What next for the Apple’s iMac and MacBook?

With the innovative touch bar giving the Macbook a new lease of life, many Apple fans could be forgiven for thinking that Apple were making moves to bring the MacBook closer in line with the iPad. It seems, however, that for now at least, Apple want to keep the iPad as a leisure device, with the MacBook and the iMac reserved for more serious work.

Will we ever get to see a hybrid device from Apple that bridges the gap between Macs and iPads?

Although the MacBook’s touch bar is a step closer to a hybrid device, there is still a lot of work to be done. Analysts believe that we won’t be seeing a hybrid anytime soon, but that there could be one on the distant horizon, but what form would that device take?

With Apple’s release of the iPad Pro, they were targeting the specific audience of users who enjoy apps and web browsing. For those who crave power, however, the MacBooks are still the go-to option. With more and more applications requiring the use of touchscreens, however, it may force Apple’s hand in terms of creating a MacBook with a full touch screen in order to merge touch features with the advanced computing the MacBook currently offers.

The increase in touch apps could also have ramifications for the iMac, as with design programs such as Illustrator and PhotoShop already benefiting from external accessories such as a stylus and trackpad, a full 3D touch display could bring the iMac to the next level and make it a must-have computer for serious designers everywhere.

We’ve already seen Windows take the plunge and head into the hybrid market with high powered tablets such as the Surface Pro 4 from Microsoft which takes the power of a laptop and the functionality of a tablet. Apple so far, however, have held back – even their 9.7-inch iPad Pro can’t really be used as a laptop replacement due to its lack of ports.

A closer competitor to Windows could be a touchscreen MacBook Air, which would combine the portable nature and touch features of mobile devices with the connectivity and power of a laptop. When it comes to packing the same kind of punch that users associate with the MacBook Pro or the iMac however, it could fall well short.

Ultimately, the problem with the hybrid market for Apple is that their products have, until now, been aimed at two separate groups: those who want devices for leisure, and ones who need to use Apple products for more serious work. By creating a hybrid, Apple would essentially be in competition with themselves: MacBooks and iMacs would be going up against iPads, which could have a detrimental effect on sales. What’s more likely is that the gap between the products will continue to get smaller to meet the needs of their consumers, with more features from the iPad filtering through to the desktop and laptop range.