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MacBooks to Feature iPhone's Multi-Touch? 276

Gadgets Lover writes "According to CrunchGear's 'trusted source' that the upcoming MacBooks which are expected to be released around October will support the iPhone's multi-touch technology built into their touchpads. The feature will be built into the touchpads, allowing you to navigate through your notebook's files, applications, etc. the same way you can on the iPhone. (Yes, I know you can already scroll with them, that's nothing new. I'm talking about all the other finger gestures that can be done on the iPhone's screen) On June 20th, CrunchGear reported, "The upcoming MacBooks will be about half the thickness of current models (which would be quite the feat) and they'll be made from new plastics/materials"."
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MacBooks to Feature iPhone's Multi-Touch?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:52AM (#19707595)
    The next MacBooks will also be powered by sunshine, float in mid-air, and cure cancer! Thank you Steve Jobs!
  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:54AM (#19707623) Homepage
    Prediction: Within a year, all Apple products with displays will have multi-touch. Laptops, external monitors, iPods, the whole shebang. Sure, most people won't use it all in the beginning. The UIs we have today aren't set up for it, neither are our office spaces. But Apple will bet the farm and just make is a Standard Feature on the bet that while the demand doesn't exist NOW, it'll appear out of whole cloth once it's so ubiquitous.

    They did it w/ USB. They did it with mice.

    "Blah blah greasy fingerprints on monitors" Yeah, anyone with half a brain can think of 10 reasons why this is dumb. But it's the crazy guy in the back of the auditorium who's going to figure out how to get rich off of it, and in doing so will make the standard transition from 'crazy wacked out goofball' to 'eccentric visionary'.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They said trackpads, which would be a pretty good compromise actually. Wouldn't have to move your hands far from the keyboard.

      Would make more sense if the Finder CoverFlow feature allowed touching and dragging the images rather than requiring a scrollbar (the way it is in iTunes now). It could be a usability improvement to allow that sort of scrolling in other documents, like webpages.

      If this is coming, then the changes are in Leopard now. Maybe some WWDC attendees know the answer.

      I just looked at the ne
      • by MoxFulder ( 159829 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:38PM (#19708077) Homepage
        The Synaptics [wikipedia.org] touchpads used on practically all notebook computers already support multi-touch features. These just have to be appropriately configured with software.

        For example, using the Xorg drivers and GTK configuration applet gsynaptics [sourceforge.jp], you can set up a touchpad to do different actions based on double-tapping, triple-tapping, scrolling via linear and circular dragging, etc.

        So if Apple figures out how to make an intuitive user interface out of touchpad motions, that's pretty cool, and other operating systems should be able to adopt similar features quickly!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by OECD ( 639690 )
          So if Apple figures out how to make an intuitive user interface out of touchpad motions, that's pretty cool, and other operating systems should be able to adopt similar features quickly!

          As the article mentioned, they already do support scrolling with a two-fingered gesture. I can see the pinch gesture that the iPhone uses for zoom being pretty useful as well. I'm less certain about the 'flicking' gesture for scrolling in the iPhone, although I haven't tried it myself.

        • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:19PM (#19708419) Journal
          Unless I'm being dense, none of the things you mention require multi-touch. They're just single-touch gesture detection routines. Looking at the author's website reveals that the only multi-touch support is two-finger or three-finger taps, and that this is not supported on all models.

          It's not clear from his site which models *do* implement true multi-touch, or even whether what he has done requires it. It could be a timing-related kludge if all it supports is taps and not drags. (ie: if I get 2 or 3 clicks within 5 ms, I'll assume the user did those simultaneously and send event X not event Y)

          The multi-touch touchpads on a Macbook(Pro) can scroll any window that has the mouse within its borders by:
          • pressing one finger onto the touchpad
          • *simultaneously* dragging a second finger up and down.
          That's multi-touch. And there's no reason why window-resizing or other manipulation couldn't be done...

          Simon.
          • Unless I'm being dense, none of the things you mention require multi-touch. They're just single-touch gesture detection routines. Looking at the author's website reveals that the only multi-touch support is two-finger or three-finger taps, and that this is not supported on all models.

            It's not clear from his site which models *do* implement true multi-touch, or even whether what he has done requires it. It could be a timing-related kludge if all it supports is taps and not drags. (ie: if I get 2 or 3 clicks within 5 ms, I'll assume the user did those simultaneously and send event X not event Y)

            Well... every laptop model I've used does support these, at least with the Linux drivers, whereas the Windows drivers vary a lot. Tap and drag is also supported on every model I've used.

