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Virtual trackpad coming to new MacBooks? Whoa!

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Eileen Potsangbam
Eileen Potsangbam Aug 17, 2020

Remember when Apple first came out with the iPod click wheel design? People lost their minds. It was the pinnacle of user-friendly design back in 2006.  

Apple has come a long way since then. Most recently, we got wind that the company has patented a new design for an adjustable virtual trackpad! And it may even be backlit!

The adjustable trackpad is meant for future MacBook Pro models. The original patent was filed in April of 2018, but the US Patent and Trademark Office only recently granted it.

As of now, all MacBook Pro trackpads have a glass surface and are fixed in one spot on the device. But with the new MacBook Pro virtual trackpad, we will be able to position it in different areas depending on how we use it. 

Apple Insider reported that “Apple is investigating replacing the regular MacBook Pro trackpad with a virtual one that can dynamically shrink, grow, or change position as needed.”

Let me show you how that would work with an example:

Say that you’re using Final Cut Pro X on your Mac. To make your movement around the timeline smoother, you could configure the trackpad to run the width of your Mac. Or, let’s say you’re typing in Word, the adjustable virtual trackpad may shrink automatically to avoid unintended touches. Pretty cool, huh?

Coming to the backlighting feature. It will not illuminate the whole trackpad portion like a regular backlit keyboard. Instead, this trackpad support feature will illuminate the areas where the user is expected to input taps and gestures. 

Before you get too excited, I have to remind you that everything is very much up in the air at this point. In the past, Apple has filed a few patents for trackpads without ever doing anything about it. We can only hope that this new virtual trackpad gets to see the light of day.

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