Keyboards, Keypads, Trackpads... Trackboards?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
You know, I've been wondering lately. The trackpad has long been a staple of the notebook world as a means of replacing the motion input of a mouse. However, it hasn't been able to overtake the mouse in the desktop world due to certain input feasibility issues (i.e. being able to click, scroll, etc in a non-awkward way due to having to use a trackpad in conjunction with other physical keys). With the advent of Apple's innovative multitouch, clickable trackpad, one would think this would pave the way for the creation of a new product, the trackboard. That would be, the coupling of the keyboard and trackpad.



Think of a keyboard which sports a keypad, except in place of the keypad there would be a trackpad. Technically speaking, would this not be feasible? The physical dimensions of keyboards can easily accomodate the dimensions of trackpads like those on Apple's notebooks. Apple has also managed to engineer these trackpads into said notebooks, which aren't that thick to begin with, and most keyboards on the market today are almost as thick as Apple's notebooks (except Apple's, which are pretty thin). And with clickability, the last major hurdle towards trumping the mouse was demolished. I could see Apple, out of any manufacturer, and with their tech expertise, coming out with such a product first. Apple's current mouse isn't exactly wunderkind as it is, and could easily be supplanted by implementing a trackpad into their keyboard. It would also serve the "Apple elegance" as you'd have just your iMac and your trackboard, no wonky mouse off at the side. A clean, simple, symmetric desktop look. Just food for thought. Do any of you think this would be a good idea? Or just the bastard child of the keyboard and trackpad? lol

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    There is definitely a vocal free-standing-trackpad contingent out there. I would buy two immediately if Apple released one--wireless or not.



    I don't know if I'm so hip on the idea of a trackpad integrated with a keyboard, because it would awkwardly extend the keyboard in size. I had one of these once (Adesso) and I didn't care for it.



    One other thing: I would still leave my (non-Apple) mouse plugged in if I had a trackpad. The trackpad is superior for many tasks such as browsing, flipping windows, etc., but not so good (for me) for things like using brushes in Photoshop. However, I haven't yet tried one of Apple's newer glass trackpads.



    Trackpad use definitely is better on my hands (RSI) than using a mouse.





    PS: The Mighty Mouse is a blob of white-colored poo. If they put a trackpad on its top surface, it'd be like strapping a Ducati upside-down onto a Vespa.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post


    Think of a keyboard which sports a keypad, except in place of the keypad there would be a trackpad. Technically speaking, would this not be feasible?



    Perfectly feasible:



    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/01..._eee_keyboard/



    As well as putting a computer inside the keyboard. As you say, they are almost as big as laptop bases.



    The multi-touch screen means you can customize the panel so you can have Photoshop palettes or whatever.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    ndbbmndbbm Posts: 10member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Isomorphic View Post


    There is definitely a vocal free-standing-trackpad contingent out there. I would buy two immediately if Apple released one--wireless or not.



    I don't know if I'm so hip on the idea of a trackpad integrated with a keyboard, because it would awkwardly extend the keyboard in size. I had one of these once (Adesso) and I didn't care for it.



    One other thing: I would still leave my (non-Apple) mouse plugged in if I had a trackpad. The trackpad is superior for many tasks such as browsing, flipping windows, etc., but not so good (for me) for things like using brushes in Photoshop. However, I haven't yet tried one of Apple's newer glass trackpads.



    Trackpad use definitely is better on my hands (RSI) than using a mouse.



    How about being able to use a pen on it like a wacom tablet? I keep wondering if Apple will go this direction because the newer track pads seem almost big enough for this.



    Jason
  • Reply 4 of 6
    I love apple trackpads. I used to be bent on using a traditional mouse for video editing, but with all of the different gestures on the new trackpads they have become superior to the mouse. As a matter of fact, my set up is a MBP connected to a 23" cinema display, and even though it would be more convenient to simply pu the laptop off to the side and use an external keyboard and mouse, I stick to the laptop because the trackpad is just that good. I just wonder what I'll ever do if I switch to a Mac pro. I would absolutely love an external trackpad to replace the standard mouse. Total no brainer for me. I'm not too sure if I would want it integrated into the keyboard though.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ndbbm View Post


    How about being able to use a pen on it like a wacom tablet? I keep wondering if Apple will go this direction because the newer track pads seem almost big enough for this.



    If I could buy a Wacom tablet that was touch-sensitive, I'd already have done it.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Fingerworks, which invented the MultiTouch technology Apple bought them out for, actually had a short-lived product that looked like a Microsoft Natural Pro keyboard with a recessed iGesture Numpad taking the place of the numeric and cursor keypads. It was called the Retro.

    http://www.fingerworks.com/retro_product.html



    Since the Numpad tablet has touch versions of those keypads on the surface, it took up exactly the same space and provided all the same keys as the original keyboard. I really like my Natural Pro keyboards (all three of them) and my iGesture Numpad, so I scoured the Web for this product. Unfortunately, it looks like only a handful were ever made and nobody wanted to part with theirs, and this was when Fingerworks was still in business around five or six years ago. I think I read somewhere that they discontinued it because it was very expensive to manufacture. Its list price was somewhere near $300, I seem to recall. For a while, I actually parked my Numpad on top of the keypads on my keyboard so I wouldn't have to reach to the far right past the keyboard for mousing or gesture control.



    Looks like they made a later version without the Natural Pro split design or the recessed Numpad, stacking it on top sort of like I had mine. I wouldn't have bought this since I like split ergonomic keyboards, not to mention all the highly programmable multimedia/Internet buttons on the Natural Pro keyboard.

    http://www.fingerworks.com/igest_kb.html
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