            The multi-touch touchpads on a Macbook(Pro) can scroll any window that has the mouse within its borders by:

            • pressing one finger onto the touchpad
            • *simultaneously* dragging a second finger up and down.

            That's multi-touch. And there's no reason why window-resizing or other manipulation couldn't be done...

            Simon.

            That may indeed exceed the capabilities of Synaptics touchpads. Though I'm not honestly sure. I wouldn't be surprised to see the capabilities of Synaptics pads improved rapidly if the iPhone interface becomes a hit.

          • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @02:14PM (#19708885)
            Several years back, Apple bought up a company that made multitouch keyboards and pads and employed the two professors who made it. It's not just software, the hardware is fundamentally different than single touch.

            http://www.fingerworks.com/ [fingerworks.com]

            Look under news:
            http://fingerfans.dreamhosters.com/forum/viewtopic .php?t=678 [dreamhosters.com]
          • The multi-touch touchpads on a Macbook(Pro) can scroll any window that has the mouse within its borders by:

            * pressing one finger onto the touchpad
            * *simultaneously* dragging a second finger up and down.

            Not to stray off topic, but you can drag both fingers and scroll horizontally or vertically. Holding one and moving the second also works (I tried it on my MacBook), but moving both at once may be easier to do.

        • I don't see how this is the same kind of multitouch. I'm using gsynaptics, and the only cool thing it does is circular scrolling.

          But there's no multitouch. Just try touching a synaptics pad with two fingers at once and wait for the unpredictable results.

          Multitouch doesn't refer to double or tripple tapping / clicking. Its about using two fingers independently.

          Or am I the one missing something? Is there an uber-foo tab on gsynaptics I missed?
        • by John Whitley ( 6067 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @02:46PM (#19709141) Homepage

          other operating systems should be able to adopt similar features quickly!
          Doubtful. This is more than a case of "just software"; it's a sophisticated collaboration of hardware plus software. Apple bought a company called Fingerworks, founded by Wayne Westerman and his Ph.D. advisor based on his doctoral research[1]. They sold mouse-pad sized touchpad devices with gesture recognition as well as zero-force keyboards with integrated mousing/gesturing. These multi-touch devices effectively do low-resolution EMF imaging of the hand near the surface. No "mis-touches", the keyboard didn't generate false hits from "resting" on the surface, etc.

          Fingerworks vanished off the face of the internet a couple of years back. Apple quietly bought the company, its patents, and and the key researchers and engineers. Since then, they've been puting the Apple shine on their technology since then. Much to the likely delight of the "Fingerfans" [dreamhosters.com] the iPhone is the first product to ship with this technology since Fingerworks' was bought.

          It *might* be possible to hack something together with a synaptics pad, but the hardware itself is likely deficient to do full-on multitouch. See section 1.3 of Westerman's thesis, linked below, esp. the pre-Fingerworks prototype hardware "producing a 50 frames per second (fps) stream of proximity images." I note that the Fingerworks devices connected via USB, but had on-device processing and firmware notably richer than what's in a simple touchpad. That alone may spell death to attempts at pure host-side multitouch with a "dumb" touchpad.

          [1] PDF: Hand Tracking, Finger Identification, and Chordic Manipulation on a Multi-Touch Surface. [udel.edu]
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by DTemp ( 1086779 )
          Think there's a possibility my new MacBook will be able to gain these features with a software/firmware update? This doesn't seem like a hardware limitation to me, especially since it can already detect multiple touches for scrolling.
      • by aliquis ( 678370 )
        What I don't see is how this matters from how you already use scroll bars on mac laptops, you put both your fingers there and drag in the direction you want to scroll, don't you? So this will already work using coverflow, doesn't it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by nuggetman ( 242645 )
      Sit at your desk. Now, the whole time you're normally at your computer, keep your hand suspended in the air touching the screen. This is why we don't see ubiquitous touch screens on computers. Hammer, problem, nail, etc.
      • by gordyf ( 23004 )
        Multi-touch trackpads, not monitors.
      • Sit at your desk. Now, the whole time you're normally at your computer, keep your hand suspended in the air touching the screen.

        Who says it needs to be limited by this design only? Remember Tron and Ed Dillinger's desk panel? You could easily have the screen at eye level and controls and wrist level. Whatever the case...

