back to article Analyst slams Apple innovation FAIL

One Wall Street analyst has lashed out at Apple, claiming the Mac maker's innovation is "sputtering" on the back of its failure to introduce touchscreen notebooks and desktop all-in-ones. Despite anticipation of a record holiday quarter, the Cupertino firm lacks the inventive touch it once had, Global Equities Research MD Trip …


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  1. MikeyD85

    Simply becuase

    nobody really wants a touch screen laptop / desktop. It's just awkward to use. If they did a MBP that had a removable touch screen (Asus Transformeresque), it'd be a different ball game.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simply becuase

      Since when have analysts been HCI or usability experts?

      To do a touchscreen laptop or desktop they would have to create a Windows 8 style OS for the Macs. Touchscreens on an OS designed solely for mouse and keys don't work.

      Did the analyst not seen the original Windows tablet PCs that failed to catch on?

    2. peter 45

      Re: Simply becuase

      Had the same idea as you but it changed when i got a transformer. i did not realise how intuitive a touchscreen was, even on a PC, until i caught myself reaching for the screen in my PC at work. having said that i have seen touchscreen media stations and they are stupid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simply becuase

      True, invention for inventions sake does not always translate into a practice product.

      Tablets are for touch, keyboards are for computers.

      Not only would you need to keep leaning over and reaching out but it would slow productivity down.

      RSI has been a big issue, to the point where trying is now given on how to sit, correct posture etc.

      How would you incorporate the touch screen into this mix.

      A litigation nightmare.

    4. frank ly

      Re: Simply becuase

      I've got an Asus Transformer and I have it docked all the time, using the keyboard and a USB mouse. The tablet thing is fine for e-books and videos but a bit heavy for long term use in the hand/s.

      Reaching over the keyboard to touch the screen feels weird and awkward when I can use the mouse from my hand's 'natural rest position'.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Simply becuase

        "Reaching over the keyboard to touch the screen feels weird and awkward when I can use the mouse from my hand's 'natural rest position'."

        Sadly the Asus Transformer's trackpad is complete arse. It's too sensitive and there are no tools to change its sensitivity, speed, or temporarily disable it while typing. I'm assuming the hardware is fine but the software / driver isn't. The only solution I've found workable is to disable it completely (fortunately there is a button for this) and use touch. Partly I blame Android for having such poor mouse pointer support.

        1. Stacy

          Re: Simply becuase

          I agree that the touchpad sucks, but attach a bluetooth mouse and it's fine - so I don't blame android.

          I would have agreed that the idea of a touch laptop was daft until I got the transformer and now both me and my partner keep touching the screen of our laptops forgetting that, nope, doesn't work here!

          Not for everything, especially anything where accuracy is important, but a mouse and touch screen is a perfect mix!

          Now, where were my screen wipes! (Yup, that is a problem and a pain!)

          1. Desidero
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Simply becuase

            Not to mention that for generations, promo pictures had groups of "professionals"" standing around a screen and point at something / anything. A touchscreen would invite a real-world response to their ahem pointless activity.

            1. Ted Treen

              Re: Simply becuase

              Judging from their spoutings, I seriously doubt that the majority of analysts could count the fingers on one hand and come up with the same answer twice running.

              I also believe that if an assistant janitor in an obscure public toilet made a less-than-complimentary comment regarding Apple, The Register would splash it as a headline:- 'bigging up' the aforementioned janitor as an "industry watcher", "technical guru" or "respected commentator" or some such meaningless tosh...

  2. Erroneous Howard

    Has he resurrected?

    "Jobs said in October 2012: "We've done tons of user......."

    2012? I know he was viewed a bit like Jesus by some of the Apple followers but unless he has literally been resurrected, I'm pretty sure Jobs wasn't around in October 2012 to say anything!

    We'll chalk that one up to a typo :)

  3. Bumpy Cat

    Bad idea

    Vertical touchscreens? On desktops? How long can you reasonably work with your hands held at arms length and eye level above your desk? Maybe our analyst has a side business in physiotherapy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad idea

      Just because it wouldn't be suitable for you doesn't mean that it isn't suitable for everyone. Of course you couldn't work all day with your arms held up but, if like me, 95%+ of my work is done via keyboard and it would be nice to lose the mouse and reclaim the desk space if I could just reach out and touch the relevant button or quickly flick something out of the way.

