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MacBook Updates Rumored To Include Glass Trackpad 273

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the unfounded-speculation dept.
CWmike writes to tell us that Seth Weintraub has been hearing some interesting rumors surrounding the next iteration of Apple's MacBook line. "I have been hearing some interesting things about Apple's upcoming line of portable computers. The talk amongst insiders on the new MacBooks is kind of scattered but here's a summation of what I've heard: The new models are thinner than current MacBook and MacBook Pros and slightly more rounded, taking design cues from the MacBook Air; the trackpad is glass, multi-touch and uses gestures. The screen isn't multi-touch; the body is manufactured out of one piece of aluminum. Eco-friendly, yet sturdy. Manufacturing process is completely different; the release date will be in the last weeks of September."
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MacBook Updates Rumored To Include Glass Trackpad

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  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Informative)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:16PM (#24373305)

    Yes. Yes it can actually.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:26PM (#24373435)

    Since when was /. (officially) devoted to Linux/open source?

  • Tough one... (Score:4, Informative)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:31PM (#24373521) Journal

    I've really been trying to figure it out, but I can't. If it does have a second LCD in the trackpad as smitty97 speculates, it sure won't be more eco-friendly:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/07/04/lcd-greenhouse-gas-worries/1 [bit-tech.net]

    Also if it has a 1-piece aluminum chassis, it will be more difficult to repair, therefore more likely to be replaced, therefore more hardware going into landfills, therefore less eco-friendly. The case itself is sturdier but if it's one hard piece of aluminum, the internals will take more damage and the case will take less. Again, less eco-friendly. A good case for preventing damage would be a replaceable one made of thin, soft metal.

    Also getting the parts inside such a case would be a nightmare...I guess the screen would have a slit on the bottom where the internals are inserted and then clipped into place, and the body would just have removable bays as usual, but then the mobo and keyboard would be non-replaceable.

  • Re:Glass trackpad? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:37PM (#24373617)

    It would be either film-coated glass or applique-covered glass. There's no way they'd let you actually TOUCH raw glass. That would be stupid.

  • by jonnythan (79727) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:50PM (#24373837) Homepage

    13" lightweight laptops are more expensive than the big bulky 15.4" laptops of the same specs.

    This is true across the board.

    The Macbook actually compares very well with current offerings from Dell. Compare it to the Vostro 1310 and XPS 1330. The Macbook specs are getting slightly dated in comparison to Dell's frequent updates, but when the new Macbook comes out expect the specs to be as good or better for the price than similarly-equipped laptops from other manufacturers.

  • Re:I don't get it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by imcleod (94945) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:07PM (#24374119)

    Not necessarily, he could be a monkey.

    You mean orangutan. NEVER call him a monkey.

  • Re:Touchscreen (Score:5, Informative)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:09PM (#24374145)

    Look up touchscreen gorilla arm.

    That's why touch screens are not great and won't cause a revolution.

  • Multi-touch pad (Score:5, Informative)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:11PM (#24374189)

    the MacBook Pro already has a multi-touch trackpad [apple.com], so I'm not sure where the rumor part comes in...

  • I've not used an iPhone or iPod touch for long, but I got the impression that they were designed to favour short finger motions on the pad for precisely this reason.

    I have to say, I've had an iPhone for a year. At first I was skeptical of the glass because of fingerprints, etc, but in practice I never notice any smudges, and I've *never* had any skipping, etc. In fact, it's remarkably precise, considering the blunt nature of a fingertip.

    My theory on the way it works is that it finds the centroid of the pressure region. I've used drawing applications with it, and it's actually amazing how well it works drawing thin lines with a fingertip.

    I don't know about a multitouch touchpad, that seems kind of lame. What makes multitouch cool is touching directly on the screen.

  • Re:Tough one... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mjpaci (33725) * on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:54PM (#24374853) Homepage Journal

    Aluminum is very recyclable. I really doubt many Aluminum chasis make it past the sorters and into a landfill. Hell, Al cans vanish out of my recycling bin before the truck even gets there. It's magic!

  • Just wrong! (Score:3, Informative)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:55PM (#24374865)

    Apple has NEVER used desktop processors in ANY of their Intel lines. Even Mini and iMac use notebook processors, and the Mac Pros use Server-grade Xeon processors. That give them an edge up in buying quantity over Dell because they only buy higher margin parts that Intel likes to sell, not "cheap" ones.

    They are considered more "eco-friendly" because they are removing parts and changing to reusable materials. I have an old Snow iBook and the thing is a complex mess of two layers of plastic with "tin foil" to try to meet EMI requirements. The new macbook has barely any parts inside.. only one PCB even. By changing to a metal frame it makes the machine mostly glass and metal... all things nearly 100% recyclable versus plastic that's "sort of" recyclable and required high priced oil to make. I'm sure it's also CHEAPER for them to do (or more marketable) or they wouldn't be doing it either. Apple is looking for ways to separate themselves from the pack, and to cut down on repairs of all those white plastic pieces.

  • Re:Glass trackpad? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:35PM (#24375479)

    The ordinary plastic kind don't work, but a capacitive stylus will.

  • Re:Just wrong! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:51PM (#24375743)

    just because they don't use so much plastic doesn't lower the amount of oil used to make it. Lets stop dropping myths. It takes oil to make everything. ;)
    from the machines that mine the metal to the machines that make the all aluminum case, oil is in there somewhere. Just because it contains less plastic doesn't make it an oil free product. Of course they are cutting down on repairs....something goes wrong, you buy a complete new one. This has been Apple's product policy from the start. My uncle's garage is a HUGE museum of old Apple products. This "we don't want you reparing anything" policy is just as wasteful. Thanks but if I can fix something with a part and save a bundle, that's more eco friendly than hundreds of old apple cases littering the landscape.