        The main benefit of such technology is portability. Also, the next phase of Apple's technology (I hope) would be voice recognition. If we can offload graphics to a dedicated GPU, why not

      • by StarfishOne ( 756076 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:07PM (#19709281)

        "Hammer, problem, nail, etc."


        STOP! Hammer time!


        You can't touch this :P

    • I read this exact comment on a story that was about this exact same thing like a month or two ago.
    • It's got fingerprint smudges all over it already!

      Its just brilliant of apple to realize that the way the technology is supposed to be used is not how is used, (like hos bright do you have to be, right [but people will deny the evidence of their own senses in the face of everything {like how long did people think the earth was flat?}])

      I look forward to being able to USE my flat panel display for the other half of interactivity and have the system recognize it.
  • One step towards... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tehmorph ( 844326 ) <james@bYEATSalvedastudios.com minus poet> on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:55AM (#19707629) Homepage Journal
    ... the Mactablet? I need a decent tablet, and Apple seems to be lining itself up for the ideal position to release one in. Decent touchpads, thin computers... logical, no?
    • ... the Mactablet? I need a decent tablet, and Apple seems to be lining itself up for the ideal position to release one in. Decent touchpads, thin computers... logical, no?
      Yes! There are no good tablets around at the moment, and not enough software is made for touchscreens.
    • I've been thinking about why there isn't a mac tablet a lot lately and the conclusion I came to was that surely they must be considering one and it's just a matter of time (a couple of years or less) that they come out with one. However, I was also searching around the web for something unrelated recently and happened across several posts from 3 or 4 years ago with people jabbering on about how a mac tablet was imminent and they would almost surely announce one at the next developer's conference in a couple
    • I would buy a MacTablet in an instant, particularly if there was one at the MacBook price point. Or just a plain MacBook with touchscreen. Besides the applications that exist for ordinary laptop work - taking notes, web browsing, email on the go, etc. - this sort of thing would be perfect for DJs and musicians who perform with laptops. I use Traktor Scratch and Ableton Live, and even with a decent MIDI controller, you wind up having to touch the mousepad now and again during sets. It would be so much ea
  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:56AM (#19707635)
    ... I multi-touch a MacBook in a Apple Store I get dirty looks from the employees.
  • My Thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:57AM (#19707643) Homepage

    I have the last revision of the MacBook Pros that just came out. It's a great little laptop. It wouldn't surprise me too much if they did have multi-touch trackpads in the new Macs. It wouldn't surprise me if it was in mine and could be added with a software update. After all, they've supposed detecting when there are two fingers for a while, how much harder can it be to detect the stretching and squeezing motions? Apple has silently updated things before. For example, the cameras in the latest MacBook Pros are 1.3MP instead of 0.3MP. It's not exposed in software, but it's there.

    The 1/2 the thickness thing? Never. Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to see that. That would be amazing. But I just don't think it's really possible with the MacBooks. Now if you got rid of the hard drive and optical driver, you'd have a better shot... but I'd still peg this as very unlikely.

    • they won't run vista 64 bit.
      • Core 2 models run Vista x64 just fine, except that the Boot Camp drivers for the iSight, the sound hardware, and Mac-specific keyboard features don't work. Saying they "won't run" x64 is just as wrong as saying they "won't run" Linux.

        It's pretty pointless, though, since no MacBook for the foreseeable future will accept more than 4 GB RAM.

        • by aliquis ( 678370 )
          But maybe someone want to actually be able to use their 4GB of ram. Or can they in a 32-bit OS as long as the chipset supports 36 bit adressing or similair even with memory mapped IO?
    • by KH ( 28388 )

      After all, they've supposed detecting when there are two fingers for a while, how much harder can it be to detect the stretching and squeezing motions?

      It does. Did you try "Zoom while holding..." option?

      Since Leopard is resolution independent [apple.com] and iPhone runs Leopard, there is not really any reason to think MacBooks (even the current models) do not support Multi-touch in the iPhone sense. At the least, when you zoomed in the current method, characters and vector graphics should not get blurred in Leopard,

    • I was just thinking on this. I work on macbooks and get to see them apart all the time. Here are some areas where thickness can be improved. Keep in mind when you are at this level, "every little bit helps", so if you can shave off 1/2mm somewhere, it's significant because it adds up to mm's.

