Freshly Squeezed Reviews: Size Matters

Apr 24, 2012 | OpEd | 1 comment

With the purchase of my MacBook Pro, I found myself more comfortable using my trackpad than my mouse. So, I put my mouse in my drawer of unidentifiable electronics (which contains a museum-sized collection of electric bricks) and never touched it again.
With Apple’s introduction of finger gestures on the iPhone, I was now more comfortable using my fingers for navigation than using a mouse. Indeed, I doubt that I would even be able to use a mouse productively now, no matter how hard I tried.
Then, with the release of the iPad, there was no turning back. I now let my “fingers do the walking.” But I now have a strange dilemma.
As any musician can explain to you, muscle memory becomes an integral part of your performing. For example, a guitarist can play anything without having to look at their fingers to insure that their playing the right notes or chords, courtesy of muscle memory. But to carry on with that analogy, the muscle memory of the guitarist will be of very little use if he or she sits down at a keyboard. The same goes if you reverse the roles.
And therein lies my dilemma. I do the majority of my writing on my iPad. It’s keyboard is smaller than the one on my MBP, but close enough that my muscle memory remains in play. (Of course, because of it’s diminutive size, the iPhone requires a different set of muscle memories.)
But things differ when using finger gestures on my 13″ MBP. Size wise, although the iPad is smaller, I can use larger finger gestures on my iPad than I can on my small trackpad because the iPad’s screen provides more real estate than my MBP’s minuscule trackpad. So, I have great difficulty using the same gestures with my whopping sausage fingers on this small piece of real estate.
So, that means a third set of muscle memories must be generated. The obvious answer seems to be to purchase a Magic Trackpad. But even though that will provide me with a greater amount of real estate to use broad gestures as on my iPad, it sets up a different problem. Instead of having a touchscreen where I can physically ‘touch’ the key or object I desire, I have to use a separate device to control everything on my screen.
‘But isn’t that what you do with your MBP?’ you ask. Yes and no. The trackpad on my MBP is located directly in front of me and immediately under my screen. A Magic Trackpad, would sit off to the right of my keyboard. No longer is everything located in my direct line of sight. I have a feeling this will slow down my workflow. So, I still wind up creating a third set of memories.
My hope? Apple will replace their tactile keyboard and trackpad with a touch screen that contains a keyboard, plus a small calendar and notepad. This way, everything would be directly in my line of sight and, most importantly, I would be able to utilize the same muscle memory set that I currently use with my iPad.
For those of you who need that tactile feedback from your keyboard, Apple could incorporate the up and coming tactile-touchscreen technologies that are just beginning to appear. That should satisfy everyone. Well, probably everyone.
Heh … a geek can dream can’t he?

1 Comment

  1. Shock Me

    I’d like to see a two handed alternative where less precise multitouch gestures happen on a magic trakpad on the non-dominant side of the keyboard and precise stylus or mouse moves happen on the dominant side of the keyboard.


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