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Synaptics Making Buttonless, Clickable Trackpads

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 20 comments

It's one big button!

One of the major innovations in the latest generation of MacBooks is the large, ‘buttonless’ trackpad that clicks when pressed. The design now appears to be tried and true after Mac users have been swiping and clicking since October of 2008.

PC trackpad maker Synaptics is now set to bring the design to small notebooks and netbooks. At Computex this week Synaptics is now demonstrating its implementation of the technology, which it calls the ClickPad.

Supported gestures include two-finger scrolling, two-finger PinchZoom, two-finger pivot rotate, three-finger flick, and three-finger press. According to Synaptics, users can program applications to launch using three-finger press gestures.

The technology and software behind the ClickPad appears to differ from Apple’s trackpad in that the ones on the latest MacBooks are made of glass and support for four-finger gestures.

Synaptics is also announcing that its entire SGS 9.1-enabled TouchPad family and software driver has passed Microsoft’s Windows 7 Logo testing. Windows 7 also includes native support for multitouch. The ClickPad will available to OEMs for integration into notebook PC platforms beginning in 3Q09.

Oh, and in case you were still wondering, you can right-click by tapping down the ClickPad with two fingers instead of just one.

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  • 2 Hide
    Kill@dor , June 3, 2009 5:18 PM
    That's impressive. I hope it works as well as its presented...
  • 1 Hide
    starryman , June 3, 2009 5:20 PM
    They call that the iPhone don't they? Two much finger motions to remember for most people. If 80% of users don't even know how to copy/paste via ctrl c, x, v... good luck with this one.
  • 1 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , June 3, 2009 6:07 PM
    Quote:
    you can right-click by tapping down the ClickPad with two fingers instead of just one


    That's called apple click on a mac :) 
  • Display all 20 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    TheMan1214 , June 3, 2009 6:07 PM
    starrymanThey call that the iPhone don't they? Two much finger motions to remember for most people. If 80% of users don't even know how to copy/paste via ctrl c, x, v... good luck with this one.


    Thats the thing starryman...look who apple appeals to for the most part.Comptuer novices.This is bringing the "ease" factor to people who use anything other than apple for their laptops
  • 2 Hide
    pocketdrummer , June 3, 2009 6:10 PM
    about damn time...
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , June 3, 2009 6:57 PM
    Finally.


    So does Apple make thier trackpad in-house?
  • 0 Hide
    socalboomer , June 3, 2009 7:30 PM
    I find this unfortunate! I already have trouble typing on laptops with trackpads where my hand brushes against the pad and screws things up - I don't WANT a large one . . .

    So let's use the Apple market (less than 8%) as the indicator that people (the other 92%) want a large trackpad. . . that's a good business model.
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , June 3, 2009 7:32 PM
    socalboomerI find this unfortunate! I already have trouble typing on laptops with trackpads where my hand brushes against the pad and screws things up - I don't WANT a large one . . . So let's use the Apple market (less than 8%) as the indicator that people (the other 92%) want a large trackpad. . . that's a good business model.



    Well I for one always HATE using laptops with too-small trackpads. That said, they could make it larger without removing the two buttons.
  • 0 Hide
    frozenlead , June 3, 2009 7:57 PM
    So they took a switch and placed it under a touchpad. Why do people see this as genius?
    Honestly, what pisses me off the most about Apple's notebooks is that you have to push the button (or the entire pad) down to click. One every PC notebook I've used since...ever...you just have to tap the pad, and it'll click for you. Or you can use the button. Whichever pleases you. Jobs didn't do away with the button, he just tried emulating the tap technology by moving a switch. How revolutionary.
  • 0 Hide
    Hanin33 , June 3, 2009 9:03 PM
    socalboomerI find this unfortunate! I already have trouble typing on laptops with trackpads where my hand brushes against the pad and screws things up - I don't WANT a large one . . . So let's use the Apple market (less than 8%) as the indicator that people (the other 92%) want a large trackpad. . . that's a good business model.


    trackpads, are to me, the most annoying pointing devices ever developed... but maybe i'm the only one that hates wot it does to the feeling in your fingers after having used them for more than 20 minutes straight... i've gotten to the point where i won't even werk on a laptop that has one that can't be deactivated with an external switch because of the issue you touched on socalboomer...
  • 2 Hide
    funkjunky , June 3, 2009 10:18 PM
    I love you guys. Even when something presented is purely innovative and overall is only better a large number of you still try and complain about it simply because apple brought it to the consumer first.

    Let me tell you first of all by indenting the touch pad slightly you rarely brush up against it to move the mouse. It has happened to me, but It has never been so bad that it has impeeded me in the slightest. you don't need to worry about accidentally clicking because you have to click, not tap.

    The gesture are very simple and any user can learn that very quickly.

    I find it funny that one user says big track pads are inconvenient and another guy thinks they should just increase the size of track pads and keep buttons. One guy says they shouldn't follow the 8% of apple users that are simple minded, while another user says the gestures are too complicated. With all these contradictions you guys should be debating with each other but instead you all somehow agree and complain about apple. Pure win.

