Does Sidecar foreshadow touch Macs?

Just reading up on Sidecar — the MacOS feature letting you use an iPad as a screen extension.

I assume others also see this as a test bed for using macOS with a touch screen? I haven’t used it yet, so maybe I’m missing something.

I don’t think it’s going to happen. If you want a touchscreen device, the iPad is perfect for that. You can even run some professional applications on an iPad. LumaFusion would have to be my favorite so far, but Photoshop is also really good.


I would have agreed with you before reading Apple’s description of sidecar and using it with an Apple Pencil. Now I’m not so sure. I think it’s a proof of concept, in part. Whether Apple follows through in the obvious way or not, we’ll see.

Sidecar has been around since at least Catalina. It was intriguing, and I’ve used it here and there, but after just a few tries I stopped using it seriously. It is minimally useful for me in most apps. The Luna Display (pricey) is more functional.

I figure that if someone needs a second display, then buy a second display. As far as Sidecar as a precursor for touch Macs? Nah. You’re touching a picture of a Mac screen shown on an iPad – not at all the same thing as a touch Mac.

Touch-screen Mac pro and con is one of those technology religion debates. No one can win.

Sidecar’s touch controls aren’t great, if they are foreshadowing touch-screen Macs, we should be afraid. I have only used it a couple of times, but it works well enough as a second screen for a laptop. I have used it to put something I wanted to reference on my iPad while using my MBA. It’s fine for that sort of thing.

I think Big Sur does far more to foreshadow touchscreen Macs. Everything is so spread out, it feels like it should have touch controls.

Agreed on the religious debate. I had hope to ask a slightly different question : Could Sidecar be a way for Apple to try this out. Or maybe even more obliquely, is it a deliverable that grew out of trying touch for Max.

What got me thinking along these lines is not Sidecar per se, but the way Apple describes using it, particularly with an Apple Pencil, in its knowledgebase article. Someone has clearly thought this through very carefully — much more so than much of the Apple documentation I’ve read.

I don’t see why the two elements have to be mutually exclusive. As others point out, Sidecar came before Big Sur’s spread-out UI. From a consumer’s standpoint, Apple makes big changes all at once, but I doubt that’s how Apple actually makes or implements changes behind the scenes.

I don’t believe touch Macs are coming and I think the idea sucks, despite the wishes of our beloved hosts. I’ve been extensively in the Microsoft ecosystem of Surface devices and I agree with Apple designers saying that a hybrid interface excels at nothing.

I’m going even further saying that a pointing interface (mouse) is better at productivity than a touch friendly one because since targets are smaller, more information can be fitted on the screen. I like my iPad Pro a lot and I like the Magic Keyboard with trackpad very much, but now I’d just rather have an M1 laptop for any serious work.

Does not mean some work cannot be made on touch devices, does not mean you can entirely live by them if your work affords - more power to you. But the capability ceiling of a touch device is always going to be lower that a traditional interface. If the ceiling aligns with your needs, you’re fine. If it doesn’t, you’ll never be satisfied. All comes back to the truck analogy of Steve Jobs.

These are my guns and I stick to them. :grin:


I don’t see Sidecar could be a trial of a touchscreen Mac. The touch part of the test is happening on an iPad, and Apple – and we – already knows how iPads work. And, why would they have us test something without setting up a mechanism to for us to give feedback? I think if Apple tests touchscreen Macs they’ll do it in a more controlled manner. Which they probably have done, given they can build in their labs just about anything they want.

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I’m doubling down on this. The fact that the consumer iPad now uses the same chip as the consumer Macs is pretty striking. Plus Sidecar. Plus Big Sur’s touch-friendly Ux spacing. The lobster is in the pot and and the water is warming up (to torture a metaphor).

Yes, I realize there are many other reasons and benefits to doing these things. But they also make the leap so much easier, and I suspect the Apple engineers won’t be able to help themselves. I also am willing to bet the designers can find a reasonably elegant way to do it. Apple was never going to make a tablet either. Or a phablet.

I don’t think touch will necessarily be a first-class citizen on a touchscreen Mac (though the pencil might be). But I think it’ll be there before too long.

The caveats: I have no specific knowledge, at least half the Macintelligentsia thinks the idea is crazy, and I have a pretty miserable track-record for making predictions.

Making another prediction here: it’s never going to happen, unless this touch Mac runs iPadOS in parallel and the touch interface is disabled when it runs macOS. (Conversely, the reverse prediction for an iPad running macOS on the side works too: the touch layer of the iPad would disabled on macOS, just like with Sidecar.)


You’re on. I’ll buy you whatever MPU swag is current in 5 years if it hasn’t happened…


Haha let’s do this! Goes the same in reverse. :+1:

Set a bookmark to remind yourself. :wink:

I’ve set a bookmark. Hopefully we’re all still using Discourse in 2026!

Hey @anon85228692, seen the announcement of Universal Control yet? :thinking::thinking::thinking:

Yup. Very impressive feat but I don’t see how I’ll ever be using this…
I reiterate : touch Macs are not on the horizon. :grin:

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