Next Step in the Evolution of the Track Pad

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bisz, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Bisz macrumors regular

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    #1
    Here is an idea I though of that I'd like to share and discuss. No idea if its been brought up before.

    I think the next big step in the evolution of the track pad on MacBooks (and the stand alone peripheral for Mac desktops) will not include any new technology what so ever. It will take a technology that Apple has already perfected and simply apply it in a new and ingenious way.

    I think the next generation of track pads will be iPod Touches/iPhones. Or at least the displays.

    Track pads won't just be gray glass plates you can use to provide input, they will be displays providing you with output and feedback as well thus bringing the level of input you can provide to a whole new level.

    I think the next step after that will be expanding the track pad to include the entire area below the keyboard, including the palm wrests.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #2
    OK i'll bite although this has been brought up years ago:

    If the trackpad displays information, buttons and such you'll have to look constantly back and forth between the screen and the trackpad and make sure your hands don't cover anything important.

    In short I think it's a bad idea.
     
  3. reebzor macrumors 6502a

    reebzor

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    #3
    I agree, it hinders work flow and therefore productivity. Something the Apple prides themselves on.
     
  4. DrBurkstrom macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I think it's more likely that the keyboards on laptops will disappear in favour of the whole flat surface of the laptop being one big trackpad with a printed keyboard overlay. Then eventually a graphical display that's mainly a keyboard but can change depending on context (number input etc)
     
  5. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

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    #5
    Like this....

    [​IMG]

    It has been brought up many times. I could see it working, but what would happen if you didn't have an iPhone or iPod touch?
     
  6. applepearpp macrumors regular

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    #6
    This is one of the silliest posts i have seen since i got here.
     
  7. Bisz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Welcome to the forum. You only joined 9 days ago so its not that powerful of a statement :D
     
  8. aeboi macrumors 65816

    aeboi

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  9. Bisz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    I don't think you are using your imagination enough.

    The display doesn't have to be constantly changing making you have to look at it to know whats going on, it can be fairly static, allowing you to learn what areas of the pad do what.

    Also, think outside of the "touch typing box". A lot of tasks, not computer related but in general day-to-day life, require you to look at different things, to change your focus from one thing to another. The reason its looked down upon in computers is because the keyboard is static, it never changes, so as a top level user you are expected to have it memorized and never need to look at it, focusing on the screen instead. But that very strength, not needing you to ever look at it, is also the keyboards weakness because it is limited in what you can do with it.

    Let me give you some very quick examples of how I think a display enabled touch pad could work.

    1) Ever seen one of these?
    [​IMG]

    Now, I may be wrong, but I think that there is about 30,000 piano apps for iOS devices and I don't think they will work quite as nicely on an OSX device if you have to substitute the number keys on your static keyboard for the piano keys.

    2) What about one of these?
    [​IMG]

    Steve was pretty excited about Garage Band in iLife11, don't you think they would love to include a little mixing board/equalizer in there?

    3) What about card game apps? You have your hand displayed right in front of you on the display track pad where you can interact with it using touch gestures (selecting cards, discarding cards, placing bets, etc) while the rest of the game is displayed on the screen.


    That's just 3 very quick examples of what you could do if you continue thinking along the line that Apple is already doing down, which is a fusion of OSX and iOS, a fusion of traditional computers and touch input devices.

    Silly?

    Maybe.

    But then again, 30 years ago so was a little plastic doohickey with a button and a cord that plugged into the back of your computer. You know... the mouse.
     
  10. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #10
    what would be the advantage of this? using a $699 device as trackpad when a larger trackpad could be built in for $20? a magic trackpad is $49 and I'm sure apple makes 50% profit on those.........

    but yeah, lets speculate more.

    I like the idea of the notebook keyboard being a flat surface that can be used as screen like a foldable giant iPad or as a keyboard with haptic feedback.

    or a camera that detects you finger movements and uses that as input.

    in both cases you could spill coffee onto it and it would not die....
     
  11. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #11
    Currently I'm using a computer for work and not to goof around for fun. That also means the input is fairly static. Fancy ideas do not equal usability. Lot's of Piano apps on the App store do not mean they are ecnomically successful professional tools for work.

    There are of course valid reasons to think outside the box. Nintendo Wii has proven that. But I guess you have to go into either the toy/game area to show that they are useful or you have to do it much better to change the profeesional world (Apple did that by eliminating cash registers and the use of iPhones for purchase).

    i did not call this idea silly. be careful how you quote.
     
  12. jclardy macrumors 68040

    jclardy

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    #12
    While having an input device that changes based on what you are doing is very cool I don't think it will really be useful until they can add some kind of touch feedback.

    Like the bump on the F and J keys on the keyboard so that you always know that your hands are in the right position.

    I have an iPad and it is decent for typing, but it would be a nightmare for typing code on, even if it was the size of an actual keyboard.
     
