What makes this totally different from the touch bar is with the touch bar, you have to wait for developers to add support in their products (or as a dev, write your own tooling). Apple has the muscle to simply make everyone support their crappy bar.
The ZenBook screen is usable right away by anybody. You can just drag any window there. It can be your Steam chat while playing a game, it can be a browser with a Twitch stream or soccer game running in the background while your program, it can be your color pallet for Resolve while editing video ...
It can be used for a lot of things the end user can take advantage of immediately without waiting for a developer to make explicit use of it.
I wonder if it will work on Linux.
If it's on one of the built-in Intel graphics outputs, then it will likely work out of the box (though of course none of the desktops will understand where it's supposed to be and probably put it in the wrong place, etc...).
If it's some crazy piece of hardware Asus found, then maybe never.
Changing display layout on modern Linux desktops is really really simple IMO.
You just open display settings and drag them into the layout you want.
xrandr --output $touchpadscreen --below $builtinscreen
And, even if the hardware can be hacked for Linux the question becomes, how can it be made functional in a desktop environment independent way?
Been doing R&D for a similar concept for several years, a detached video enabled trackpad. The key functionality which all concepts to date lack, is being OS agnostic and allowing end-user customization of functionality.
It's a good effort, but is likely only the beginning...
Do you mean that I can have a laptop with an integrated secondary display to have a Zabbix monitoring panel on it?
This might be the sysadmins' favorite laptop!
What a time to be alive!
I have a retired smartphone on my desk showing a live feed to my doorbell cam, and I could see myself using that Zenbook's touchpad screen as a Zoneminder window.
In any case, far better than removing a set of useful keys from the top of a physical keyboard.
Add: this also enables new types of casual games, similar to Wordament, Angry Birds etc. Oh, and better smudge tools on Photoshop.
Clearly it will appeal to gadgeteers (as much as I expect the touchbar does) who can use it for instrumentation or other generally distracting applications. Then there is the blindingly obvious: video editing on a laptop always sucks, there is never enough screen space. But moving the monitor window (rendered video preview) to the touchpad area might change that considerably -- it amounts to a 25% increase in display area, and in a 'natural application' of video editing, the monitor would be separate anyway.
I think this design, simply by virtue of being optional, and large and rectangular, is hugely more applicable than the touchbar.
The modality (pumping F6 to enable/disable) could definitely be improved upon. I can imagine it quite natural to use a hot corner of the pad itself as a toggle, or perhaps some gesture or similar.
Very excited to see how these work out in the real world
moving the monitor window (rendered video preview) to
the touchpad area might change that considerably
I'm also up for dual display laptops where the clamshell of a laptop is two touchscreens. It would help water proof the device, simplify the mechanics (lower cost?), give options for keyboard layout (improved ergonomics?) increase full screen size when fully unfolded and might be more comfortable than the stiff keys on the latest gen of MBP. I use an external keyboard when I'm at my desk and want a tactile full size keyboard, so I wouldn't be stuck with only glass.
It costs additional power (with no clear benefit).
Its another point of failure.
It has a big learning curve.
It requires one to look away from the screen (pro users needn't to look at their keyboard).
It replaced something which worked very well: esc key and function keys (who also had F-keys with "fn" combo).
IMO it is an interesting usability concept from an R&D PoV, but not something to be shoved in the throat of users. Unfortunately, Apple decided it is the way forward for MBP users with no option to turn back except for legacy products or switching ship.
I'd be surprised if something didn't exist for Android tablets. But if you have an old laptop laying around, maybe throw w10 on it and see if it works?
On the other hand, you can use something like Synergy, but that's not quite the same thing.
Besides, at best, your touchpad has little fingerprints, at worst it has a lot. With a normal touchpad this doesn't matter, but with a touchscreen (or touchpad-touchscreen) it suddenly does. Furthermore, it is a spot where your hands are, so in order to see it, you gotta move your hands. Both are not very useful features. If I want a tablet, I'll get one instead. Furthermore, the touchpad is pretty small (compared to Apple's latest) and doesn't have the haptic feedback the latest have. Though mine doesn't have that either on the MBP 2015, but that's because I don't want butterfly keyboard or TouchBar.