      The bottom case of the macbook is about 2.5mm thick. The bottom case of the tibook was 0.5 mm thick. Clearly they can do better than 2mm. That case can be beaten with a hammer without breaking it, it's insanely st
    • by Have Blue ( 616 )
      There have already been rumors that Apple will drop the built-in optical drive from some notebooks. But yeah, unless they start using flash or iPod hard drives, that will always be the lower limit.
  • Adding a few gestures to the multi-touch tackpad seems likely. Another iPhone technology that will undoubtedly appear in future Apple displays (of all kinds, iMac, laptops, and free standing) will be higher pixel densities. Leopard must be complete before such screens can be well used by consumer, so we won't see this before October.
  • by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:01PM (#19707681) Journal
    I for one look forward to giving two fingers to the new MacBooks!
  • It recently struck me how large the MBP's trackpad is. It's more than twice the area of the pad on my Dell D600. Multi-touch would be useless on a small trackpad, but the MBP's looks to be large enough to make it practical.
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:15PM (#19707839)
    Given that the current touchpads already have limited capabilities to sense the placement of multiple fingertips, Apple could probably implement some of the technology in Leopard and only release it in the final build. It would certainly be a great way to get a lot of free press.
  • and screen for a long time now. See Lenovo ThinkPad X60 for example.
    • Multitouch there refers to something else though; namely, the ability to use the screen either with a stylus (active digitizer, btw, not passive digitizers) or with a finger. This was a limitation with active digitizer screens; that is, they could only be used with a powered stylus, but touching the screen with your finger, etc. wouldn't register anything. Passive digitizers could work with a finger or a regular stylus, but they have their own weaknesses (not nearly as much control as with an active digit
  • I personally think that the next iPod will be rougly half the size of the ones we see today. After all, the next step for Apple is to make the scroll wheel obsolete by integrating all the necessities into the screen.

    I think it's unlikely for Apple to release an iPod with a screen as big as the iPhone, simply because there is no need for so much information on a simple music player.
    • I think it's unlikely for Apple to release an iPod with a screen as big as the iPhone, simply because there is no need for so much information on a simple music player.

      it seems that the ipods of the future will not be simple music players. they will do video et al from itunes.

      an interesting question, is will all ipods in the future be more like the iphone, running os x and wifi? i guess it comes down to how much they can pack into one for the price -- also, the backwards-thinking cell companies would prev

  • by JimDaGeek ( 983925 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:30PM (#19707977)
    I have a late 2006 Macbook with the Core Due (should have waited for the Core 2, oh well) and a Core 2 Duo iMac. Love them both. The Macbook has a scroll feature I just can't live without. Use one finger on the mouse pad and it moves the cursor as normal. Use TWO fingers and you can scroll any windows content vertically/horizontally. Every time I have to use a regular old laptop, I really miss this nice feature. These new features should be pretty nice additions to the Macbook

    With that said, they only thing that bugs me about the Macbook I have is how hot the bottom gets. I had to buy a laptop pad which is a pain to have to remember to bring with me. In constrast, my Core 2 iMac is always cool and very silent. Are the newer models of Macbooks cooler so you can comfortably keep them on your lap?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by escay ( 923320 )

      better still - will the new macbooks have the Santa Rosa platform that is known to consume less power and generate less heat? and will the screens be LED like the Pros? multitouch is cool and all but is a very minor upgrade, as has always been the case with MacBooks. some love for Cinderella too, please!

      OT, is it just me or am I seeing more Apple stuff being leaked out pre-release? whatever happened to the ultra-secret keep-it-under--wraps-until-very-last-minute Apple obsession?

    • by MsGeek ( 162936 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @02:03PM (#19708789) Homepage Journal
      If you have the first version of the MacBook, you can't really do much other than software hacks and keeping your MacBook on a cooler pad to keep it cool. The Core 2 Duo was a major improvement heat-wise...it actually *is* a laptop rather than a lap cooker.

      The MacBook Pro also has LED backlighting rather than fluorescent backlighting. This is very significant in that the backlight becomes pretty much immortal...it will last as long as the computer does. With fluorescents, eventually you have to replace the fluorescent tube, which is a pain. I'm sure that eventually the MacBook will get it, but not just yet.
    • Quote: "Use TWO fingers and you can scroll any windows content vertically/horizontally." As previously stated, any laptop can do this. In fact this is native (no additional driver required) under linux. The main difference is that you can scroll with just one finger depending with where you are on the touchpad. Other than that it's a old well established feature.
      • I have used the corners for scrolling. I personally hate it and find it a lot less useful than being able to use any part of the touchpad. I always had to tweak it to get the size of the area just right to recognize a scroll attempt. I also had a lot of problems with it not working for every MS Windows app. It seemed to be hit-or-miss. Oh, and then if I didn't hit the "scroll area" just right, nothing would happen.

