But when I moved to Apple hardware, I basically was stuck with the trackpads, but this time around, it was different. The bigger size meant less finger movement and with the advent of multi touch, it suddenly felt like a more "natural" way to control the machine.
With the newer Macbook pros came this "the trackpad is the button" functionality and while it took me a day or so of getting used to, I absolutely cannot work with the dedicated button pads any more. Seing how quickly this became muscle memory, I assume that they did something (no idea what) right when they moved to that design.
This is how I went from "I hate trackpads" to "trackpads are the only really natural way to control the machine".
With this in mind, this new Apple device really interests me and I can't wait to get my hands on one. At worst it'll be a companion to my trackball, at best, it'll replace it (still also having a mouse connected for the eventual UT match though)
More advanced users have more key presses, larger, faster and more precise cursor movements, and are in general much more in control of the machine, moving quickly. I notice that I look where I want the cursor to go.
Less advanced users tend to move ploddingly slowly, and become very disoriented when the mouse moves quickly. I notice that my less technically apt friends look where the mouse is, and follow it to it's destination.
(Very similar to the observed division in number of inputs between beginning and expert Starcraft players)
Which crowd does Apple target again?
That doesn’t really explain why mice on OS X are still so damn slow even if you crank them all the way up. Less advanced users don’t change settings, advanced users do, so it would be possible to make both happy.
All IBM TrackPoints come with three different caps. The old default was "classic dome", the new default is "soft dome", but the one you want for featherlight touch is "soft rim" -- http://i27.tinypic.com/sfl6dk.jpg . Set sensitivity to the highest value and now you get a pointing device that's perfect for advanced users. :)
Best pointing device ever.
You can keep your hand in home position for typing and manipulate the cursor. It doesn't actually move, but is force sensitive and is delicately calibrated to move in an intuitive manner.
EDIT -- I'm not certain you can find a keyboard with a Trackpoint that isn't part of a Thinkpad anymore. There used to be a couple of licensed versions in addition to the IBM-branded ones.
Unicomp sells heavy, clacky-key, IBM Model-M style keyboards with the trackpoint built in
Sort of pricey, but really nice whwn you want to hack with your feet up and the keyboard in your lap, and not have to reach for a mouse.
As for the acceleration, like with any human input device, that's something you get used to, and it can be configured a bit as well.
I love my TrackPad. I won't buy a laptop without one. Unfortunately, these days, there are fewer and fewer available...
But while browsing or looking up documentation, I need the pointing device and then the accuracy and the gestures of the trackpad come in very handily.
I'm just wondering if you think the trackpad is better than their mouse. I've only played around with it at the store. Worth the upgrade do you think?
Please help me understand why people are gushing over a $70 trackpad (even made by Apple), when most people mock similar input devices costing over $30.
First, external multitouch trackpads have been basically unobtainable until now. Apple bought the one company that used to make them and incorporated their technology into Apple products years ago. The only other model I've seen was an obscure Japanese import that only supported Windows. If you like trackpads, the Magic Trackpad is the first time in years you can buy one for your desktop.
Second, Apple makes the best trackpads in the industry by a huge margin. They're smooth and precise to a degree that PC laptop trackpads seem incapable of matching. The experience is comparable to the touchscreen on an iPhone or iPad. If you're not a Mac user it can be hard to appreciate the difference; I'm always shocked at how awful PC trackpads are every time I use non-Apple hardware. I'm used to hearing people complain about how much they hate trackpads, but if everyone had an Apple trackpad I suspect opinions would be quite different.
Do you have any research to back that up? I don't doubt that Apple trackpads are of high quality, probably even the best.
That said, the placebo effect can be very powerful when attempting to gauge how easy it is to interact with a computer.
Well if you did, it wouldn't work!
I don't think the Mac trackpad is anywhere close to a placebo. It's a parachute issue. (http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/327/7429/1459). For the platform (personal computing), the mac trackpad is a hands-down winner.
Part of the problem is that Synaptics and Alps Electric together supply the vast majority of PC trackpads, and I've got no problem calling them out for poor quality. Why worry about performance when you've got a duopoly and your customers are OEMs who only care about price?
If average PC track pads are as good as the average non-iPhone touch sensitive screens (yes, a fuzzy comparison, but probably the right ball park), then you'd expect the Apple ones to be better.
Thank you for the informative reply.
I have 2 laptops - one mac and one windows both with trackpads. On the windows laptop I still use an external mouse.
Frankly, I don't get it. Trackpads are vastly inferior to mice. I bring a mouse with my macbook whenever I can.
Turn up your trackpad's sensitivity.
Also, if you have a keyboard driven workflow, a trackpad means shorter travel from the keyboard to the mouse.
