Original MacBook Air Capable of 4 Finger Gestures Through Software Update

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Hardmac points back to a post made in our own forums which details the experience of one user enabling four finger gestures on his 1st generation MacBook Air.
I can confirm the four finger gesture is possible on pre-October 2008 laptops, and I currently have four finger Exposé and Application Switching working on my January 2008 MacBook Air.
This method is very much a "hack" at this time and is certainly not recommended for the casual user, but does suggest that Apple could enable the four-finger gestures on early 2008 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs through a simple software update.

When Apple introduced the new notebooks in October, they introduced a new four-finger gesture that could be used to invoke Expose. It hadn't been clear if the four-finger gesture would be possible on existing multi-touch trackpads which have shipped in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro since early 2008.



Article Link: Original MacBook Air Capable of 4 Finger Gestures Through Software Update
 

h.21

macrumors member
Nov 6, 2008
77
0
That's great. Too bad Apple probably won't do that. Someone needs to come out with a user-friendly way to do this, however. I would gladly pay for the ability to use four finger gestures on my 1st gen Air.
 

shoebobs

macrumors regular
Jul 5, 2008
241
103
I don't think its a shock to anyone that this is possible on pre-October 2008 models. It's just apple being apple
 

La Porta

macrumors regular
Dec 15, 2006
241
0
I wonder just how much of "gesturing" is really hardware-based if this pans out.
 

Beric

macrumors 68020
Jan 22, 2008
2,148
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Bay Area
Would a similar version of this "hack" work on previous-edition Macbooks? Or did the Macbooks ever get 4-fingered gestures?
 

TheSlush

macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2007
658
22
New York, NY
Has Apple ever been known to backwards-enable new functionality in old products? Not that I can think of, but I'm curious.
 

JeffTL

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2003
733
0
Would a similar version of this "hack" work on previous-edition Macbooks? Or did the Macbooks ever get 4-fingered gestures?
The pre-multitouch laptops have trackpads designed by Synaptics rather than Apple, if I recall.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
14,076
1,413
Would a similar version of this "hack" work on previous-edition Macbooks? Or did the Macbooks ever get 4-fingered gestures?
Previous generation MacBooks will not be able to.

There are 3 different types of trackpads out there:

Regular trackpad (non Multi-Touch) which does offer two finger scrolling
Multi-Touch Trackpad - came with MBA and Early 2008 MBPs
Glass Multi-Touch Trackpad - came with Oct 2008 MBs and MBPs

It seems the functionality of the Glass and the non Glass multi-touch are similar enough that they can both detect 4-finger gestures. I don't believe it's possible for the regular trackpads to do anything but what they already do.

arn
 

Dejavu

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2008
202
0
Apple for the longest time opposed a two button mouse, now they expect us to use two or more fingers? This is outrageous. Maybe in the future we can reboot our macs using a 12-finger gesture.
 

Beric

macrumors 68020
Jan 22, 2008
2,148
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Bay Area
Thanks, Jeff and Arn, for the reply to my question.

Apple for the longest time opposed a two button mouse, now they expect us to use two or more fingers? This is outrageous. Maybe in the future we can reboot our macs using a 12-finger gesture.
LOL. That made me crack up. :D
 

justflie

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2005
888
1
Red Sox Nation
I wonder how much they would charge for this software update? $10? I would very highly doubt it would be for free given their reasoning behind charging for previous-gen iPod touch updates...
 

hayduke

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2005
1,177
2
is a state of mind.
Apple for the longest time opposed a two button mouse, now they expect us to use two or more fingers? This is outrageous. Maybe in the future we can reboot our macs using a 12-finger gesture.
Or perhaps they would design it to detect a single middle-finger gesture for reboots.
 

CaptainCannabis

macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2007
172
0
I hate when apple does stuff like this.
Just because they want to have something new and unique on the newer laptops :mad:
 

longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,790
1,301
Falls Church, VA
Previous generation MacBooks will not be able to.

There are 3 different types of trackpads out there:

Regular trackpad (non Multi-Touch) which does offer two finger scrolling
Multi-Touch Trackpad - came with MBA and Early 2008 MBPs
Glass Multi-Touch Trackpad - came with Oct 2008 MBs and MBPs

It seems the functionality of the Glass and the non Glass multi-touch are similar enough that they can both detect 4-finger gestures. I don't believe it's possible for the regular trackpads to do anything but what they already do.

arn
Better description would be the following, actually:

  1. Regular trackpad (non Multi-Touch) does NOT offer two finger scrolling.
  2. Scrolling trackpad with two finger scrolling
  3. Multi-Touch Trackpad - came with MBA and Early 2008 MBPs
  4. "Glass" Multi-Touch Trackpad - came with Oct 2008 MBs and MBPs

2 finger scrolling was built-in to Macs and OSX from 2005 onward. Some pre-2005 laptops were able to have their trackpads 2-finger scroll enabled using a 3rd party driver, but G3 iBooks and TiBooks and before all are definitely "regular trackpads"
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,244
1,312
Has Apple ever been known to backwards-enable new functionality in old products? Not that I can think of, but I'm curious.
IIRC, Apple added the 2-finger right-click to PowerBooks in 10.5. Before that, it was only a feature on the MacBook Pros. Maybe they waited for Leopard because purchasing Leopard counted as the "upgrade fee".
 

fyrefly

macrumors 6502a
Jun 27, 2004
597
29
I've used a MacBook Aluminum Restore DVD to get 4-Finger-Swipe on my 1st Gen MBA. It's great, but I use a BT Mouse most of the time so I don't really need it. I don't see why Apple wouldn't enable the feature later - or at least have the drivers for it in 10.5.6 --> you need to edit a plist file inside a ktext to enable it even with the right software.

This has also been reported in the MacBook Air forums on MR for almost a month now that the 4-finger swipe was possible - it just makes the front page now?? ;)
 

reda

macrumors newbie
Nov 23, 2006
12
0
Do you know why the new MacBook Air still has a button on the trackpad ?
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
14,076
1,413
Do you know why the new MacBook Air still has a button on the trackpad ?
I'm guessing they didn't want to have to redesign the case just to add that glass trackpad.

Why is this on Page One if your not going to show us how to perform the hack?
it's linked off the article. click on it.

arn
 

juanster

macrumors 68020
Mar 2, 2007
2,237
0
toronto
I hate when apple does stuff like this.
Just because they want to have something new and unique on the newer laptops :mad:
yeah aple could just do it with a software update, but i doubt they would. that is what people want..sooo not very appleish, it's usually what they want,a nd we take it and think of t amazing and learn to love it..
 

broncopde

macrumors 6502
May 12, 2007
260
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Conway, AR
Wirelessly posted (iPod touch: Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F137 Safari/525.20)

MasterNile said:
Has Apple ever been known to backwards-enable new functionality in old products? Not that I can think of, but I'm curious.
Wireless N enabler for Intel Wireless G iMacs, but yes you probably will have to pay for it like the enabler or the ipod touch updates.
Don't they claim they have to do this because of some weird fiscal accounting?