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Apple: MacBook multitouch merely software update [U]

updated 09:20 am EST, Wed February 13, 2008

MacBook multitouch

(Updated with T3 removal) Spreading advanced multitouch technology to other MacBooks may be simpler than expected by the public, an Apple spokesperson has revealed. While the Air is currently the only MacBook to support gestures such as pinching and swiping, the Apple representative notes that this is entirely software-based. As a result, existing MacBooks and MacBook Pros may gain the extra commands in the future, though no official release plans have been laid out.

Concern had been raised in the industry that earlier MacBooks would be left behind in terms of interface, requiring a hardware refresh that has yet to manifest. Multitouch on these systems is currently limited to scrolling through browser windows, or performing right-click commands. The addition of Air-like controls to the Pro could prove especially useful, allowing new commands in programs like Aperture, Final Cut and Photoshop.

Update: T3 has pulled the article from its website, a move that suggests it was posted in error. Previous information from a teardown by iFixit suggested that the Air's multitouch is handled by a Broadcom chip, the same one used in the iPhone and the iPod touch.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    awesome

    how long until Dell poorly imitates that?

  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    and the cost :-)

    will that just be a system update feature or?

  1. driven

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Nice ...

    nice ...

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    no imitation

    Almost all wintels have TINY trackpads, rending them unsuitable for multi-touch even if they manage to poorly copy it.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I'm Curious

    if adding multi-touch capabilities to MBs and MBPs is just a matter of a software update since they already show they can track two points independently, would a PowerBook's trackpad also get such an update?

    This post confirms my suspition months-long that it may be possible through an update. I would certainly be willing to pay a small fee for such an upgrade.

    As it stands now, my hat goes off to Apple for their trackpad design. On no other laptops do a find myself preferring the trackpad to a regular mouse during text-intensive, mouse-edit work. 8 fingers on the keys, 2 thumbs for spacebar and trackpad.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I'd pay the fee....

    without any whining whatsoever for a software upgrade. I'm still using Tiger and I hope it would work with Tiger. I wouldn't mind having multi-touch capabilities on my MacBook Pro C2D. It probably won't happen, though. Strictly to keep up sales of newer notebooks.

  1. leamanc

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: danviento

    I think older PowerBooks could work, as long as they were the ones that supported gestures (side scrolling, etc.). There does need to be some hardware in place to handle things other than a simple tap-to-click.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: re: me

    Yeah, i figured on the necessary two-finger scroll, etc. gestures in my above post (mine does those). My fiancee, disparrager or Macs abroad, actually oohed and ahhed over the MBA, esp. the iTouch capbilities. Makes me kind of wonder what such capabilities added to my PB would do for her ;-). Since her issues are with bad past experiences (OS 9 in grade school) and media stigma fueling a skewed perception, it'll be interested to see if this could win her over.

    I made inroads with an iPod mini and iTunes for her a few years ago (soon to be replaced with a gifted nano), so there's a chance :-P.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    how much?

    My guess it falls in the $3 to $5 range. But it would cost, without a doubt.

  1. hezekiahb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    mouse

    Wonder if this technology might be part of the reason Apple also had patents for a mouse capable of intricate multi-touch sensing some time ago. Could be they plan on building multi-touch into all their technology, not just laptops. :)

    I'm still a little disappointed though that the screen on MBA can't flip around & doesn't include multi-touch capability, would have been nice if at least it was an upgrade feature. Course maybe that is something only useful for to few to spend time & money on.

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