Would the MacBook Touch Really be Useful?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about a MacBook Touch – a Mac laptop with a touch screen, perhaps in tablet form, but each time I read a speculation like this I wonder – would a MacBook Touch really be useful?

Found at shinyshiny.tv/2008/07/rumour_macbook.html
Image found at http://www.shinyshiny.tv/2008/07/rumour_macbook.html

I sit at a desk, (or on a couch sometimes), and work on my MacBook Pro.  I spend most of my time coding in PHP, Javascript, HTML, or CSS, and I use the trackpad to control the mouse.  This way I rarely have to move my hands, (I know it sounds lazy).  I find that I can get things done fastest working like this.  If my computer were to have a touch, (or multi-touch), screen I would have to lift my arms, touch the screen, then find my position again on the keyboard.  I know it would be fast, but multiplied by a thousand, (or however many times I interact with the mouse), per day it would take a lot of time.  Really, if I can drag something across the screen by moving one finger five cenimetres on the trackpad, why would I involve my whole arm in dragging something twenty-five centimetres across the screen?  Call me lazy, but it seems like a lot of unneeded work to me.

Another more minor issue would be the dirty, dirty screen.  My screens, (on all of my computers, not just the MacBook Pro), get pretty dirty, I they would probably get pretty disgusting if I was touching them all of the time, instead of just sometimes as I do now.  True, I could, (and would), clean the screen, but it’s not just a one and a half second wipe like on an iPhone or iPod Touch – I imagine that it would get annoying after a while.

A tablet form factor would reduce these problems.  I have never owned a Tablet PC myself, but the demos I’ve seen were pretty cool and I can see how they would be useful in some situations, but for everyday computing I don’t really see how the added cost of a touch screen would give a MacBook Touch any added value.

Of course, they usually seem to figure out how to do it down there at Apple, so if they are actually working on a MacBook Touch, it may be excellent, we’ll have to wait and see.