writing about tech

Tag: macbook

The Force Touch Trackpad is a fantastic new MacBook trick

Arstechnica writes, regarding the Force Touch Trackpad in the updated 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro:

The only external change to the Pro is the addition of Apple’s Force Touch Trackpad, originally developed for the Retina MacBook. To accommodate that system’s thinness, the trackpad doesn’t physically move as most current trackpads do. This isn’t something that Apple did first—Synaptics has shipped a clickless ForcePad for years—but Apple’s implementation is the first that approximates the feel of a standard trackpad. It’s also pressure sensitive and can respond differently depending on how hard you press down.

I can’t emphasize enough how true it is. I went to Best Buy yesterday to try out the Force Trackpad and it’s indistinguishable from a real click, except that you now have the option to click “deeper”. It basically adds a Z-depth to the existing multitouch trackpad paradigm and it’s super, super cool.

I wouldn’t recommend going and buying a new laptop just to have this feature, but given that Apple’s laptops already outperform competitors when it comes to trackpad functionality, this is like leapfrogging the competition before they even catch up with you. It’ll be especially great once third-party developers start playing with it.

Choosing, or losing, my religion

There’s been a lot of talk about how the ecosystem wars are heading up; walls are getting taller and moats are getting deeper, as both Apple and Google work to ensure you invest so heavily in their products and services that leaving becomes an overly-painful proposition.  The question was posed on The Verge’s forums:

I’ve been an Apple guy thus far. But I am waiting to see what comes out of the Moto 360, Nexus 6 and Android Silver launch later this year. We all pretty much know what iPhone 6, iOS 8 and OSX is bringing to the table, so no mystery there.

If I don’t switch from Apple now, I am not sure I ever will, so I want to give Android a serious look before making the decision. I want to wait till December and see how things shake out in the platform wars.

Anybody else taking the wait and watch approach before making their next big tech purchase – smart phone, tablet, smart watch etc.?

With all of this going on, I’ve been pondering just how invested I am in my current daily driver setup.  I know I have absolutely no desire to use anything but OS X on my primary computing device – everything else is certainly up for grabs, though. This year I’ll probably continue to coast with the Nexus 5 and 7, unless this year’s iPad refresh is truly remarkable. I love iPad hardware, and iOS is…fine, but I just can’t justify $400-500 for something that’s a luxury for me at best. I need a PC, and I need a smartphone…but my tablet use cases are generally limited to “electronic reader and light gaming machine”, and the Nexus 7 is perfectly adequate for that. Of course, I occasionally find myself tempted by the fairly impressive iPad-exclusive tablet game line-up, FTL being a high-profile example. Since price is my primary concern, maybe I’ll look into a used retina Mini at some point.

Phone-wise, I’m really reluctant to buy any more OEM or carrier phones, which at this point limits me to basically Nexus devices, an iPhone, or a Windows Phone. Only Nexus devices satisfy my desire to own a phone at a reasonable price, though; if I get an iPhone or a Windows Phone on contract, then I feel like I’m just renting my device from the carrier. Still, depending on how compelling 2015’s hardware is, I could certainly see myself moving off of Android.

That’s 2015, though – after my bump from an HTC One to a Nexus 5, this year is basically a mobile tech holding pattern, with the possible exception of the Moto 360 – which, of course, would further invest me in the Android world.  Either way, the next couple of years are going to be pretty exciting, and there’s some small comfort in knowing that it’ll be pretty hard to go wrong, regardless of what side you end up coming down on.

Daily Drivers Update, 6/22/2014

As part of this blog, I am going to keep an up-to-date list of all the devices I currently use as daily drivers.  That list can be found here. Devices added:

  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 7
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Late 2013)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 II
  • FitBit One, Pebble Smartwatch

Devices removed: None.

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