Macbook Pro glass trackpad (on ultrabooks, now)

Panini

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
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Palo Alto, CA
EDIT: A windows computer has finally been able to copy Apple's glass trackpad. Can't say I'm happy about it, though.

"we were happy to learn that Lenovo's engineers developed a completely new touchpad for the X1 Carbon. One of the first things you'll notice about the new touchpad is that it's larger than the old one (37% larger than the touchpad on the original X1). It's actually a "clickpad" (a buttonless touchpad surface that lets you click anywhere) with multi-gesture support. Also, the performance of this touchpad is more accurate than the old X1 with 10 times the data throughput from the touchpad to the PC (meaning more accurate tracking of your fingertips). The big secret, however, is the amazing new glass touchpad surface."


I usually hate trackpads. I loathe them. I even use those trackballs in the middle of the keyboard instead of standard trackpads.

But Apple's trackpad is different. For someone who never ever uses trackpads for even browsing, I've been using the MBP glass trackpad for everything including light gaming (like minecraft - nothing serious).

My question is, why hasn't anybody else been able to get it right? Is there an audience out there that prefers those windows trackpads? The matte texture, poor accuracy and dedicate click buttons seem like a definite no to me.

Whenever Apple gets something right, it's not long before everybody starts to do it. So why aren't windows laptops catching on yet? Apple's patents haven't really stopped anyone.

Also, what is it about the trackpad that makes it so nice? I'm considering getting a magic trackpad just because it's so good!
 
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tmanto02

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Jun 5, 2011
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Also, what is it about the trackpad that makes it so nice? I'm considering getting a magic trackpad just because it's so good!
The trackpad uses capacitive technology similar to your iPhone and iPad.

With regard to the reason why PCs are yet to come up with anything similar i'm not to sure. I'm guessing it might have something to do with Apple's patents on 'multi-touch technology'.
 

Panini

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
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Palo Alto, CA
The trackpad uses capacitive technology similar to your iPhone and iPad.

With regard to the reason why PCs are yet to come up with anything similar i'm not to sure. I'm guessing it might have something to do with Apple's patents on 'multi-touch technology'.
That explains a lot since almost no pressure is required and it feels the exact same.

As for multi-touch, I've recently started seeing a lot of windows computers using two-finger scrolling. lsn't that patented by apple?
 

tmanto02

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Jun 5, 2011
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Yeah most PCs these days are integrating the two finger scroll, but they are pretty terrible, maybe because they can;t use Apples tech.
 

Stack

macrumors member
Aug 30, 2009
31
0
On all my previous laptops I would run away from the trackpad and always put my microsoft trackball on because I hated it.

Since getting a MacPro a few years back I finally found a trackpad that I can use and not feel limited. All the gestures scrolling, etc have made this the best trackpad I have ever used.
 

LeeM

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2012
603
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The trackpad is a big reason I went with a MacBook, it's an absolute joy to use. Gestures and multitouch make general use so much easier
 

Dronac

macrumors member
Jun 19, 2012
72
0
I am VERY picky about laptop trackpads. When I carry a laptop, the laptop needs to be able to function on it's own. I refuse to carry a bag full of bluetooth/USB devices to make it functional. Some laptops tend to throw in a trackpad almost as an afterthought. Browsing through Best Buy last night, every single laptop had a left offset trackpad (even when no num pad was present) and they were usually very small. Add on the poor trackpad drivers in Windows and you have a disaster.

There are 3 things I look for in a laptop that will immediately disqualify one from consideration.
- Trackpad is in the dead center of the laptop and there is no num pad
- Smooth trackpad drivers
- Chicklet style keyboard (For the life of me I can't use small laptop keyboards unless they are chicklet style. They seem to correspond better to the spacing of desktop keyboards)
 

minnus

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2011
347
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Yeah most PCs these days are integrating the two finger scroll, but they are pretty terrible, maybe because they can;t use Apples tech.
Comments like these make it pretty obvious that one hasn't used a recent/premium Windows-based laptop. For example, the Asus Zenbook supports upto 5 touches, and is capable of implementing gestures.

The only issue is that drivers are poor in the sense that some people will find it too sensitive, or not sensitive enough.
 

arashb

macrumors 6502
May 3, 2009
256
0
I usually hate trackpads. I loathe them. I even use those trackballs in the middle of the keyboard instead of standard trackpads.

But Apple's trackpad is different. For someone who never ever uses trackpads for even browsing, I've been using the MBP glass trackpad for everything including light gaming (like minecraft - nothing serious).

My question is, why hasn't anybody else been able to get it right? Is there an audience out there that prefers those windows trackpads? The matte texture, poor accuracy and dedicate click buttons seem like a definite no to me.

Whenever Apple gets something right, it's not long before everybody starts to do it. So why aren't windows laptops catching on yet? Apple's patents haven't really stopped anyone.

Also, what is it about the trackpad that makes it so nice? I'm considering getting a magic trackpad just because it's so good!
This is one of the reasons why I can justify spending 2k on a laptop :]. I'm never tempted to use a mouse, unless I'm playing a game, because the trackpad is perfect.


Comments like these make it pretty obvious that one hasn't used a recent/premium Windows-based laptop. For example, the Asus Zenbook supports upto 5 touches, and is capable of implementing gestures.

