible to the eye.

So it’s not Apple.

I have nothing against foldable screens, especially in small mobile devices where you can suddenly double the screen area. However, for larger devices, I don’t get the call. A 20-inch screen is something you want to attach to a stand and usually leave on your desk. A device with a 13-inch screen and an attached physical keyboard is a laptop that you have on your desk, fold, unfold in your lap on the train, fold again, then unfold on the desk at home.

In this work-on-the-go lifestyle, the last thing you need is a reflective screen keyboard slowing you down.

If I was a bettor, I’d say Apple was working on this idea just to send competitors chasing after rainbows.

About Michelle T. Friesen

Check Also

How to Mirror Your iPhone to a Samsung Smart TV

With a little setup, your iPhone screen can be mirrored to a much larger Samsung …