  • Re:Tough one... (Score:5, Informative)

    by GeekDork (194851) on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:56PM (#24375859)

    Also if it has a 1-piece aluminum chassis, it will be more difficult to repair, therefore more likely to be replaced, therefore more hardware going into landfills, therefore less eco-friendly. The case itself is sturdier but if it's one hard piece of aluminum, the internals will take more damage and the case will take less. Again, less eco-friendly. A good case for preventing damage would be a replaceable one made of thin, soft metal.

    I disagree. An eco-friendly case would ironically be made from plastic, or if necessary some GRP or CFRP. Metal and glass, to use terms of trade, need shitloads of energy to manufacture, and the process is highly lossy. We don't even want to get started about how aluminium is extracted from the ore in the first place, or that a rather rare resource is needlessly wasted. Plastic can be molded to almost the final shape in a single pass, with a relatively low amount of energy (some heat and a vacuum pump).

    All that "metal is good for the environment" is bullshit. It's good for marketing, because a laptop that feels like you could use it as a blunt weapon just feels better than "cheap" plastic. And even in that area, I'd put a lot of trust into some CFRP. It's effectively stronger and lighter than aluminium.

  • Re:Tough one... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:59PM (#24375903)

    Aluminum is easily recycled and doesn't really involve many toxic chemicals in it's manufacture (except for a boat load of electricity, which is usually provided by hydro dams). The polycarbonate that makes up most notebooks isn't so easily recycled and the process to make it isn't quite as clean.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday July 28, 2008 @06:02PM (#24375957)

    All the current MBPs have multitouch track pads. They're quite nice. When I use my old MBP I really miss the reverse-pinch gesture to increase the font size in Safari.

    Multitouch on the track pad isn't nearly as cool as directly on the screen though.

  • Re:I don't get it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by H0p313ss (811249) on Monday July 28, 2008 @07:30PM (#24377277)

    Not necessarily, he could be a monkey.

    You mean orangutan. NEVER call him a monkey.

    Good thing I wasn't drinking or you'd owe me a new keyboard!

    For those not following along at home:

    The Librarian [wikipedia.org]

    The Librarian is known for his violent reaction whenever he hears anyone refer to him as a "monkey" (orangutans are apes). He speaks an elaborate language whose vocabulary consists of the single word Ook (and its antonym "eek" - where "ook" means yes, "eek" tends to mean no). Nonetheless, most people seem to be able to understand him. Both his language and his reaction were used separately and together as jokes in the first Discworld game.

  • Re:Just wrong! (Score:4, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:29PM (#24378653) Homepage Journal
    I agree with you. Here is a bit of history and personal knowledge to prove your point.

    First, consistent customers with a high spec get the best parts. When I was working shipping blanks, one or two big name companies got the reliable items. Everyone else go their rejects. This is a fact. If Apple is willing to commit to purchasing a year in advance, they get the good stuff. Everyone else, like Dell, who is looking for the cheapest price, gets Apple rejects.

    Second, Apple has always been conscious about the environment, especially in relation to user safety. For instance, Apple was one of the first retailers to move CRT monitors to the swedish standards for radiation. They also moved to LCD for similar reasons. In the switch, Apple also cut the power needed to run a computer considerably. In fact Apple tends to have very energy efficient computers, with current models running on half the power of similar models from other vendors.

    All this of course costs money. For years CRTs are cheaper than LCDs. Building power efficient kit costs money. It is easier to throw together a power consuming piece of junk than a well designed performer. A lighter, smaller machine has obvious savings in transportation. What is missing from most discussions is the fact that energy consumption during the lifetime of the product is going to far outweigh, in most cases, the energy needed to build the product. Furthermore, refurbishment of the entire product, where the company has control of disposal, it likely the best way to go, although it is also expensive as it does not externalize costs.

  • Re:I don't get it... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cairnarvon (901868) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:07PM (#24379027) Homepage

    Higher power consumption != less eco-friendly. Gore's house has a much, much lower carbon footprint than the average American home because he gets nearly all of that energy he uses from solar and geothermal sources. Much of the reason that bill you're referring to was so high is because he's paying a premium to get his energy from clean sources.
    Maybe you were just trying to make an innocent joke, but that meme needs to die.

    Gore isn't saying everyone needs to cut their energy consumption down to zero, he's saying people need to make an effort to be carbon-neutral, and he's making that effort himself.

  • Re:Tough one... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:07PM (#24379031)

    According to this [azocleantech.com] only 25% of Alcoa's power is self generated. They are, of course, the world's third largest producer of aluminum.

    I couldn't find exact numbers, but from this [puscii.nl] it looks like hydro power is rather important to aluminum smelting in most of the world. China is a bit of an exception, where the aluminum industry has been hampered because it has to compete with other industries for the mostly coal produced electricity. The arabian peninsula uses gas for their smelters, but then it's awfully common there. The rest of the world seems to depend mostly on hydro power.

  • Re:Tough one... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyfer2000 (548592) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:19PM (#24379213) Journal

    But metal is recyclable, plastic is not really recyclable. And about 8% of our crust is aluminum, plastic is from the oil, which is disappearing quickly. You may have noticed that aluminum is extracted from the ore, but did you know how plastic become plastic?

    As carbon fiber reinforced plastic, I hope you realize that carbon fibers are made from polyacrylonitrile fibers by heating. And most CFRP products are absolutely not recyclable.

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