The only issue is that drivers are poor in the sense that some people will find it too sensitive, or not sensitive enough.
I've been using multi-touch since my 2008 MBP. Yeah recent Windows have multi-touch enabled trackpads but they have absolutely nothing on Apples trackpad.
 

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
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No doubt Apple has patented left-right-and-centre so other companies have limited options. Are there any other glass trackpads out there?
 

robvas

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Mar 29, 2009
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USA
The driver has a lot to do with hit - boot up linux on your Macbook and the trackpad feels terrible compared to OS X
 

tmanto02

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Jun 5, 2011
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Comments like these make it pretty obvious that one hasn't used a recent/premium Windows-based laptop. For example, the Asus Zenbook supports upto 5 touches, and is capable of implementing gestures.

The only issue is that drivers are poor in the sense that some people will find it too sensitive, or not sensitive enough.
Haha funny you say that, I work in retail in a computer store. The zenbook trackpad is still very shonky. Even the firmware update didn't do much
 

gentlefury

macrumors 68030
Jul 21, 2011
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Los Angeles, CA
I feel the same way. I hate trackpads...but apple always does it right. I actually use my trackpad near exclusively for non-technically useage on my macbook....actually I've started using two hands when using a mouse now. Mouse with right hand and gestures with left.
 

Panini

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
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Palo Alto, CA
I'm considering getting a magic trackpad to use with windows laptops since they can pretty much be used only with a mouse.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
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Apple - Function follows form
Everyone else - form follows function
I would say that Apple's trackpad functionality is better than everyone else's, regardless of appearance.

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I'm considering getting a magic trackpad to use with windows laptops since they can pretty much be used only with a mouse.
Might not be the best idea until you try out Apple's trackpad under Bootcamp. Their drivers are workable on Windows but not as good as under OSX.
 

tmanto02

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Might not be the best idea until you try out Apple's trackpad under Bootcamp. Their drivers are workable on Windows but not as good as under OSX.
The magic trackpad works with windows, but it the overall experience drops from 10/10 to 5/10 i think
 

minnus

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2011
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Haha funny you say that, I work in retail in a computer store. The zenbook trackpad is still very shonky. Even the firmware update didn't do much
I temporarily owned the Zenbook UX31A, and I also own an MBA. I returned the UX31A for Quality Control reasons (which isn't saying much. I had to go through 4x MBAs before I got one that wasn't noticeably flawed in some way). During that time, I experimented with the trackpad. Various versions of firmware works better different people based on preference/sensitivity. Does it take a bit of effort to find the perfect driver? Yes. Should consumers be responsible for finding such drivers? No - which is why Apple is so highly praised for their trackpads. Are they vastly inferior? No, it is not as good as Apple, but good enough for consideration.

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I've been using multi-touch since my 2008 MBP. Yeah recent Windows have multi-touch enabled trackpads but they have absolutely nothing on Apples trackpad.

I used the term recent because I am not familiar enough with previous laptops to make any sort of claims. That is not to say that they didn't exist.

I just wanted to point out this bias view of Non-Mac trackpads, since most of us judge our trackpad experience using a $400-700 laptops - and is immediately wowed by far more expensive laptops.
 

tmanto02

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Jun 5, 2011
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I just wanted to point out this bias view of Non-Mac trackpads, since most of us judge our trackpad experience using a $400-700 laptops - and is immediately wowed by far more expensive laptops.
Very true, One of the very points I use when discussing Macs with PC users. I sell computers for a living and the most common objection I get for macs is "why would i spend $1300 for a mac when I can get the same specs in a pc for $500?". Usually a quick demo changes their mind.
 

w00t951

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2009
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Pittsburgh, PA
My God, I hate PC trackpads.

First it was the size. They were the size of postage stamps and jerked around a lot. Sony textured their pads, which is a bit like making a condom with velcro inside.

Then it was the drivers. They're still not there. Macintosh scrolling feels natural and people immediately pick it up. Soon, it's impossible to use a mouse (not during gaming) and not miss the trackpad.

Even "multitouch" trackpads require auxiliary Windows drivers, and scrolling or using gestures on them is a bit like trying to defuse a bomb whilst wearing oven mitts. Instead of the fine grain control you find with a MacBook trackpad, you get giant, jerky leaps around the page.
 

Interstella5555

macrumors 603
Jun 30, 2008
5,219
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I would say that Apple's trackpad functionality is better than everyone else's, regardless of appearance.

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Might not be the best idea until you try out Apple's trackpad under Bootcamp. Their drivers are workable on Windows but not as good as under OSX.
I would respectfully disagree from experience of pretty much every other trackpad I've ever used.
 

gentlefury

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Jul 21, 2011
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Los Angeles, CA
Very true, One of the very points I use when discussing Macs with PC users. I sell computers for a living and the most common objection I get for macs is "why would i spend $1300 for a mac when I can get the same specs in a pc for $500?". Usually a quick demo changes their mind.
I hate when people say that. I've stopped trying to convince anyone. I just enjoy my macs and let them complain that their windows machine is broken all the time.
 

striker33

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2010
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Comments like these make it pretty obvious that one hasn't used a recent/premium Windows-based laptop. For example, the Asus Zenbook supports upto 5 touches, and is capable of implementing gestures.

The only issue is that drivers are poor in the sense that some people will find it too sensitive, or not sensitive enough.
I've used the Zenbook trackpad, and whilst its a definite improvement over normal windows trackpads, its still terrible.