Does MacBook’s rumored glass trackpad mean secondary displays?

If the new MacBook Pro’s touchpad will be glass and multitouch, there is an implication of it having a display underneath it, because the current metal touchpads already do multitouch. Here’s a photoshop cooked up by 4 Front Multimedia:

glasspad.jpg

Moreoever, this ties in neatly with rumors of Apple finally working on tablet-related stuff – the latter assumption could rest on a misunderstanding of evidence better explained but this somewhat odd new rumor. I think it’s a bit too weird, myself – if Apple does anything like this, it will be a more subtle and snazzy affair, like a purely aesthetic e-ink layer beneath the hypothetical glass, or some single-color glowy LED action, like so:

beschizza_touchglass.jpg

Gizmodo runs through some possible uses for a secondary display on Apple notebooks. Of course, Microsoft’s been doing this for years.

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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9 Responses to Does MacBook’s rumored glass trackpad mean secondary displays?

  1. keratacon says:

    You wouldn’t want this to replace a keyboard. I tried out one of those PDA keyboards that project a QWERTY pattern onto a flat table once.

    Not being able to rest your fingers against a surface means your hands tire _fast_. If all you type is an URL or short email, it would be ok. But if you have to write the great american novel or code the great american BSP tree, no thanks.

  2. Halloween Jack says:

    In your face, Art Lebedev! Eat it, Nintendo DS!

    …sorry.

  3. pewma says:

    I would suspect a swivel or complete fold-over type design to turn the whole laptop into a big tablet.
    I don’t really see the point of putting an additional display on the track pad if it’s just showing what your already looking at on the primary screen. but the second image is kinda nice. I would like to see a black aluminum case.

  4. pewma says:

    or something like this…

    http://www.axiotron.com/

  5. Davin says:

    Good music choices for mockups.

    That’d be pretty damned amazing. Replacing the keyboard, though, wouldn’t be that nice unless they had some kind of haptic feedback.

  6. raisinlove says:

    Check this out for touch-screen keyboard goodness:
    http://www.shinyshiny.tv/2008/07/optimus_tactus.html

  7. Clay says:

    I’m impressed, Rob. You have a much better pulse on Apple design priorities than a lot of the tech blogs with their nutty mockups.

    Beyond info displays that don’t offer a huge advantage over appearing on the main screen, though, I could see the padscreen being used for context-sensitive auxiliary controls. The center of the pad would appear blank (normal trackpad response area) with perhaps iTunes play controls, iPhoto nav buttons, or somesuch to the sides.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I predict the next generation of Macbook Air will use the touch sensitive display to completely replace the keyboard, and if you open portrait style, or booklike, it will launch into an ebook mode, with left and right pages.

    Bonus points if they use the tech in both halves of the clamshell, and it assigns the display half and the keyboard half dynamically, depending on which one is up.

  9. Rob Beschizza says:

    Thanks, folks :-) More photoshopping today here:

    http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/07/30/esquire-to-geeks-hac.html

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