        On a Macbook, you just use two fingers, anywhere and it works with ALL apps. Much, mu
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:49PM (#19708163) Homepage Journal
    Apple had a "Town hall" meeting with all employees on Thursday to kick off this iPhone thing. Finally, we got at least some confirmation that Apple is doing stuff with the macs again as Steve said, "The first leg is the Mac business, which Steve addressed by saying that they have the "best Macs" in the new product pipeline ever right now, and that the stuff coming out in the next year is "off the charts."

    So if this is true(hard to believe the half size thing, but..) we should be seeing them soon I would wager. Though I doubt the macbooks would get a feature that their pro bretheren do not have first...
  • I think it would be great if the new track pads would be based on an LCD multi-touch screen. We could then have a mirror image or a partial image of our LCD monitor on the track pad. This would truly be an innovated change and add endless possibilities to user interface enhancements. They could probably use a smaller version of the iphone screen. Would this work?
    • It would be possible, and LCDs are so cheap these days it wouldn't add much to the price. The question is, would it be useful? When I use my trackpad, typically my hand is between my eye and it, since I just move my wrist slightly from the keyboard. This is not true on mobile devices, where you typically keep your hand further away and just point with a finger.
  • Multi-touch or no multi-touch, it is still a touchpad. It amazes me that most laptops are made with the touchpad as the only pointing device. I have a Thinkpad with a TrackPoint pointing stick, and I could never go back to having just a touchpad. I don't care how you dress it up, touchpads are not a good interface.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yabos ( 719499 )
      You're the only one I've ever heard of that actually likes those things. If you don't press them hard enough the mouse pointer hardly moves. If you press it too hard it goes flying around the screen. They're a nightmare to use.
      • Well now he's not -- I like the nub mouse too, particular if I'm switching between typing and pointing, as there's less hand movement required to switch.

        Trackpads today are useable (though still not my preference), but when they first started replacing working pointing interfaces -- like the nub mouse -- with those worthless first and second gen trackpads I would have given anything for the nub mouse.
    • I agree with you, I love trackpoints and that's one reason I have trouble picturing myself buying a macbook, but I also know that a lot of people disagree (sometimes because of ignorance, but I digress). The solution I've found is including both a trackpoint and a touchpad as some Lenovo thinkpads do as well as most non-Lenovo laptops with trackpoints do. For people that dig trackpoints, they can disable the touchpad, for people that prefer touchpads, they can ignore or disable the trackpoint. It's a win wi
      • Think about it.

        With two, you could track the "upper-left corner" with the first and the "lower-right corner" with the second.

        Of course you're then limited to only those points.

        A true multi-touch interface is not (but then again, the "two corner" is better than nothing. :-)

        Steve Jobs' attachment to one button mice was not a question of $ but it was one of philosophical functionality.

        Now that he's doing multi-touch, look for it to be done right.
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:57PM (#19708225)

    gestures that can be done on the iPhone's screen) On June 20th, CrunchGear reported, "The upcoming MacBooks will be about half the thickness of current models (which would be quite the feat) and they'll be made from new plastics/materials"."

    Hopefully they'll be more serviceable, too. Personal best for disassembling a G4 iBook to get to the hard drive? 45 minutes, and that was after doing it three times. The screw count is staggering; one heat shield had TWELVE screws. Most of the screws lack threadlocker (or it isn't strong enough) and the screws are so loose they are almost ready to fall out after 3 years of daily use.

    With IBM/Lenovo and Dell laptops (and probably many others), the drive can be accessed with one or two screws and they slide out of the chassis, even on their smallest+thinnest models. Why can't Apple do the same, especially given how Apple continues to supply mostly Toshiba drives, which have the highest failure rates of laptop drives? Even setting aside drive-manufacturer failure rates, drives are the most failure-prone components in any computer (well, save video cables and screen hinges, again in Powerbooks and iBooks.) I've never seen an Airport card or memory fail, yet they're the easiest to get to on almost any Apple laptop.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RJabelman ( 550626 )
      Why can't Apple do the same

      They did. To replace the HD in a MacBook, you take out the battery, remove a panel and the HD slides out. I wish they'd done that on the Pro too...
    • Have you worked on a Macbook yet? The hard drive and RAM are trivial to get to. Pop the battery, unscrew one panel (three screws), and either flip a lever or pull on a strap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Have you used the new MacBooks? The hard drive and RAM can both be swapped in a total of 5 minutes. Remove the battery, undo two screws, and you have the HD. Pull out the lever, and you have the RAM. That's it.
    • Because Apples aren't designed for the enterprise, they're designed for your mom's kitchen table. No out of the box remote management capability, no thought to hardware maintenance, and you're supposed to go to an Apple store to get that maintenance done? While they do have enterprise programs and salespeople, the organization as a whole still seems slightly shocked that people want to use them in groups larger than 25.