I'll put this one in the category of the TouchBar (which has already been discussed to death): with all honesty a very interesting research product indeed but don't put in your flagship product please. TYVM /bow.
Real-world power consumption for a good smartphone display is ~500mW. That represents just under 5% of the iPhone 8's battery capacity per hour, but 0.7% of the ZenBook's battery.
In the worst-case scenario, the touchpad display will reduce battery life from 9 hours to 8.5 hours. In a more realistic scenario, the power consumption of the touchpad display is a rounding error compared to the consumption of the i9-8950HK processor, the GTX 1050 GPU and the 4K main display.
Somehow, people cope with their smartphone being covered in fingerprints.
> Somehow, people cope with their smartphone being covered in fingerprints.
I don't, but if I mostly type and scroll on the bottom, the fingerprints are mostly on the keyboard part. So I tend to read the top and maybe mid of my screen and then scroll further.
I actually preferred the time with hardware keyboards for example because screen stayed pristine back then, and phones were much more durable. Alas, those phones are exceptions, and if you also have other special interests such as long-term support, high uptime on one juice load, or the liberty to e.g. run SailfishOS your options quickly diminish. So my smartphone does not have a hardware keyboard, but that does not mean I don't prefer that. Choosing a smartphone is a matter of concessions. Choosing a MBP, idem.
Finally, given how often people are replacing their smartphones, I'm not exactly sure if "people cope with their smartphone" in general.
I have an Zenbook ux501 that runs on wired power most of the time anyways so battery life isn't a concern for me personally, but I'd use that touchscreen as a security cam monitor, system resource monitor or some type of dashboard. I use a mouse most of the time anyways, so most laptop touchpads are useless to me.
> The [Excel and Word] ribbon where they live occupies 20% of the screen on the ZenBook Pro, so shifting those functions to the top edge of the trackpad gives you more space to do your work.
It still has the problem where you have to take your eyes off your screen in order to interact with it, so I imagine there'd be some effort involved in getting used to actually looking at the touch pad while you poke at it. That said, if there are good app integrations that are intuitive and turn the thing into more than a pointing device (and not just a Spotify controller or some such), then I'm interested to see what those could be.
It'd be quite nice, for example, if it allowed notifications to pop up on a part of the touchpad instead of obscuring what you're working on, allowing you to tap that part of the touchpad to open it up instead of moving the pointer to the corner of the screen.
Why isn't that plus haptic feedback good enough for the examples you mentioned?
Are you familiar with the state of the art? Is this thing going to be as responsive as a regular touchpad?
> Project Precog is designed to provide a smooth and intuitive experience for industry-leading AI technologies. With support for the Windows Cortana and Amazon Alexa voice services, the dual-screen design lets you keep your main tasks in full view while Cortana and Alexa process other tasks on the second screen
Definitely feels like a weird marketing gimmick atop an already strong looking product offering.
1. It will require a lot of developer effort and testing on this specific device. I regard this as a move in the bad direction: Computer interfaces should be more unified, not less.
2. You're giving the touchpad two functions which are not compatible (and the second function is not necessary: we already have a screen!). If you're happily clicking your way through stuff and some menu suddenly shows up, you will click a bunch of random stuff.
If you have Spotify on your touchpad like in the picture in the article, that means that you can't use your touchpad - I imagine it would be bloody annoying.
For obvious reasons it can’t be both a touchpad and a touch screen at the same time.
Components not made in China are actually more expensive to source there outside of SEZs.
The LCD and OLED panel in your phone is more likely made in China by a Chinese company, the irony is now that even Samsung had use Visionox AMOLED in their phones especially recently because they were constrained with supplying their OLEDs to Apple.
ASUS does not make displays the only Taiwanese display manufacturer is AU Optronics IIRC and they don't make small and medium size displays.
The only thing that China still doesn't do well are large screen OLEDs (LG is now building a factory in China for that) and that's about it.
China is oddly pushing AMOLED to the limit and are leading the development as far as flexible displays go much further than Samsung or LG do at least publicly.
