Three-state touch — Now Apple has it too!

Apple's new MacBooks and MacBook Pros implement the same idea RIM implemented in the Storm (see previous post). They made the entire touch surface a button. From Apple:

It all just clicks.
The first thing you might notice — or not notice — is the missing click button. Now the entire trackpad is the button, so you can click anywhere. Without a separate button, your hands have 39 percent more room to move on the large, silky glass surface.

2 thoughts on “Three-state touch — Now Apple has it too!

  1. I had the opportunity to put Apple’s new tactile trackpad through its paces today at the local Apple store and thought I’d offer a brief comparison to the Tactile Touchpad from our 1997 paper (http://www.sigchi.org/chi97/proceedings/short-talk/sm.htm). In selecting operations, it feels remarkably similar. I love it. The only flaw I noticed is that it was significantly harder to press the trackpad down in the top left and right corners. It may result in missed selections as the user is accustomed to the pressure required to make selection on the majority of the trackpad’s surface, so when the same amount is applied while occasionally in the top corner areas, the selection will not register. Because our Tactile Touchpad did not use an actual physical button under the touchpad, pressure was uniform across the whole surface. I also noticed more pressure was required on the Trackpad than the Tactile Touchpad to make a selection. The haptic feedback was roughly equivalent with similar hysteresis. I loved that they used a low resistance smooth glass surface on the Trackpad which made dragging easier than on the more textured surface of the Tactile Touchpad. Since one needs to apply pressure when dragging, the smoothness will keep one’s fingers from becoming chafed. Great job Apple! But here’s a tip to Apple’s competitors – try it the way described in the paper and add a glass surface 🙂

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