      Hopefully they'll grow out of this mindset sometime soon... their sales in the working wo
      • And as long as there are more mothers than mother-fu ... uh, enterprises, Apple's solution is going to stand.

        Apple could give two fu ... uh, figs about you or your enterprise requirements.

        Start screaming at Dell to make their systems more usable and leave Apple alone.
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Obviously, the memory and airport are accessible as user upgradable parts. In the later powerbooks, I do not know if the airport slot is accesible, as all these come with airport cards installed.

      In my experience, the most unreliable part of the powerbook is the cd/dvd drive and the screen. This is an imporvement over the older Apple laptops when the most unreliable parts were the power input, which was practically guaranteed to fail in 2 or 3 years.

      I have not had a harddrive fail, thank god, on any ma

    • by tfoss ( 203340 )

      Hopefully they'll be more serviceable, too.

      With IBM/Lenovo and Dell laptops (and probably many others), the drive can be accessed with one or two screws and they slide out of the chassis, even on their smallest+thinnest models.
      You're right, the iBooks are a bitch, but check out the macbook. On my macbook core duo it took 5 minutes, one screwdriver (3 screws) and a penny (to take out the battery) to replace the hard drive.

      -Ted
  • CPU to monitor? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johkir ( 716957 ) <jokirby@NosPam.vmth.ucdavis.edu> on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:32PM (#19708529)
    I wonder if Apple will move the CPU and associated bridge to the top half of the laptop, so heat vents up and out the top, a la the iMac. That might drop the size by dropping a relatively big fan wheel, but I don't think there can be much more of a drop in thickness while still including an optical drive and all the necessary ports to the outside world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Not likely, that would almost certainly make the macbooks thicker as well as waste a lot of space them. Motherboards in laptops can't get a whole lot thinner than they currently so you're going to be adding on maybe a little less than a centimeter of thickness to the lid and moving the motherboard to the lid isn't going to make the base any thinner, because it still needs to fit the hard drive and optical drive. Plus, setting it up like that would basically leave a bunch of open space in the top and bottom
  • Current Macbooks have multitouch detection. If you place one finger on the trackpad then move around with the other finger it scrolls around webpages.

    I would imagine the current limitation is that it can't detection multiple positions, just that there is something else on the pad.
  • by TibbonZero ( 571809 ) <`Tibbon' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:47PM (#19708653) Homepage Journal
    Someone mentioned that people's desks aren't set up right at the moment, and they are right. 95% of situations with current computers aren't set up in a way that a touchscreen would be ergonomically sound. Reaching out in front of you, reaching across you, etc... I think that making the trackpad to be more useful is probably for the best, but screen would be only for occasional use i think.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:56PM (#19708731)
    I loved what multi-touch does for iPhone multi-media management. But the most difficult thing on the iPhone is typing text. This is less of an issue when the display reaches six inches or so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Keep at it. Most typing mistakes, if you ignore them and move on, are automatically corrected, so if you just type out whatever word you wanted iPhone does a decent job of guessing.
  • Just type multitouch into youtube and you will see a lot of products from different companies. Apple is just first in the consumer market (as far as I know).
  • what about linux? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @02:49PM (#19709153) Homepage
    In response to this story, I had a look at the synaptics driver in Linux.
    According to my dmesg output, the touchpad on my HP does indeed have the flag set for "SYN_CAP_MULTIFINGER", which I assume means it can report the positions of multiple touches.

    Running "synclient -m 10" however reports a constant "0000000" under the "multi" field.

    Anyone know how to properly access the multitouch data provided by the Linux synaptics driver?
  • Multi-touch Mac Mini (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Snart Barfunz ( 526615 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:27PM (#19710227)
    How about a Mac Mini revision where it's whole top side is a multi-touch tablet? That would be very cool. Ergonomically, it would have to be no more than 1.5cm thick so there'd be no room for an optical drive, hard disk, CPU, etc - yet another opportunity for Apple to display their typical elegant minimalism!

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