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The MacBook's new trackpad will change the way you click

Jason Snell | March 13, 2015
To make the new MacBook so thin, Apple had to shrink the keyboard's height and remove the trackpad's up-and-down click. So far, Jason Snell prefers the trackpad and its new Force click gesture.

Again, presumably developers will be able to support Force clicks in interesting ways. But with both of these features we're back to that whole idea of "the Mac standard" again: The number of Macs that support these gestures will be few and far between for quite a while yet. Even if Apple does move Force touch into every trackpad it makes--which I think is likely--it'll be awhile before a majority of Mac users can take advantage of those features. Still, the idea of giving trackpad gestures an additional dimension seems great to me. But then, I am a committed trackpad user. Can you Force-click a mouse? Maybe we'll find out someday soon.

Let's not forget that the existence of the Taptic Engine isn't just wired to emulating mouse clicks. According to Apple, the Force Touch trackpad can communicate other goings-on on your Mac to you via a vibration. Imagine dragging to center a text block in Keynote, and feeling when you hit dead center, rather than just seeing it on screen. The new trackpad makes that kind of interaction possible.

Eras of change
It's human nature to prefer stability and fear change. After a nice era of stability for the Mac platform, it sure feels like the new MacBook is ushering in an era of change. It remains to be seen just how many of its innovations make it across to the rest of the Mac product line, but Apple rarely does things halfheartedly. I'm excited about the future of the Force Touch trackpad and a little more skeptical about the MacBook's new keyboard, but there's no doubt that both of them may change the way we all use our Macs in the next few years.

 

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