Apple worked on a touchscreen MacBook when designing the iPhone, says former exec

Apple executives have said they will steer clear of touchscreen computers — but they have actually had a design for one for over a decade, according to an interview in Wired.

Tony Fadell, known for his role in creating the iPod, told Wired that Apple had several different prototypes that came together to make the final design of the original iPhone. Those designs included a touchscreen MacBook Pro and a multi-touch MacBook Pro, Fadell told Wired in an interview published this week.

"The touchscreen MacBook project was basically trying to get touchscreen technology into a Mac to try to compete with Microsoft tablets," Fadell told Wired. "Steve [Jobs] was pissed off, and wanted to show them how to do it right. Well, that might have been the project to show Microsoft how to do it right, but they quickly realized there was so much software and there were so many new apps needed, and that everything had to be changed that it was very difficult."

Getty Images
Tony Fadell

Apple was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Thursday is the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone's release. Since then, Apple has launched the iPad, large-screen iPhones, and even the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, which augments the area of the keyboard once used for function keys.

But Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, told CNET in 2014 that a full-on touchscreen Mac was "unlikely" at best.

"We've really focused on building the best track pads we can, something where it feels [like] your posture's relaxed, it's a comfortable machine to use," he told CNET. "And, of course, over the years we've experimented with all the technology, but we found it just wasn't good. ... We're not all that interested in building one."

Some Mac loyalists, though, have said they are frustrated with Apple's lack of progress — and Apple has even apologized for the dearth of upgrades. Microsoft's high-end t

ouchscreen play, the Surface line, has meanwhile emerged as a formidable competitor to the Mac.

Fadell has since moved on from Apple. He founded smart-home company Nest, which was acquired by Google, but left last year. Google parent Alphabet reportedly tried to sell Nest, but did not find a buyer.

For more from Fadell's interview, see the full story at

Click to show more