      1. A Long Fellow

        Re: Bad idea

        With respect, I don't think it WOULD work for you... if the screen were down at hand position, you would very quickly develop some awfully unpleasant strains in the upper back & neck muscles. Natural position: hands down, eyes up. Anything else is going to hurt. I'm tall, so even a laptop's display (with the laptop on the desk) is too far down for my comfort.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Bad idea

          @AC, even if it did work for you (and you're right, having variety of input options can only reduce the risk of RSI) it would have to work for the majority of users for Apple to consider it. Otherwise it would add cost and confusion for many, for the benefit of just a minority of users.

          Personally, I'm surprised not to have seen integration between the iPad and iMac, so the the tablet can be used to control iMac software- 'creativity' applications such as Photoshop would benefit from it, if only to move toolbars off the main workspace. Without being an expert, I would assume that it would be easier for Apple to pull this off, as they have full control of the hardware and OS. It would give the iPad a USP over rival products.

          Still, why does this analyst think he knows the answers? To suggest that a pricey, limited supply Retina Panel be fitted to all Macs is just daft. It will come to the whole range when they are cheaper and and available in greater volumes.

          1. Matt_payne666

            Re: Bad idea

            Ive a touch screen on my old Toughbook, specced a touch on my replacement XFR, and back in the day had a 21" iiyama CRT...

            Touch for all day computing will make your arms do funny things, but once you get used to poking the screen, going non touch is a shallow learning curve.

  4. Pete the not so great

    bad idea

    I've used a HP desktop with a touch screen monitor, keyb and mouse works much better, esp with a windows UI

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bad idea

      Quite so, see also:

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Tell you what - why doesn't the equities researcher stick to equities researching and leave the computer hardware design to the companies that actually make computers and who have actively tested these ideas and found them lacking.

    ...of course he could just be trying to get some attention by jumping on the 'let's bash Apple' bandwagon - does he have a book out or something..?

  6. jai

    Analyst proves they haven't a clue...

    ...but then we all knew that already, so this isn't really news.

    If he's stopped and even thought about it, tried it himself, he'd realise the massive pain you'll get in your shoulders if you try and work for any length of time on a touchscreen that's vertically in front of you.

    I guess this just goes to prove how much work your average analyst does. It doesn't take long to throw a dart at the wall and make your prediction based on what it landed on.

  7. Jim McDonald

    Didn't Mr Jobs also go on the record about mobile and tablet screen sizes?

    To paraphrase... "mobile screen sizes over 3.5" don't work, we've tested it and we're sure we're right" AND "the perfect size for a tablet is 10" nothing smaller is usable, we've tested that and we're sure we're right."

    Apple do get a lot of things right, but this insistence that "we're always right, everyone else is wrong" just sets them up for fall after fall. Still, with their revenue and profit numbers other tech firms would love to "fail" in a similar fashion.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Many years ago, Steve Jobs learned a very important lesson.

      Years before Microsoft eventually released Vista, they announced every single major feature they intended to put in it — and then some; their plans to include a fully database-driven filesystem didn't make it, for example.

      By the time Microsoft Vista finally made it out the door to universal indifference, Apple's OS X already matched it feature for feature, but usually better designed and more refined. And that was the "Leopard" release series, not the later "Lion" ones.

      Vista proved less than successful, in part because Microsoft effectively told everyone what they planned to do so long in advance that their rivals had plenty of time to catch up. Even GNU / Linux desktop GUIs were able to out-Vista Vista when it appeared on the scene.

      Steve Jobs never made that mistake. He even went so far as to use misdirection and outright deception to ensure Apple's rivals were frequently wrong-footed.

      That's what good CEOs do. There seem to be distressingly few of them about.

  8. Stoneshop Silver badge

    "touch surfaces want to be horizontal."

    Then why the bloody fsck does everybody and their dog poke their greasy fingers onto my screen (only slightly tilted back from vertical) when they want to point out something apparently exceptionally worth pointing out in the email they just sent?

    (the other annoyance, mouse-grabbing has been as good as eradicated by deploying a trackball)

    1. Stacy

      Re: "touch surfaces want to be horizontal."

      Track ball and MS Natural Keyboard (where most of the letters have been worn off) mean that anyone who can't touch type on a curved keyboard just lets me keep control of the computer on my desk.

      Mind you watching people who do touch type still struggle because all of a sudden they can't see the letters that they never look at anyway is fantastic!

  9. Alan Denman

    When fishing, if the suckers keep biting only a fool change the bait

    Well at least he is not desperate for big advertising money like the rest of them appear to be.

