The New 12” MacBook Will Have an iPhone-like Interface

by James R. Stoup Jan 17, 2007

Imagine Apple releasing a 12” MacBook pro in June.

Now imagine opening it up only to find the keyboard is missing.

It has been replaced with a sheer black surface strangely similar to the iPhone.

You press the power button and the screen lights up, then your virtual keyboard lights up.

Oh, and there is no trackpad. The keyboard is the trackpad.

Does that sound too far fetched? Really? I don’t think so. Now, this might not happen in time for June, but tell me why it won’t happen eventually. Tell me why Apple can’t (or won’t) one day replace the conventional keyboard with a digital replacement?

Think of what you could do with a laptop with such an interface. You wouldn’t need a trackpad because the entire virtual keyboard’s surface could be converted into a trackpad. All of the gestures supported in the iPhone would translate directly to your laptop. You could zoom in, crop a picture, save it, move it around and then switch programs all by using simple finger motions. Of course, in addition to using that surface for input it could also double as a secondary display. Imagine hitting a key and seeing all your widgets zoom into view where your keyboard use to be. Tap one to bring it up to the big screen, manipulate it and then make it disappear. What about time machine? How would you like a virtual wheel you could spin that would take you along your file’s timeline? Or for gaming, you could create custom keys of any shape, size or color all named and mapped specifically for your current game.

And these ideas just scratch the surface of what else you could do. If Apple were to start shipping laptops with a Multi-Touch screen built in the very notion of how we use computers would have to change. What does a trackpad really do anyway? It translates the motion of your finger so you can move a cursor. It can detect taps and translate that into mouse clicks. And that is basically it. Now we are seeing a technology that will allow a whole new range of motion to be supported, which in turns means our old notions of what a user interface is are obsolete.

Remember the image on Apple’s homepage that cryptically explained that 2007 was just the beginning?

Welcome to the future.


  • On a cash register, you are free to focus on the touch screen interface.

    The paradigm around the touchscreens I’ve seen in restaurants is much more like the iPhone, that is, “single-finger” typing on a menu-based system.  That paradigm is substantially different from actual word-processing in which you are constantly using every finger to type complete sentences.  Not to say such a system couldn’t work, but a restaurant cash register is not substantial evidence that it could.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jan 22, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Not to say such a system couldn’t work, but a restaurant cash register is not substantial evidence that it could.

    I’m not saying this has worked in the past, for a defined application, therefore it’ll work everywhere. QED. I’m simply playing devil’s advocate a little.
    I think that while this technology would certainly fulfill a ‘wow factor’ quota I would enjoy, physically typing on a screen such as this wouldn’t be anywhere near my preferred method.

    fallow had this to say on Jan 22, 2007 Posts: 2
  • MultiTouch was alive and sound much earlier before an IPhone. had a great product , until ... Apple bought and killed them.

    TheIvan had this to say on May 23, 2007 Posts: 1
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