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Video Shows Off Prototype Touchscreen iMac... From 1999


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Touchscreen Mac rumors are not new, but it turns out that neither are touchscreen Macs. In 1999, a company called Elo produced and sold touchscreen versions of the iMac G3 through Apple's Value Added Reseller program for use as kiosk machines, and YouTuber Michael MJD recently managed to get hold of one.

The "ready-to-go tabletop kiosks" featured Elo's own iTouch touch-on-tube interface, which used surface acoustic waves instead of an overlay to detect where users touched the screen. You can see a prototype Elo ‌iMac‌ in action in Michael MJD's video, which also covers the history of the machine as well as its technical specifications. Given the simplicity of the hardware modification, it's a pretty impressive feat.

Rumors of Apple developing its own touchscreen ‌iMac‌ date back to 2010, initially fueled by Apple patents for a touchscreen desktop computer and then reports of touch panels making their way through Apple's supply chain.

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs appeared to put the kibosh on those rumors in 2010 when he said that "touch surfaces don't want to be vertical" due to arm fatigue associated with holding up a finger to the screen.

In the years that followed, Apple firmly established iPhone and iPad at its touchscreen products, with no change in its position on touchscreen for Macs. As recently as 2021, Apple's hardware engineering chief John Ternus said the Mac was "totally optimized for indirect input" and said the company did not feel there was a good reason to change that.

Despite the years of resistance, however, Apple has reportedly started working on adding touchscreens to Macs. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a new MacBook Pro with an OLED display could be the first touchscreen Mac in 2025.
This article, "Video Shows Off Prototype Touchscreen iMac... From 1999" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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