One of the biggest new features in the new MacBooks that Apple just unveiled is the glass trackpad, one that ditches the button in favour of turning the entire trackpad into a button. It also works with a bunch of new gestures, using up to four fingers to make doing things like switching between applications and flipping through a photo slideshow easier. It's pretty cool, but definitely not as cool as the concepts we've seen with a screen underneath, making the whole trackpad-is-the-buttons much more logical. Where's the screen, Apple?
Anyhow, this new trackpad has 39% more of a surface area than the old ones. As for the new gestures, some of them will include things like a two finger gesture to pinch and rotate for zooming and panning, a three finger gesture for swiping between photos or a four finger gesture for expose and app switching. Of course, all of this could have been done with the old plastic trackpads, making me wonder what, exactly, is the benefit of a glass trackpad with no screen underneath. I personally prefer the feel of my plastic trackpad to the screen of my iPhone for dragging my finger around on, as there's less resistance and fingerprint-gunkery on plastic.
From the press release:
The new smooth glass Multi-Touch trackpad on the MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro gives users almost 40 percent more tracking area than before, making it even easier to use Multi-Touch gestures like pinch, rotate and swipe. New gestures allow users to activate Exposé® or switch between applications at the touch of a fingertip. The entire trackpad surface is also a button, allowing users to both track and click virtually anywhere on the trackpad. Users can easily enable multiple virtual buttons in software, such as right-clicking.