Windows 8 is designed for touchscreens. Its flat "Metro UI" icons practically beg you to touch them. When I recently reviewed the Razer Blade, I bemoaned the lack of a touchscreen. Soon, every Ultrabook will have a touchscreen, whether you want one or not.
According to Kirk Skaugen, Intel's Senior President, 70 percent of Ultrabooks have touchscreens. And soon, he expects 100 percent of new Ultrabooks sold to have them. That's because Intel and Microsoft are in cahoots to require every Ultrabook with a fourth-generation Core processor (Haswell) to include touchscreens.
Analysts at NPD and IDC, two companies that track the growth of the tech industry say touchscreen-equipped Ultrabooks saw boosts in August, rising from 10 percent of all Windows 8 laptop retail sales to 30 percent.
While Microsoft remains firm on pushing touch capabilities, Apple remains uninterested in bringing touchscreens to its family of MacBooks. Steve Jobs famously declared touchscreens on laptops dead on arrival because using them would give users "gorilla arm." Instead, Jobs truly believed touchscreens worked best for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and horizontal trackpads worked best for notebooks and computers.
Frankly, I think standardizing touchscreens for Ultrabooks can only help Windows 8's disappointing experience. Microsoft bet big on Windows 8 as being an operating system built for PCs and mobile devices. In reality, Windows 8 is a dud. People miss the Start menu and desktop mode. Going all touchscreen on all Ultrabooks is something Microsoft should have done from the very start to convince buyers why Windows 8 is unique.