  13. Bisz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    There is no explicit or implicit suggestion in my post that you said it was silly. A bit touchy, no?
     
  14. applepearpp macrumors regular

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    #14
    I have been here for a while (1+ year). I got hacked by my ex recently and getting a new ID
     
  15. Bisz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    You've been here a year and this is one of the silliest threads you have seen? :eek:
     
  16. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

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    #16
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    Why do you need an new user ID. Can't you just change your password?
     
  17. Bisz thread starter macrumors regular

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  18. Gr80Likes2Boogi macrumors regular

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    #18
    I think it's a great concept, and we'll see what, if anything, Apple or 3rd parties can create. I personally have a mentality of "it ain't broke..."

    Think about this. I'm typing on my MBP now. If my iPhone was my trackpad, it would not sit flush with the palm rest, it would sit higher and not flat (3GS). Or I move it to the side, fair enough, but then I move my hand completely off the keyboard to do something, where I can sneak it with my thumb or travel less distance with my hand. Right there, strike one.

    Say I'm working on something. I'm working hard on a document, or commenting on a lot of facebook statuses. I'm very engrossed and multitasking and exposé-ing into itunes to change something etc, and the phone rings. Sure I could cancel it, but I can just answer my phone now and carry on, albeit distracted, with my original task. I can't just let my phone ring and go to voicemail if I'm using it as a trackpad. Same with text messages. What about if I use an iPod instead of an iPhone? Fair enough, but another thing to drain the battery, not to mention if the screen goes on lock and you have to hit the home button then slide to continue on. If I forget my phone at home? If it's stolen? If it dies completely? It's another thing to HAVE to tote around. Sometimes I just want my computer and no cords to power it or any accessories and I don't want any peripherals. This is rare, but that binds you a little more.

    All that being said, I think it'd be cool for it to be an auxiliary extension of certain apps. I know I can use an iPad as a second monitor with a particular app (don't know what it is, but I've seen it done). Now that's all fine and dandy, but it would be AWESOME to be using Logic Pro and have my mixer on an iPad, but not have it just be a display, actually be able to adjust levels and such (don't bother pointing out the possible lack of fine-adjustment, this is just for argument's sake).

    THAT concept is a tune I can really dance to. As far as a mouse? Eh. I don't see Apple caring too much, but maybe a 3rd party will think it's a fantastic idea and if so, I will watch/read/play with great vigor.
     
  19. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #19
    ...where are you finding a magic track pad for $49, I buy one for that price!
     
  20. Bisz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    I'm not suggesting that the iPhone or iPod Touch be the track pad, I'm suggesting that the track pad will have a display screen, so it will be like an iPhone in that it will be a touch input device and a display screen.
     
  21. Gr80Likes2Boogi macrumors regular

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    #21
    OOOHH I completely misunderstood your original post. I understand now!

    Having the trackpad be a display with the full trackpad touch capabilities seems cool, but totally impractical. Maybe some simple data like battery percentage or something like that. On this front, however, I need to go with "if it ain't broke..."
     
  22. Bisz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    For a forum full of Mac users there sure isn't many people willing to push the envelope here :confused:
     
  23. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    #23
    It is kind of sad reading the responses. At least I understood the starting post form the beginning. Now I know why they always complain in the media about children who cannot read properly anymore.

    BTT things like this have already been done in some way and were on display hundreds of times on tech shows, by sony etc.
    Usually they intended to use OLEDs. Considering how thin a Samsung Super AMOLED is including the touch element it would be perfect if there wasn't two problems.
    a. A display uses considerably more energy, especially when it is supposed to show something the whole time. You would need something like an ink display they build for e-readers.
    b. Cost. A touch pad costs next to nothing a display costs a lot more and one that has the viewing angels you need for the position it is used in, is even more expensive (AMOLED, IPS, cPVA high quality TN).

    Currently there are some led based touch pads from Acer and Asus that show some icons and you can basically switch the touch pad mode. They offer you all the media keys on a touch pad that usually are on function keys or as separate buttons above the keyboard.
    You could build on them with cheap ink-displays because they are mostly static and don't need quick changes. Everything else is still lacking the right technology.
    Maybe they finally figure out how to print cheap OLEDs, which they promised years ago. OLED displays would become really cheap (we might finally get decent Notebook displays) and with the right color theme they use little energy.
     
  24. CC424 macrumors regular

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    #24
    I think that apple should do away with real keys and put a touch key keyboard and track pad....definitely will be library friendly!

    Remember when it happens, I said it first!
     
  25. Chase R macrumors 65816

    Chase R

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    #25
    The current-design trackpad is here to stay, at least for a while.

    The next step in input is going to be retina tracking. Imagine having a bunch of windows open and you just looked at the one you wanted to become active... Chyeaaah :D Or maybe some sort of gesture, look + blink ? I'm sure Apple is already researching this, in one way or another, as we type.
     

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