No spin. Just the facts. Apple says a touchscreen should be used with a handheld device, not a notebook or desktop computer. Period. End of story. Don’t bring it up again. It’s over. Done. Finished.
A few things are going on in Appleland that might open the door to a future where touchscreens rule the world. First, Sidecar. This is a new feature in macOS Catalina that lets an iPad become a second screen when connected to a Mac.
Sidecar brings touchscreen capability to a Mac’s external display (played by the connected iPad). The iPad shows what’s on Mac’s screen, and touching the screen invokes some basic touchscreen tools.
What do you expect with Sidecar? Fingers can scroll through websites in Safari and documents in Pages. There are some multi-touch gestures, too, however, a tap does not a click on a webpage make.
For that, you need an Apple Pencil. That works. Strange, right?
Wait. I get it. Apple is a hardware company. That means Apple wants us to buy more hardware. So, instead of using our finger to tap menus and buttons and links on an iPad connected to a Mac running Sidecar, Apple wants us to go out and buy Pencil to do the deeds.
Color me cynical but I believe it to be true. Remember, Apple has had nine years to improve iPadOS but decided to let it languish for years in fear it would make iPads too much like a PC or Mac notebook, and that would damage sales.
If Sidecar turns you on but gives you disappointment, too, then try Luna Display. This clever piece of hardware and software turns the connected iPad into a Mac, complete with touchscreen controls in macOS Catalina. Tap on a link in Safari– with your finger– and it opens. Even right-click menus work.
There are caveats, of course (Luna Display require a hardware dongle on the Mac, and it isn’t as smooth as expected), but if such hacks become popular, maybe Apple will listen and give us some touchscreen capabilities on the Mac.
After all, Windows and Chromebook users have had iPad-like accessibility for years. The problem is Apple. They want the Mac to remain pure.