This is the Force Touch trackpad hidden inside the 12-inch MacBook and new MacBook Pro. It's a close relative of the force-feedback tech inside the Apple Watch, but unlike a regular trackpad, there's no click when you push against a Force Touch pad. Instead, a tiny vibration motor pushes back against your fingers.
Honestly, I was a bit of a sceptic about the new MacBook when I heard about it. It is quite expensive in Australia, and while the design is a lot sleeker and more refined than Apple's other (and otherwise also excellent) Mac laptops, I was extremely cautious about the company moving away from the tried and tested excellence of its glass multi-touch pad.
But I am a convert. I am so completely converted.
We have a new MacBook in the office right now, and Gizmodo's Luke Hopewell showed me how it works. First step: tap away at the trackpad with the MacBook turned off. No click. This is not good. This will not go well. Then, switch on the MacBook, log into OSX. Then try and click something. Whoa.
Honestly, it feels just like any other Apple trackpad — which is to say that it's excellent. The click (not that it's a click) feels firm and realistic and strong and instant — you wouldn't believe for a second that it's actually a tiny but incredibly powerful vibration motor buzzing for an incredibly short period when it senses a certain amount of pressure from your fingers.
These pictures come from iFixit's teardown of the new Retina MacBook, which I strongly recommend you browse along with every other iFixit teardown in existence. It's gadget porn. I'm a big fan of the new MacBook for other reasons too — look at that tiny logic board, this is a whole PC — but the trackpad is one of the two pieces of any laptop that you actually physically interact with, and Force Touch is a quantum leap forward.
You can change the sensitivity, too. You can make it push back more or less powerfully, which is incredible. Who even decided that this needed to be done in the first place? The guy that decided just how incredibly crazy thin the new MacBook had to be, I guess. This kind of thing is incredible. I love technology.