Multi-touch trackpads a simple software update for current Mac laptops? - Macenstein

Multi-touch trackpads a simple software update for current Mac laptops?

[UPDATE: T3 seems to have removed their post, for whatever reason (see below in the comments)]

T3 is reporting that the multi-touch trackpad featured in the MacBook Air, and presumably one of the new features in the soon-to-be-released MacBook Pros, is not hardware-based, but rather a simple software hack that could in theory be made available to current MacBook and MacBook Pro owners. That is, if Apple allows it.

According to T3, an Apple spokesperson (which I always read as “girl”) has confirmed it would be possible to enable multi-touch features on current models via a simple download. While the “two-fingered photo rotating/zooming” seems like more of a gimmick than truly a useful application of the technology, it would be nice to see what other developers do with the technology. Of course, current Apple trackpads already have multi-touch of sorts, for scrolling and what not, so this isn’t overly surprising. What would be surprising is if Apple decides to enable it ahead of or in conjunction with new portables rumored to be coming out this month. Seems like an unlikely move, as multi-touch, however useless it may be in its current application, is still seen by many to be something to get excited about in the new portables. Of course, given Apple’s recent track record, odds are if they do enable it on current-gen laptops, they’ll charge $20 for the feature.

16 Responses to “Multi-touch trackpads a simple software update for current Mac laptops?”
  1. kersmackflat says:

    Now i know these are all the same finger, but they’re kind of creeping me out

  2. Well then, Mission accomplished.
    -The Doc

  3. Bronskrat says:

    Gimmick? Have you seen John King with that smart board on CNN? Wouldn’t you want to do that at home in your underwear?

  4. Leon says:

    I have been saying this since the Air was announced. Aren’t our Macbook trackpads multi-touch all ready? After all we use two fingers to scroll and right-click. The trackpad has to distinguish that there are two fingers on it and not one. So it seems logical that the hardware is there, but just needs software.

  5. Max says:

    Leon – I’ve been saying the same thing. I mean the only thing that the MacBook Air has is a bigger surface, and the ability to zoom in/out photo, etc. It should just be a simple software update.

  6. GlowingApple says:

    Dilmom: Why don’t you call your product the “Gruntmaster 6000?”
    Dilbert: What kind of product do you see when you imagine a “Gruntmaster 6000?”
    Dilmom: Well it’s a stripped-down version of the “Gruntmaster 9000” of course. But it’s software upgradeable.

    Insert Apple computer names where appropriate 😉

  7. well seems it’ not that true… T3 removed the post in wich they said so. Why? Was it a fake claim? What do you think doc?

  8. Hmmm. well, that IS odd.
    I happen to still have the page open, so here’s a screen grab.

    Could be it was BS, or maybe the Apple rep thought they’d get in trouble, and asked them to take it down?
    -The Doc

  9. Way2Poppy says:

    See the last bullet on this page:

    The trackpad on the Air has the same multi-touch controller chip as the iPhone. So it would seem that the other current gen MacBooks would not be capable with a simple firmware update.

  10. Max says:

    Even so, if the trackpads on the MacBook/Pro can detect two fingers and the way the move, then they should be able to do the things that the Air does – am I right?

  11. Richard says:

    i dont see why not, maybe not as advanced as the iphone/ipod touch/Air, if you use 2 fingers the screen scrolls, if you use 3 it doesn’t move, so its detecting more then 2, maybe we couldn’t have the fancier pinch and rotate features but we could have the 3 finger ‘next page’ swipe?

    just a through.

  12. Richard says:

    damn this illiterate keyboard

  13. Of course they won’t make it available to older macs… just look at the $99 external superdrive for the macbook Air as an example.

  14. dbr says:

    Of course it is. The software (more specifically, the touchpad driver) handles all the multi-touch fancyness.
    I’m kind of surprised no-one has written an application to mimic the Macbook Air’s multitouch on the Macbook *’s yet.. It might be a bit harder to use on a smaller touchpad, but this 15″ Macbook Pro’s touchpad is more than big enough to fit 3 fingers and have them move about.

  15. Mat Pancha says:

    Its definately a firmware update (software based). If you think back to when “2 finger scroll” was added to the MacBook Pros/PowerBooks, the feature was soon availlble on just about any Mac via a 3rd party piece of software.

    Even if Apple doesn’t make it available on older machines, its just a matter of time before a developer creates a hack for the rest of us.

  16. nick says:

    i have a white macbook
    and i went to the apple store today and saw the new “no button glass trackpads” and the 4 finger function seems really nice (push 4 fingers forward exposé, backwards show desktop to the side alternative to command+tab) it was really great, i want someone to hack the MacBook because i believe it CAN handle multi-touch <3

Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.