Trackpad Stories February 2, 2016

Apple was today granted a patent for detecting touch-free gestures at close range, the patent language suggesting that the approach could build on the capabilities of multi-touch and 3D touch to respond to fingers hovering close to an iPhone or iPad display, as well as use on keyboards and trackpads.

The patent describes using sensors similar to the proximity detectors used to disable accidental touch input on the iPhone screen when you’re holding the phone to your face during a call. Unlike longer-range gesture technologies like Kinect, the system would detect ‘hover events’ just above the surface of the screen …

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Trackpad Stories April 23, 2015

Update: Patently Apple notes that this patent has now been granted (19th April 2016).

Apple patent application published today shows that the Force Touch trackpad used in the 12-inch MacBook and latest 13-inch MacBook Pro could get more sophisticated in future versions. The patent describes how a mix of vibration and temperature could fool your finger into ‘feeling’ different surfaces, such as metal and wood.

For example, a glass surface may be controlled to have the temperature of a relatively cooler metal material and/or a relatively warmer wood material […]

In some cases, the temperature may be varied over time, such as in response to one or more touches detected using one or more touch sensors. For example, a metal material may increase in temperature while touched in response to heat from a user’s finger.

The patent describes how vibrations could be used to simulate a textured surface, such as the grain of a wooden surface …  expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

Trackpad Stories March 26, 2015

As I noted in Part 1 of How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Apple has designed the Mac purchasing process to be easy: pick a model, pick the good, better, or best configuration, hand over your cash, and enjoy your computer. Since most people get confused by tech specs — bullet points filled with numbers and acronyms — Apple downplays them in its marketing materials, leaving customers to sort through the details and figure out what most of them mean.

But these specs are really important when you’re shopping for the right Mac for your current and future needs. So I’ve created this How-To guide to walk you through each of Apple’s Tech Specs pages using clear explanations, hopefully enabling you to properly understand what you’re about to buy. Part 1 focused on the “big 5″ Mac specs you really need to know about, and this Part 2 looks at the rest — generally things that remain the same in a given model, regardless of the configuration you choose…

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Trackpad Stories March 16, 2015

Less than a week following the previous seed, Apple has released build 14D105 of the upcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 to both developers and users of the Public Beta. Apple has not yet said when 10.10.3 will be released to all OS X Yosemite users, but the increase in seeds in recent weeks likely indicates that a wider launch is fast approaching. As we’ve previously detailed, 10.10.3 will include the all new iCloud-based Photos app for the Mac, developer APIs for the new Force Touch Trackpad on the MacBook and MacBook Pro with Retina display, and a new Emoji picker across the system.

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Trackpad Stories February 17, 2015

When Apple develops a new technology or feature for its hardware, it typically rolls it out on one product then expands it to the rest of the line. For example, Touch ID launched for the iPhone in 2013 and made its way to the iPad with the iPad Air 2 in 2014. For 2015, Touch ID may make its debut on the Mac, according to a rumor from website apple.club.tw. According to the blog, which published legitimate photos of iPad Air 2 Touch ID and A8X chip components last fall, Touch ID will come to Macs this year to enable Apple Pay functionality…

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Trackpad Stories February 26, 2014

Ever wondered why your mouse pointer is angled, not straight?

Here’s the reason, courtesy of a concept drawing from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where the graphical user interface was invented, and where Steve Jobs was introduced to the concept that was to lead to the Macintosh8BitFuture writes:

When the graphical user interface was later developed by Xerox, however, the team found that the vertical pointer was almost impossible to see due to the low resolution displays in use at the time.

Rather than make the pointer larger, the decision was made to turn it 45 degrees, making it easy to see. Despite the high resolution displays we have today, the concept has managed to stick for 33 years.

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