(cough) Trackpoint (cough)
(It’s something you have to get used to, though. When all I had was a desktop I didn’t think I could ever use anything else but a mouse. After I got my ThinkPad I thought I could never manage without a track point. And right now I like my trackpad on my MBP best and would never rather use a mouse [exception: gaming]. Oh, and then there’s the two finger scrolling. Damn precise, better than any mouse wheel I ever used.)
Almost all other companies with >100 employees are turning out mostly crappy products that no one gets excited about. When's the last time you talked about a Xerox printer or HP laptop? In my mind this is why a company like Nokia can't make a comeback into the smartphone market: they're probably unable to motivate a small team and then let them work out a cool product. Or they can't amortize away the risk of that team being on the wrong track, the way most startups are.
Apple can consistently pull this off, how do they do it?
The difference between Belkin and Apple is that Belkin has a history of mediocrity, while Apple does not. Apple earned their enormous reservoir of good will through years of great products.
Apple has the power to move something out of a niche market.
I'm not trying to idolize the guy, it's just how the company works (internally, and in the market).
Apple bought FingerWorks to get the patents. The "new" trackpad from Apple is essentially a reimplementation of the iGesture pad with some modifications. Specifically, it's now cordless, there have been some cosmetic changes (color and shape), and they've made some changes in the mapping of gestures to operations and added some new gestures that weren't in the original product.
Apple devote their attention to products - and update them when they please.
They don't have to "keep up" with anyone else either, which applies especially in the Windows laptop market.
I have mine set up to move from tab to tab on two-finger swipes to the left and right, refresh the page with a three-fingered swipe up, close the tab with a three-finger swipe down, and two fingers up and down will activate expose and spaces respectively. There are a lot more gestures available to customize as well, I'm irritated Apple doesn't allow you that level of customization out of the box.
So with all that said, I think the track pad doesn't add much value, at least for me. My advice is to get the Magic Mouse, unless you actually hate it as a mouse (which some people do).
Now... if only there were drivers for something other than just OSX.
I think they're missing a huge opportunity here by not providing those drivers.
Obviously an opportunity they have decided they don't care about, I just wish they did.
The iPod and the iPhone are only so popular because they embraced PC in all its ... glory. Hopefully they're already working on this.
I can't imagine this would affect actual sales though, just another of example of when Apple's secrecy can be irritating for some of us.
Windows support for the original iPod arrived two years later.
(and keep two spares, in case the main one ever breaks)
The thing I'm wondering: My iGesture pad still works, and still has way more gestures than the Trackpad. For example - twisting clockwise with four fingers is "close" (it presses command-w for you), which is pretty natural. Will the Magic Trackpad be able to handle this with software updates, or will we have to hack it to do the things its predecessor could do 5 years ago?
Also, be sure to check out all of the crazy multitouch products Fingerworks had before they were acquired. My favorite was the insane keyboard at the bottom of http://fingerworks.com/.
Also, I think most people expect to change out a computer every couple years, but a mouse is supposed to last longer. If the thing became incapable of holding charge after 18 months it would get customers riled.
After using a Magic Mouse for 6 months, I can say the rechargeable battery station is a must buy, I have to change my MM batteries every 3 weeks or so.
AA batteries are cheap and common, so people will have spares to swap.
OTOH laptop batteries are much more expensive and non-standard, so less users are going to have spares. It makes sense to cater to majority of users who never buy & carry extra battery.
Maybe I'm an idiot but I didn't realize the PS3 controller was wireless in the first place. It felt too light to have a battery in it.
The performance for rechargeables vary quite a bit as well. Apple might be trying to control the all parts of the experience by providing good rechargeables.
When the mouse's battery runs low, you just connect the (included) micro-USB cable. The mouse recharges and can be used at the same time, albeit tethered. Once's it's charged, put the cable away and keep on working.
It's not a pocket portable so let's not get all hung up on saving space for packaging. It doesn't work that way with a Mac Pro either, why is there so much spaaaace in there?
There are so many chargeable AA's on the market that it's simple for someone to get a set of them cheaply and reuse them for a long time without having to dock their trackpad all the time. Wireless!
I already have something like 8-10 of them because I have a wii and a digital camera etc etc etc so I'm happy that I won't have to pay for a new battery in 2-3 years.
I don't think Steve know this has removable batteries ;)
I'm able to use both hands equally well (though I might be hinging a tad bit to prefer the left hand). This could mean that I can alternate my pointing hand here and then
For starters, a command-key could reconfigure it into a numeric keypad. Then incorporate custom per-app controls. (There are already iPad apps that do this.)
Such an iPad app would have the promise of the Optimus OLED keyboard. It would be much better, since high fabrication costs wouldn't be a barrier. It would have the potential to be a game-changer in terms of PC productivity.
Imagine integration with Eclipse for such a device. For example, when you execute your app in debug mode, it could configure itself as a debug remote. When you switch to an editor window, it could display editor macros and shortcuts.
