Gestures May Replace Pointer

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Bushy162, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    The trackpad may not exist as you know it on the MacBooks out this year.
    Gestures will remain, but the ability to move the pointer using a finger may very well be non-existent.

    The pointer is inferior to touchscreen. Those who need to draw now use an iPad.
    Those who need to type and move though Documents need a Mac, but do they REALLY need a pointer?
    Gestures can do it all. Imagine the scroll gesture, but for everything.
    The pointer has had it's time.
  2. macrumors demi-god


    You can't get rid of the pointer. How would you know what you're selecting? Touch screen is also horrible ergonomics for a notebook computer. Also, there are many who still prefer using a mouse over a trackpad, since the mouse is far more efficient for most operations.
  3. macrumors member

    Yes, the mouse is definitely nicer to use than a trackpad. But there's no alternative to a trackpad on a notebook unless you abolish the pointer. Is there?
  4. macrumors demi-god


    Again, you can't get rid of the pointer. How would you know which item you wanted to click if there was no pointer to show you had selected it?
  5. #5
    And as there are gestures, you could just program a gesture for every menu selection. It is quite easy, honestly, though you can probably throw your hands away after a day or two.
  6. macrumors member

    Say the selection were on a certain button, you would know that one next to it would require a swipe right or left or up or down.
  7. macrumors demi-god


    And how would you get the selection on a certain button without a pointer to let you know you had selected it?
  8. macrumors member

    Well you know when you press Tab to tab through menus etc. It's just like that, but with gestures. And you would know you had selected it because it would be highlighted blue.
  9. #9
    How to gesture these commands then? In other words, how do you select those?
    image clickable
  10. macrumors demi-god


    Not all elements can be reached via the Tab key. And what if it was the 157th item on the page? You really think tabbing 157 times is more efficient than simply moving the pointer to the desired location?
    Not all items get highlighted when they're selected. Many have no visual feedback at all, which is why the pointer is needed.
  11. #11
    Meaning it would get more complicated again just for the sake of gestures and not having a mouse pointer?
    Not everyone just uses FacialBook and the like, some even use a bit more complicated software daily, where gestures alone will slow down the entire process of working with them.
    While you may not like a mouse pointer, it is still an important tool to have.
  12. macrumors G5


    True...I'm using my Pro at the moment, and since I'm not doing anything that requires precision, I'm happy with the pad.

    It has it's own MM for other work...I had to put mt MBA on charge..Kinda got out of sync today, boy this 17" is a lump on my lap...Roll on tomorrow....Back to my iPad!
  13. macrumors demi-god


    Exactly! In fact, why have a screen at all? It takes up space, consumes energy, adds to the cost of computers, is easily broken, etc. Why not just eliminate the display altogether? The reason is you need the display to give visual feedback that the computer is doing what you want it to do. That's the same reason you need the pointer: visual feedback.
  14. macrumors 68000


    So you would use gesture after gesture after gesture to scroll through every item in every menu to get to where you want? Gestures are slower than simply pressing Tab. And pressing Tab to get to what you want is terribly slow and inefficient compared to the pointer.

    As long as you've got a trackpad and no touchscreen on these laptops, you need the pointer.
  15. macrumors 65816

    If they removed the pointer, the laptops would be a flop. End of story.

    If this was something they wanted to move to, their first step would be to add this gesture function in ADDITION to the pointer. Later, if people receive it well (haha), they would remove the pointer.
  16. blipmusic, Mar 15, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012

    macrumors regular

    This is the kind of thinking that gave us the crappy touch/stylus interfaces 10-15 (?) years ago.

    Simply put, the current crop of desktop GUIs, such as the one in OS X, are designed around the characteristics of a pointer's hover state -> click type of feedback/input concept (yes it's keyboard assisted for many of us, but that's beside the point).

    It also allows for relatively small designated input areas (a.k.a. 'precision'). What iOS, for example, does is to do away with most of the need for precision. That's one of the reasons its touch/gesture based UI works quite well. I.e. it is *designed* around the fact the input device (our sausage fingers) is relatively large [compared to the input area], isn't very pointy and that it at times might cover important bits of the GUI. The last point still needs some work (selection zoom-ins are sometimes off etc), but on the whole it's a world of difference to what Windows PDAs and tablet laptops of old were like.

    To simply slap on touch (and gestures as the OP proposes) without a fundamental redesign is bad design, period.

    Even Microsoft (who was probably the main offender back then) has realized this - compare Windows Mobile on an old PDA to the current UI of Windows Phone and even Windows 8.

    EDIT: For the sake of clarity, I do realize that the input area (trackpad) and the output area (screen) could be separate in the OP's proposal. This is in general terms of what not to do when changing the input type/concept. *All* current interfaces for consumer tech are compromises. The OP slaps another even less optimized compromise on top of an already existent one.
  17. macrumors regular

  18. macrumors regular

    Lol, that would make people hell of a slow typer. Gestures would be impossible to replace the pointer. I don't think having a touchscreen on a laptop is that bad, unless you have a macbook pro. On the air, the palm rest and keyboard area is inclined. So if you pretend you're typing at the screen, it feels 'un-awkward'. The pro though, might be a different story. You can always make a laptop/tablet. Let the keyboard and palm rest fold back and use the screen has a tablet. Like Lenovo has done with their X220 tablet version.
  19. macrumors 68030

    That would make my job pretty torturous! Lets hope nobody is dumb enough to incorporate this idea.
  20. macrumors regular

    The multi touch gestures make these the best trackpads that I've ever used, and I love sketching on my iPod, but for real work, working with text not images, and for games, and modeling, and so many other things, I will always choose a trackball over anything else, a cursor is just so much faster and more precise for many things.

    Now touch screens aren't a bad idea, I would hold my air like a book to draw, and It would be handy using DAW software I like the idea of having both.
  21. macrumors regular

    Apple invented the mouse. They aren't gonna get rid of it anytime soon.
  22. macrumors regular

    lol apple didn't invent the mouse.
  23. macrumors demi-god


    warfed is right. Apple did not invent the mouse. Not even close.

    If you want to know where both Apple and Microsoft got many of their ideas, look at the Xerox Star
  24. macrumors regular

  25. macrumors demi-god



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