Touch Macs and accessibility

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Over the last few years I've developed a small case of pain when using a mouse and keyboard. It's not something I feel everyday, but I do have it crop up on a semi-regular basis and it's quite disruptive to my work when it kicks in. When it happens, I need to address it by either stepping away from my computer or moving my work over to my iPad.

The advantage the iPad has for me in this situation is not that the software is better for me, but rather that it's physically easier to interact with. It's more comfortable for me to tap and swipe on the screen than to use a mouse or trackpad to navigate the UI.

I'm super happy that the iPad exists for this situation, but it is frustrating that I'm being forced to use another device that doesn't have all of the software I need. This is annoying at best when I'm working on personal stuff, but 8 hours of every weekday is devoted to my job, and that job has a work-issued Mac that I need to use. When I get pain during the work day, I can't revert to the iPad, I need to either suck it up or take extended breaks, neither of which is ideal. If my work could issue me a Mac with touch then I wouldn't have this problem that I have today.

Once again I will say explicitly that I don't think iPadOS needs to disappear…I don't want to take away anything that works for people today. What I want is to expand the use cases that a Mac works well for, because like it or not, many people need to use a Mac and the current state of the world means that can't have what might be a more accessible interaction method either all the time, or like me some of the time. From that perspective, it's infuriating to hear people say, "actually, it's good you can't use a Mac like that."