The Apple Engineer Behind The New MacBook Speaks&&And What He Says …

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 things the MacBook needs in the next generation.

With Apple’s latest event came the unveiling of the new MacBook—the thinnest and lightest notebook the company has made to date. Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display got some significant updates last week alongside the big Apple Watch and new MacBook announcements, and one of those was a brand new trackpad that features Force Touch pressure sensitive and a Taptic Engine for haptic (vibration) feedback.

Now that you’ve seen Apple’s new MacBook from all sides and read all the commentary, are you ready to hear the story of how it was first presented to Apple CEO Tim Cook?Apple’s Watch and the latest MacBook both have Force Touch and Taptic Engine technology – and the next iPhone is rumoured to also adopt them – but what do they do?

At a mere 13 millimeters thick and weighing just two pounds, it approaches the iPad’s portability and is just as spartan, sporting only a solitary connector. Repair experts iFixit took the new computer apart, and the most illuminating part of their teardown was the close-up it provided on the new trackpad’s design. What seemed inevitable back in 2010 is no closer to fruition than it was then—OS X and iOS may share certain design cues and UX elements, but they’re as far apart as the’ve always been.

In the tech industry’s never-ending quest to shave off as much weight and thickness from products, Apple has nixed traditional ports for one connecter called the USB-C that supports USB, VGA, and more. The new MacBook will replace the iPad for some people, according to Andy Vandervell, an editor at Trusted Reviews. “If you’ve ever bought a keyboard for your iPad and found that experience frustrating, the new MacBook is the perfect tonic,” Vandervell told “It’s the most extreme…notebook we’ve ever created. Nothing about the Yosemite redesign suggests touch is being considered in the slightest, and if anything, OS X 10.10 moves the Mac further from converging with iPad, with things like Handoff and AirDrop creating a seamless sharing experience that adapts to their respective environments.

The one in the new 13-inch Retina MBP is slightly different, owing to the fact that there’s still room in the case to support a physical button-style trackpad like the one that ships in all other exiting Mac laptops, but at heart it’s the same combination of sound and haptics to produce a 100% accurate illusion of a physical click, even when no such click actually exists. Apple’s line of tablets may have brought an extraordinary level of simplicity and elegance to common computing tasks, but it also introduced a perfect form factor: light, ultra portable, self-contained and long-lasting. To vary the strength, iFixit guesses that Apple will selectively activate either only some or all four of the ferromagnetic cores found inside the trackpad’s taptic engine. iFixit also notes that, in keeping with Apple’s assurance that there’s no real movement going on here, the construction includes no linear oscillators in the mechanism (which is what traditional vibration feedback like the kind found on your phone generally uses). As for pressure detection, iFixit hazards a guess that they come via very small strain gauges mounted on flexible metal supports that read how much flex said supports are experiencing, and translate that into a read on how much pressure is being applied.

In the original video, Spanish actor and comedian Juan Joya Borja or el Risitas (Spanish for “giggles”) is giving a TV interview on Spanish TV — he’s actually talking about his work at a beach restaurant. Laptops can already register taps, and even detect multiple fingers at once, but now they’ve learned to measure how hard you press, which enables some new user interface tricks. The 2010 MacBook Air refresh didn’t bring back everything we’d lost, but Apple did ditch the trap door, beef up the storage, and re-illuminate the keyboard. But that wasn’t well received. “I am still trying to understand who are they trying to target with the new MacBook,” Gurpreet Kaur, an analyst at market researcher Gap Intelligence, told “Maybe this is their answer to [Microsoft’s] Surface?” Then there’s the starting price of $1,299. Here’s what I’d like to see in the second generation. (And I’ll skip such obvious gimmes like another USB-C port, faster processor, and lower price.) Adding Touch ID to a laptop would fix that, plus let me unlock the computer itself biometrically.

That’s $400 more than the entry price for the 11.6-inch MacBook Air. (Which, by the way, isn’t that much heavier at 2.38 pounds.) That puts it in the elite product category and rules out cost-conscious consumers. And Apple will undoubtedly improve on the design giving millions more consumers more reason to opt for the tech giant’s new vision of the laptop down the road. With a thinner design that squeezes the spaces between letters and brings them flush against the case, it shifts our expectations of how we type on a notebook. Jony Ive and his design crew could team up with some furniture designers to make the most beautiful wireless charging station the world has ever seen. The new butterfly mechanism changes the feel and feedback we get while typing and creates a uniformity under our fingers that those of us who do a lot of iPad typing will immediately recognize.

It takes up more of the palm rest to let your hands sit in a more natural position, and like the keyboard, the underlying mechanism has been redesigned to provide a more homogenous experience that requires no actual clicking. I’m still clinging to my unlimited data plan on AT&T—the company no longer offers unlimited data on new plans, so I’ve kept the same exact data plan since I got my first iPhone in 2008. Even with Force Touch—a feature that’s all but certain to land on the iPad with this year’s refresh—the tapping is intuitive, and the trackpad is able to recognize your touches without needing much more pressure than you would use to long-tap an object on a touchscreen. The biggest knock on Apple’s svelte new notebook is that it doesn’t have enough expansion, a familiar refrain that we heard when the iPad launched five years ago.

People have been yelling for Apple to add a USB port or memory card slot for as long as its been selling its tablet, but as the iPad has evolved it’s become clear that most people don’t really need those things. My Mac laptop is for work, and I work online, so I would pay a premium for the peace of mind of knowing I could connect anywhere I can find a cell signal. Perhaps a prepaid Wi-Fi hotspot like Karma is the way to go since that could get my iPad or my Mac online, but that’s another thing I have to carry and keep charged. I can’t remember ever using my iPad while it was plugged in, and despite less overall battery life than the Air, it still has plenty of juice to easily get people through a full day, even while traveling.

I remember being distinctly bummed that the first-gen MacBook Air released in 2008 didn’t have the light-up keyboard that I loved in my big ol’ 15-inch MacBook Pro. There’s a reason Apple announced its new MacBook at the Apple Watch event; buyers will likely be using it as a companion, either to a more powerful Mac or an iPad. You might say it’s the ultimate Handoff machine, and if Apple were to implement an iOS-like iCloud backup system on the Mac, many people would never have a reason to plug in a peripheral device. I’ve taken a second to look around the crowd when covering big tech events and press conferences at CES, and I always get a little thrill to see a sea of glowing Apple logos perched on the laps of rows and rows of journalists. (Especially if the press conference is, say, Samsung’s.

Some technologies have already made their way into Apple’s other laptops, and after a few years we won’t even remember ever being mad at the single port.

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