Alternative: a 5" or 7" multitouch LCD device with a similar form factor to the Trackpad that doubles as a universal remote.
I have the iPhone version, and it's pretty slick even with the wifi in between. That said, I'm still a bit miffed they didn't make it a universal app. :\
I think that putting screens on trackpads, keyboards, or remotes (you use them to control other screens) is a horrible idea.
Looking is optional for the device I described. You'd only have to look in moments of managing greater complexity, which is the correct time.
For a DVR, the second screen is very useful. You get context-driven visual feedback without impinging on the video content in the main screen. Someone could check on a game or look up a related Wikipedia entry without interrupting everyone else's viewing. Someone could queue the next YouTube bit without the same.
It's a bit of effort because it requires new functionality throughout the software stack, from the low-level kernel drivers to higher-level X hooks, and ideally in the future, hooks in UI toolkits to do more application-level things with gestures.
Unfortunately the Macbook trackpad doesn't have middle click natively. However, with BetterTouchTool you can assign commands for 2, 3, 4, and even 5 finger clicks. For five finger click you have to include the thumb. This means that clicking the trackpad with your thumb while a single finger is on it is a 2 finger click, which I prefer to be a regular left click. These are all settings you can control.
Anyway, BetterTouchTool lets you configure a whole bunch of different actions (clicking or swiping in different parts of the pad with a different number of fingers) to activate a whole bunch of commands.
Someone mentioned above jitouch which handles the mm trackpad and the magic pad. I haven't tried it but it looks interesting. Not free though.
Edit: I just tried out jitouch and it works with magicprefs as much as I use it for. I only use magicprefs for the middle click function and the tracking speed. I really like the tap to switch tabs. It's a well made application and only 6 bucks. I think I am going to permanently use it now.
However, I think there's probably a limit on how many gestures you can keep in your head, it's a lot easier remembering keyboard shortcuts than gestures. I can probably only keep track of five different gestures per app, but I'm sure I can probably recall at least 20 different keyboard combos when I use a tool like emacs.
No doubt BetterTouchTool will be updated to support this, making it far more useful: http://blog.boastr.net/
Why spend every day docking/undock the thing (or charging the batteries when they die) when I can slip new batteries in once every 6 months?
1) A 24 pack of AA batteries somewhere near your desk should last over a year, and you should have storage area somewhere to accommodate it.
2) AA batteries generally come in easy-to-rip cardboard packs, so no fighting with the container and hurting yourself.
3) The environment argument could fall either way; I suspect neither of us has seen definitive research regarding the total environmental cost of disposable vs. rechargeable batteries.
If you are not already enslaved to your digital camera's power inefficiency then perhaps buying brand new batteries might be more comfortable.
In regard to environment your 24 pack of AAs wouldn't probably have any significant difference whatsoever and you won't live long enough to observe any. The impression, though, that rechargeable batteries are more environmental friendly will provide you with nice dopamine boost each time your device needs resupplying.
* If it will be Inkwell compatible someday if not now: http://www.apple.com/accessibility/macosx/physical.html
* If it will BT pair with iPhone like the BT keyboard.
And No, since you can't pair a bluetooth mouse with the iPhone, you also won't be able to pair a trackpad.
They got bought by Apple for their multi-touch experience.
"It feels just like using a slightly larger version of a MacBook or MacBook Pro pad. And we mean exactly, right down to the multitouch gestures and whole-pad click."
If anyone has information on Windows 7 drivers for the Magic Mouse (whichare presumably the same), let us know!
Otherwise I'll have to write them myself. :)
The MacBook with two-finger scroll was revolutionary for me, and I've never seen any manufacturer beat that pad.
Well, any other manufacturer. The glass trackpad on my MBP is something else, and this is just a bigger version of that. Awesome.
Apple are unbelievably ahead of the curve on this, I'm not quite sure why the other manufacturers are failing so badly. The trackpad on my HP workstations are as-good-as unusable in comparison. I always have to use a mouse.
- It's cordless - you can put it on the left or right or anywhere else.
- You don't strictly need a mouse.
- I remember thinking the touch-surface on the magic moues was silly -but now I miss it when Idon't have it... and I actually suspect (won't know until I try) that the increased size of the new touchpad will be an important factor - you'll essentially be able to use a finger like a mouse on a pad - without needing to necessarily resposition very much - giving you veyr mouse-like behavior.
That's about it.
I think in the future there will be more integration of something like the iPad or the iPhone as direct interface to the computer.
That said, it shouldn't.
Why would anyone prefer indirect manipulation of a cursor over direct manipulation of the screen elements? If you've got an iPad in a keyboard dock, you're primarily writing and occasionally navigating. I don't see the use case.
Gorilla-arm would only set in if you were primarily navigating, in which case you'd just undock the thing.