  10. kyza

    This guy has just watched Minority Report and gone 'OMG! That screen Cruise is using is soooooo cool!' without thinking that it would be awful to work with IRL

  11. Chad H.

    “Why is that Apple, the company that brought touch to phones and tablets, stopped just there and did not bring touch to notebooks and iMacs?" he said in a research note to clients.....

    He went on to say "And why do I have to use that twisty action on a Screwdriver? Surely I should just be able to use my screwdriver in a pounding like motion... It works with my hammer after all.

  12. Shonko Kid

    "Brought touch to phones and tablets"

    Err, whuh? Popularised, brought into the mainstream maybe. But both were common place before the iEra

    As for Apple's current level of innovation, could it be that they've run out of stuff to copy^H^H^H^Hinvent?

    They seem to have peaked, perhaps they're not as cool as they once were?


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Innovation? Heh.

    So Apple is being dinged for not "innovating" by putting a touchscreen layer (not exactly new technology) on their laptop and desktop models in the same way HP and other companies have been doing for years?

    Regardless of whether or not that's a good idea, this guy needs to get a dictionary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Innovation? Heh.

      ... and cognitive skills

  14. Pet Peeve

    Welcome to 1980

    GORILLA ARM. It was true with light pens, and it's just as true with touch screens. You do not want your users holding out their arms to touch a screen.

    On the other hand, having a touchscreen for occasional use, or a foldback design that lets you cover up the keyboard and use the screen like a tablet, has a lot going for it (and such laptops already exist, if not very popular). I seriously considered getting a touchscreen display the last time I bought one for my desktop, because ever since I became a heavy tablet user, it's become VERY common for me to absentmindedly reach up to displays to fiddle with something.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Welcome to 1980

      Of course Apple could do something innovative like using AirPlay to display Mac content on a (larger?) iPad, with touch events fed back to the Mac as trackpad or mouse events.

      They could even call it something like - hmmm - how about "VNC"?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If a roadmap existed, engineers would not be pushed to ship products prematurely — especially when they are not fully tested,”

    But if they didn't ship prematurely fanboi would have nothing to upgrade in six months.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Estimates for proportions of touch enabled notebooks in 2013 seem to range from 15-40% of total. According to digitimes, right now theres a shortage of touch panels; interesting to see how volumes pan out next year.

    My own experience says touch adds something to the laptop and desktop experience in some applications though hasn't accounted for more than about 10% of interaction time total, less for office type applications, more for web browser and design work. I expect the % will pick up a little as applications make better use of touch and tiltable monitors becomes more mass market, its chicken and egg as screens get out there and crossover effects from tablets hit in.

    I'd be very surprised if Apple haven't reversed course on touch and hybrid by 2014. Even now, why on earth would I as a developer want to spend £2K on an MBP without touch? iMac surely must add touch by Summer 2013.

  17. Ascylto
    Big Brother


    Global Equities Research MD Trip Chowdhry.

    Mental Note: Stay well away from Global Equities Research.

  18. James Gosling

    The analyst....

    Clearly has no idea what he is talking about and should shut up and stop making a fool of himself!

  19. TJ 2

    Touch-enabling my two 27" dells? If I want exercise I go for a run.

    Rather than messing about with enabling desktop monitors with touch, how about adding a touch surface to your setup.

    E.G something like the multi-touch Wacom tablets do the job just fine. Best of both worlds as you don't need to touch your screen (saves wiping off the kebab-residue you left on it, when back from the pub on a friday night (was that pr0n you was watching? eeeewww))

    Use the tablet to touch and gesture, use the tabled with pen if needed, use the surface as a mouse mat if you have limited pretty well.

    Touch-enabling my two 27" dell screens has no appeal what so ever, if I want exercise I go for a run.

    Something intelligent like a mouse mat that senses when the mouse is there, and when not, lets you use gestures would be pretty useful.

    I also have a cheap'o flexible graphics tab made by Trust (cost £19), flexible like a hard-surfaced mouse mat, if this worked with fingers it would be fantastic....

  20. Ilsa Loving

    Why no touch screens on iMacs?

    Because it's stupid idea you bloody fool.

    How these Wall Street people manage to think that their opinions are worth anything at all is a mystery, considering that they single-handedly destroyed the American economy and helped bring about a global recession.

  21. Rick Brasche


    my RSI-damaged shoulder twinged at the thought of having to do everything reaching out to work a touch screen on the desk.

    Only some sort of sadomasochist would think such a thing is a good idea.

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