What is Dan Riccio’s new project at Apple? I’m betting on a touch-screen Mac

It’s time to get excited.

Credit: IDG

While not nearly as earth-shattering as Jony Ive’s departure in 2019, Apple on Monday announced a bit of a shakeup to its leadership team. No one is leaving the company, but one of the biggest players on the hardware team, senior vice president Dan Riccio, is moving to a secret project.

Riccio, who has been with Apple since 1998, isn’t as well-known as Tim Cook or Phil Schiller, but he’s been an integral part of nearly every major Apple product this century. Riccio took on the role of senior vice president of Hardware Engineering when Bob Mansfield retired in 2012. At the time, Riccio was vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering, a position he took on in 2010, right as the original iPad launched.

While he only held the position for two years, they were extremely formative ones for the iPad. The second-generation was significantly thinner and lighter than the original iPad without sacrificing battery life, while the third generation introduced the Retina display and 4G LTE networking. As SVP, he was instrumental in delivering numerous products, including last year’s 5G iPhone lineup, M1-based Macs, and AirPods Max.

apple dan riccio Apple

You might not know who Dan Riccio is, but you definitely know the products he’s helped develop.

Now, Riccio is transitioning to a somewhat secretive role in the company. In a press release, Apple merely said Riccio “will transition to a new role focusing on a new project and reporting to CEO Tim Cook,” with his previous slot being filled by John Ternus, who has been with the company since 2001 and most recently appeared in the launch video for the M1 Mac.

While it’s natural to think that Riccio will be working on the Apple Car or Apple Glass, it’s likely that those teams are already well on their way and equally likely that Riccio has had a hand in building them. Rather, I think Riccio’s new project is a lot closer to the type of work he excels at: screens.

In addition to the iPad, Riccio also played a big role in the evolution of the Mac’s display. In one of his few appearances on a public stage, Riccio had this to say when the 27-inch 5K iMac debuted in 2014: “The Mac enables people to do amazing things and for many people, it’s the most important creative tool that they use. And what we really love doing is making it better.”

And I think that’s exactly what he’s going to be doing in his new role at Apple. Now that the Mac transition is in full swing and will likely be all but completed by the end of 2021, Apple can turn its attention to the next big thing: a touchscreen Mac.

Microsoft Surface Pro X Microsoft

We might soon be able to touch our Mac’s screen just like the MIcrosoft Surface.

Apple has long thrown cold water on the idea of a touchscreen Mac, but the M1 processor changes things. Apple’s silicon opens up the Mac to a whole new work of development that just wasn’t possible with Intel chips. Adding a multitouch display to the Mac isn’t the endgame for Apple, it’s building an entirely new device that transforms how we use computers and changes the landscape in an indelible way.

That’s where Riccio’s prowess comes in. Like Microsoft’s Surface, a touch-screen Mac would be part tablet and part laptop, two products that Riccio knows extremely well. But most importantly, it would be all about the display, an area Riccio has tremendous experience in. If Apple is serious about developing a Mac with multi-touch, Cook would want Riccio to devote all of his time to it.

And it sounds like that’s exactly what he will be doing. While other SVPs who have transitioned from their senior roles have issued vague statements about their next steps, Riccio’s is extremely focused: “Next up, I’m looking forward to doing what I love most—focusing all my time and energy at Apple on creating something new and wonderful that I couldn’t be more excited about.”

It might take several years, but there are enough clues and rumors to suggest that Apple is finally looking at the next evolution of the Mac that finally combines the power of a PC with the versatility of an iPad. And with Riccio at the helm, it could be even more exciting than an Apple Car.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

Show Comments


Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >



Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >


Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?