I got one for my girlfriend and another one for my dad, around the same time one of my dev friends also decided to move to ZenBook from rMBP.
Compared to Macbooks it looks, feels and works cheap (the trackpad, d'oh), but that's not the major issue as almost everything is that way excepting Surafaces/XPSes.
But the real issue here is this: hinges. They're horrible. They break every 2 to 9 months. Their quality is also very easy to test - just open any ZenBook in shop and wobble it. Macbook's screen is as solid as rock, won't move an ich, while ZenBooks one - well, it wobbles. Almost unusable on the bus for example, your screen will shake as hell on even smallest bump or corner. And then the hinges will break and Asus will replace them for you. And the new ones will last a year, if you're lucky. Then it happens again and again and all of sudden you're out of warranty and at this point, after replacing hinges for a few times, you're told that they'd gladly replace them for you - and it costs only around $400, while you paid for your ZenBoook $1000, two years ago. %#$# them.
And I wasn't unlucky, this is considered normal for Asus:
Terrible, terrible build quality and no respect for consumers, don't even go near them.
But you're right, it's been so many years and ASUS still haven't figured out hinges that don't break? Don't think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
It's been a while and I got rid of it but IIRC it still provided power but was under watt, you can confirm by comparing the normal level for you model.
BTW once you've confirmed you can pretty much dump it, won't be easy to find fix other than getting a replacement motherboard, which is pretty much everything.
Too bad it's on a computer that is called the MacBook Pro. For those not in the know, Pro stands for "Professional".
If you are willing to try out windows, the surface pros are actually pretty sweat. I got one for my gf for grad school and will probably get one for myself if my MBP ever dies.
I’m not big fan of the touch bar either, but to state an opinion as fact is just bad journalism.
Apple has really dropped the ball on their entire line and the touchbar eliminating a lot of useful keys is a pretty bad idea compared to replacing the touchpad.
It is amazingly fast and the speakers sound great, but overall I cannot approach the productivity of my 2015 model given the increased typos and accidental Touch Bar inputs that cause weird things to happen.
Do people not read these anymore or know what they are?
I don’t care about office integration, all I care about is how well it operates compared to the trackpad on a MacBook, and I donut I’m the only one.
If they fixed that, there'd still be the issue of usability & utility. This doesn't seem like a complementary feature, it seems like two separate devices bolted together that require heavy context shifting (e.g. if the music card is up, you can't just use the trackpad to access something else on your computer). As implemented it seems like yet another electronics company gimmick like 3d TVs - made because its easy to build, not because the feature offers enough utility to justify its complexity.
That said, I hold out hope for a lay-flat dual-display clamshell with proper haptics and that re-thinks the entire input UI around that paradigm.
I could buy this laptop only for that, even if with Linux I'll probably have to wait the next laptop before the touchscreen is of any use. But no, the RAM is capped at 16 GB and I'm using 32 GB on my HP laptop (several projects for several customers, each one with a different language and environment.)
However my 15" laptop has a useless (for me) number pad with the result that I have to shift it half to the right to be able to keep my hands in front of me and not skewed to the left, which would probably do nasty things to all my upper body. This is the norm for all 15" laptops and I wonder if their designers stopped at the cover page of Norman's "The Design of Everyday Things", with the famous teapot for masochists, and deluded themselves into believing that this is the right way to build stuff.
Oh the keypad hell, it's been such a RSI inducer on my back for years. What nonsense is this to put a keypad on the right side of keyboards which results, being right handed, in either the mouse being too far right or the keyboard being off center.
But I still wanna put it out there for all the external keyboard users.
CES 2017 coverage by Engadget: https://youtu.be/LrbJWiAc6JI
Around the 5:50 mark: "Obviously you could watch movies and stuff on this [the touchpad screen]."
Who writes this stuff.
i am sure the next step, someone will replace the physical keyboard, with full size touch screen and software keyboard
and future laptops will come with two screens and no keyboard ... and they will be like tablets with double screen,
and then someone will sell a physical keyboard accessory to the two screen laptop
and .. it will be very confusing
Already done many years ago:
It seems to support acting as a second display so I'm feeling optimistic about Linux.
