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Tim Cook says Apple will not merge Mac with iPad, despite rumors

It doesn't look like MacBook are going to get touch screens any time soon

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What's a computer? It's the closing line of Apple's recent iPad Pro commercial, and a question company boss Tim Cook is keen to answer: Not a Mac combined with an iPad.

Despite Microsoft's highly-praised Surface Book, which is a powerful laptop with detachable touch screen, Apple is not going to venture down that path - despite calls for the company to add touch capabilities to its MacBook range.

It's a topic Cook has spoken about on several occasions in recent years. In 2012 the Apple chief executive said on an earnings call that "anything can be forced to converge" but "the problem is that products are about tradeoffs...You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know, those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user."

Six years on and, despite the Surface Book and Apple adding a touch panel to its high-end MacBook Pros, Cook's position is unchanged. During an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Cook said the merging of an iPad and Mac would be like "watering down one for the other" and that is something Apple "doesn't believe in".

Cook added: "If you begin to merge the two...you begin to make trade offs and compromises. So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that's not what it's about. You know it's about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don't think that's what users want."

The MacBook Pro has its 'Touch Bar', but is unlikely to get a touch screenApple

While it seems clear that Apple isn't going to rival the Surface Book any time soon - if ever - the company has made some compromises in recent years. The iPad Pro comes with a connector for attaching Apple's Smart Keyboard, and it's iOS operating system is capable of running three applications on-screen at once.

At the other end of its portfolio, Apple includes the Touch Bar on all but its cheapest MacBook Pro laptops. An OLED touch screen running the length of the keyboard, the Touch Bar replaces the Mac's physical function keys and allows for different buttons and tools to appear there depending on which app is being used.

Cook's comments come at an interesting time, as rumors begin to circulate that Apple is indeed planning to bring its iOS and macOS platforms closer together. Bloomberg reported in late-2017 that Apple is working on a project known internally as Marzipan, which will reportedly see the merging of iOS and macOS apps. Starting later this year, the report claims, developers will be able to design a single application that works for a touch screen, or mouse and trackpad, depending on the machine it is running on. The system could be announced as soon as Apple's annual WWDC developer event, which starts on June 4.

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