    When I first got my macbook I used a mouse when developing, but then my friend told me he never connected a mouse to his macbook, so I tried it and won't go back unless I'm in windows. It's too fast and seemless with the touchpad. Sci fi media often predicts technologies of the future, I'd say this is a milestone towards the minority reports user interface with hand gestures. Unfortunately thou we've confined it to 2 dimensions + combination of 4 fingers... we only need to add one more dimension and we'll have minority report style user interfaces =P.

    Just an fyi:
    4-finger swipe (bear claw) down = expose
    4-finger swipe (bear claw) up = show desktop
    4-finger swipe right = move right one desktop (spaces)
    4-finger swipe left = move left one desktop (spaces)
    3-finger swipe left = back in safari (just tested it and found out =P)
    3-finger swipe right = forward in safari
    2-finger = scrolling 2D
    2-finger click = right click

    also corner clicks can be designated functionality, although I find this more of an inconvenience than a convenience, but it's for people who are too lazy to learn the super simple gestures, or who for some reason need their touch pad to do more than the above.

    For a developer having quicksilver + bearclaw + visor = every window I want gains focus with 2 finger presses or finger gestures.

    If you think that windows is just as good or the above is complicated you don't know usability and should gtfo of my technical world you ignorant fool.
  • -4 Hide
    disavowed , June 3, 2009 10:47 PM
    funk
    i think i speak for a lot of ppl when i say
    stfu you brainwashed nub.
    sitting there playing the worlds smallest violin "oh everyone is bashing apple"
    just relax tom cruise, "if you cant understand the bear claw 3 finger clicking roll then you're in ignorant fool so gtfo"
    if you feel like practicing karate with your laptop thats great, but dont tell others not to criticize.
  • 2 Hide
    norbs , June 3, 2009 11:50 PM
    disavowedfunki think i speak for a lot of ppl when i saystfu you brainwashed nub.sitting there playing the worlds smallest violin "oh everyone is bashing apple"just relax tom cruise, "if you cant understand the bear claw 3 finger clicking roll then you're in ignorant fool so gtfo"if you feel like practicing karate with your laptop thats great, but dont tell others not to criticize.

    oh wow well said, ok you better get back to your video game. "MOM MORE CHEESY POOFS!!"
  • 1 Hide
    mook33 , June 4, 2009 2:02 AM
    people complaining about this? Honestly, this is one thing I love about my MBP -- the gestures. And I would say it a bit silly to label "mac users" as "novices", considering SCEA (That's sony playstation, people) uses ALL macs, as does a good chunk of the visual effects community (that's "movies", people). Linux boxes are used a lot as well...but don't bash macs simply because you don't use one or think that the people who do are intelligent.
    Anyway, I think once this tech hits their product line, you all will really enjoy it; one thing I always hated about laptops was the trackpad, and the gestures really do make things MUCH more efficient. And they're not as "complex" as you'd think...
  • 0 Hide
    mook33 , June 4, 2009 2:05 AM
    *not intelligent" (sorry about that). :) 
  • 0 Hide
    kato128 , June 4, 2009 2:10 AM
    The biggest issue I have with touch pads is moving cursor from one side of the screen to another and that tapping the pad usually moves the cursor off of what I'm trying to click on. TBH I think this kind of thing is a waste of time on a track pad. They should just implement it into touch screens.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 4, 2009 2:13 AM
    I think I'll get flamed, but I don't like this...I would prefer physical buttons.
  • 0 Hide
    Hellcatm , June 4, 2009 4:53 AM
    I like this, but they shouldn't just make it for netbooks and notbooks. They should make it for desktop PC's as well.
  • 1 Hide
    NightbladeXX , June 4, 2009 2:51 PM
    socalboomerI find this unfortunate! I already have trouble typing on laptops with trackpads where my hand brushes against the pad and screws things up - I don't WANT a large one . . . So let's use the Apple market (less than 8%) as the indicator that people (the other 92%) want a large trackpad. . . that's a good business model.


    I totally agree with you

    I long for more IBM Thinkpads with the thumbstick
  • 0 Hide
    waffle911 , June 17, 2009 6:32 AM
    frozenleadHonestly, what pisses me off the most about Apple's notebooks is that you have to push the button (or the entire pad) down to click. One every PC notebook I've used since...ever...you just have to tap the pad, and it'll click for you.

    Last time I checked, that "tap to click" function was on my three-year-old MacBook and enabled by default. I turned it off because of how many times I accidentally "clicked" when just trying to move the cursor on my old Compaq laptop before that. Heaven forbid you should actually put a little muscle into a simple task that is only asking you to apply a little pressure while doing what you've always done, if only to avoid accidental clicks. If you're that desperate, you can still enable tap-to-click. And you can make it so that pressing the touchpad in the lower right-hand-corner does the same thing as right-clicking a physical button. Why is moving the actual button switch under a track-pad genius? Because it was Apple, the makers and promoters of the one-button-mouse that actually has three and still acts like it has four and does something really nifty in PDF's where you can scroll in all directions instead of just up and down or side-to-side. They're Apple, so leave it to them to invent the first no-button-mouse. Seriously.
    ckthecerealkillerThat's called apple click on a mac

    Well, it would have been called Apple-click, but to right-click (in Tiger and Leopard at least, can't vouch for the older ones) you actually press Control. Apple/Command click is the same as center-button/scroll-wheel click.