Putting buttons on a touchpad is not the best idea because they would interfere with its normal usage.
And by the way, why nobody makes separate keys for layout switching? It is very inconvenient to have a single key to switch layouts (like Win + Space that is the default for Gnome). It would be much better to have separate physical keys for each language so I can start typing with one of them and never type in the wrong layout.
Seriously, why didn't anyone invented it yet?
Perhaps the user demand is not so big or even noticeable? It starts to make sense when you type in more than two languages regularly. I would argue that there are only couple of percents of bilingual users and people using three and more languages are even less common.
You have to switch to Latin to type things like emails, URLs, foreign band names etc. And if you are writing a code then you have to switch constantly to type comments and messages in your naive language. So inconvenient.
Bilingual users are not that rare, at least at school most people in my country study some foreign language. Of course it doesn't mean they are going to use it after graduation, but anyway.
As an option, that'd be nice. But that'd probably require re-engineering the inside shell...
(Although the digits used are different. When in landscape, my fingers cradle a phone at a 45-60 degree angle with both thumbs used for input. On a horizontal touchpad the index finger(s) are doing much of the input)
Wasn't the whole point of AMP to stop this crap?
AMP is more focused on UI responsiveness with things like having a fixed content layout so the page doesn't jump around when things load, as well as loading things asynchronously in the background so first paint is faster. Splitting up the JS so only the first paint JS loads immediately and then progressively upgrade the page is actually a good thing. It makes it immediately usable for slow connections.
I don’t know how to explain this, but I just no longer feels the need to press an esc key, and no more tapping for adjusting volume/brightness. I can also adjust font size or color in Words using the touchbar. My I can choose an emjoi in hipchat client using touchbar application. It feels great.
This, I don’t know, really weird. I might have to try it, but I doubt I will like it at all. The whole purpose seems like a secondry screen to me. Constantly having to look down instead of looking at the bigger screen so you can control is so backward to me.
...unlike doing the same thing with TouchBar (?)
Better: "But after only two days of using it, I liked it; I have been using Pro version for another ~3 months now and I still love the TouchBar."
I think this kind of thing is pretty cool, but ultimately, a touchpad below my keyboard is akin to the ones on the dashboard of many modern cars (though a lot less dangerous) in that I don't want to look there.
Also I think there was a gaming computer with a screen for a numpad.
I honestly forget that's a thing most of the time.
It's tough to imagine the end-user utility will outweigh the engineering challenges to make this viable longterm.
Or maybe it says more about the economics. Screens have gotten cheaper since then.
On the flip side, having all keys as little oleds that can be remapped to anything I want is something I would likely use constantly.
I don't want to look down to make sure I'm not opening menus or whatever.
On the other hand, I can see a use for modal controls. Sliders, knobs and so on.
But then I would also like a dedicated pointing device as well, like a trackpoint.
I’d expect a standard user (and even myself) to be highly confused about if they can use the area as a trackpad or if they need to toggle some mode.
> Use the Touch Bar as an extension of the keyboard and trackpad, not as a display.
Apple's bar is one dimensional, which limits what it can be used for. I wouldn't trade that for physical keys I press every day.
Apple is probably bummed they didn’t release it first.
EDIT: I'm thinking of the Acer Iconia 6120, not an Asus product.
Regardless, why not just improve on using one's phone the way you can already with some 3rd party apps... since almost the first day touch screen phones were available? It can at least be positioned anywhere that works for you.
You'd also save the world a cycle of e-waste for the sake of “we too” 2nd hand innovation.
Imagine Microsoft would have actually worked with them to salvage and re-purpose the millions of Windows phones (now in dumpsters and land fills), as detachable touch pads.
The Amazon Fire Laptop with Special Offers.
I'm really surprised that Apple haven't combined the mac and the ipad yet.
But that’s for taps, not for a full scale UI on my trackpad with dragging sliders etc.
The entire notion of the trackpad is flawed. They are awful, and no one cares. People just use them so much that they get used to them and they don't notice how anymore.