The End of Buttons?


Something remarkable happened this week: I suddenly realized that Apple also made actual computers! It felt like in the last few months, the only things that we associated Apple with were the iPad and the iPhone; I had nearly forgotten about overpriced Apple laptops and desktops! Today, Apple released updated versions of the iMac and Mac Mini with a new twist. The upgraded specifications, such as more RAM, a faster processor and more storage space, were well expected (the base model now features Intel Core i3, 4GB memory, and na  500 GB hard drive), but consumers also got something extra.

Introducing the “Magic Trackpad”; it basically brings the multi-touch features of the Macbook Pro trackpad, and the iPhone/iPod Touch iOS to the desktop. Specifically, it is a stand-alone, enlarged version of the laptop trackpad, which connects to the iMac/mini via Bluetooth. Like the Macbook trackpad, the entire surface functions as one giant button (hence the elimination of all buttons, and confirming the ‘Steve Jobs hates buttons’ hypothesis). It also supports all of the multi-finger gestures that are seen on the macbook, such as two-finger scrolling, ‘expose finger’ shortcut, switching applications, and more.


With the popularity of the iOS for the iPhone and iPad, it seems to make sense that Apple might be moving their OSX toward a multi-touch input interface instead of a conventional-keyboard-and-mice one. Although this transition might seem too extreme right now, with the release of the “Magic Trackpad”, it seems that the shift toward a touch-only user interface is inevitable in the near future.

On a side note: Apple also released a “battery charger” which retails $29 (the charger also comes with 6 rechargeable  A NiMH batteries), which the company insists is the most environmentally-friendly way to recharge batteries.

Image Source: Apple Inc.

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