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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Can apple give us a trackpoint?

Can apple give us a trackpoint?
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bigben1024
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Oct 16, 2003, 10:47 AM
 
Does anyone know why Apple hasn't added a trackpoint to their powerbooks?
That was my favorite feature of the used ibm I bought last year.
I feel like I have more control over the pointer on the ibm.
On the pad, I have to lift my finger a couple of times to move the pointer across the screen even with the sensitivity on high.
Does anyone know any way to make the pad better?

thanks
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djjava
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Oct 16, 2003, 10:58 AM
 
Originally posted by bigben1024:
Does anyone know why Apple hasn't added a trackpoint to their powerbooks? [...]Does anyone know any way to make the pad better?
Trackpoint sucks...
I'd rather see a two button trackpad with scrolling.
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Eug
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Oct 16, 2003, 11:02 AM
 
Does anyone know why Apple hasn't added a trackpoint to their powerbooks?
Because they suck?

Honestly, you seem to be in the 1% of the population that actually likes those things.

If you want the trackpad to work faster, then move quicker. It accelerates. The tracking speed is not a linear relationship with mouse/finger movement.
     
ASIMO
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Oct 16, 2003, 11:03 AM
 
You cannot go from corner to corner in one quick stroke of your finger? Which Powerbook do you have?

I hope Apple never adds a trackpoint, but I would not mind two buttons and their own "Sidetrack" implementation.
I, ASIMO.
     
Lew
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Oct 16, 2003, 11:05 AM
 
You want a ClitMouse™ on a PowerBook? Ugh!
     
djjava
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Oct 16, 2003, 11:05 AM
 
dude, get a mouse... like honestly, i never use the trackpad unless i forget my mouse.
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andretan
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Oct 16, 2003, 11:13 AM
 
Trackpoints are the weirdest things in the world. I've used them before too.

Given a choice, I'd pick the trackpad.

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bigben1024  (op)
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Oct 16, 2003, 11:53 AM
 
honestly I don't have my pb yet, but I have spent some time in the apple store. Boy have I! I also have to admit, I never thought about moving my finger faster. DUH! I can't believe I didn't think of that. Noone likes the trackpoint? Oh well...
I guess everyone has their favorite thing.
You know a lot of people like the mice with the ball on top, but I don't like them much.
I think I will get a mouse.
Probably a nice one for home and a small one for the road.
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fhammond
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Oct 16, 2003, 12:25 PM
 
Originally posted by bigben1024:
Noone likes the trackpoint? Oh well...
I love the trackpoint! IBM has both on their latest laptops and both the trackpad and the trackpoint work really well. The additional benefit is that if you just want to use one pointing device (which you probably would) you can do something else with the other device. For example, I use the trackpoint mostly, so in the control panel, I've divided up the trackpad into quarters, so that I get four more buttons (in addition to the real buttons just below the trackpad). It's very cool.
     
shabbasuraj
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Oct 16, 2003, 02:15 PM
 
i wish they had both like IBMs...

touchpads are ghey sometimes and so are touchpoints...

so I wish they had both...

lates..
     
pamelah
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Oct 16, 2003, 02:31 PM
 
Originally posted by djjava:
Trackpoint sucks...
I'd rather see a two button trackpad with scrolling.

use "sidetrack" from version tracker. Works like a charm for me! A gift from above!
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Fellow2000
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Oct 16, 2003, 03:22 PM
 
Originally posted by ASIMO:
You cannot go from corner to corner in one quick stroke of your finger? Which Powerbook do you have?

I hope Apple never adds a trackpoint, but I would not mind two buttons and their own "Sidetrack" implementation.
I sure can. From one corner to the other. I have a revB 12".

I also think that a sidetrack thing would be cool. Especially since there is so much room down there. What woulld you guys think if it was even seperate from the trackpad itself, like a small trackpad on the side or something?
     
Scooterboy
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Oct 16, 2003, 03:50 PM
 
I'd just order a Bluetooth mouse. I use a Kensington wireless 2 button w/ scrollwheel mouse on my 12" iBook and I love it. I also like the trackpad and dislike the eraser point thingy. The nice thing about a mouse or trackball or whatever is that it is at the side of the computer where your arms naturally fall. It's ergonomically better than always reaching for the center to use the trackpad or pointer device.
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spiderbyte
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Oct 16, 2003, 05:48 PM
 
I think the reason that the trackpoint is the standard on IBM machines is that people who are touch typists like to have their fingers remain in position on the keyboard. These people also are fussy about keyboard feel, so they naturally select IBM thinkpads for the feel of the keyboard. This explains why the the trackpoint rmains on the Thinkpads... because they are the preferred machine of the touch typist.

The fact that Apple lighted keyboards are becoming popluar is that so many of the people using computers today are hunt and peck typists and they need to look at their fingers.

One of the reasons that I deferred so long on getting my Mac is that I thought that I could not adapt from the trackpoint. Well, after a few days on the Mac, I found that the pad was OK and I adapted to it.

Whatever works best for you of course is what you should have. It's great to have choices.

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Rain
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Oct 16, 2003, 07:11 PM
 
I want a trackpoint on my pb as well. In fact, it was one of the reason why I almost didn't buy a mac and almost bought an ibm. A trackpoint is so much more convenient to use cuz, as stated before, you don't have to move your hand off the keyboard when you need to use the mouse.

I wish apple would incorporate Toshiba's trackpoint (the one with the scroll buttons) into their system, but I doubt that's gonna happen.

ETA: Spiderbyte, you're totally right about the fussyness of us touch typist, lol. I didn't buy the ibook because I didn't like the feel of the keyboard. I'd rather fork out more $$$ for a nicer keyboard even though the ibook is perfect for my use
     
@ho
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Oct 16, 2003, 08:03 PM
 
please please apple dont

just add scrollpad, I dont need 2 buttons on my laptop
     
11011001
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Oct 17, 2003, 02:28 AM
 
I am confused, what is trackpoint?
     
andretan
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Oct 17, 2003, 02:33 AM
 
Originally posted by 11011001:
I am confused, what is trackpoint?
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AlbertWu
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Oct 17, 2003, 02:38 AM
 
also known as helldot.
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Fellow2000
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Oct 17, 2003, 03:22 AM
 
Originally posted by AlbertWu:
also known as helldot.
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11011001
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Oct 17, 2003, 03:43 AM
 
Oh God!! Those things!! Ack...

the beast has been given a name

I don't know if they are really that bad, all I know is that I suck at using them (with my 5 minutes of playing around once).
     
010111
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Oct 17, 2003, 03:59 AM
 
Originally posted by AlbertWu:
also known as helldot.
hahahhhahahhahahahaha!

i was helping someone set up wireless on a thinkpad that *only* had a trackpoint. *ONLY* a trackpoint. no trackpad.

it pissed me off in like 3 minutes and i left to go get a freaking mouse. they suck that bad. so completely inaccurate. it was hard enough hitting the right icon or menu ... i can't even imagine trying to trace a mask in photoshop or anything like that...

as far as apple 'giving the option' ... the keyboard still touches the screen... a trackpoint would probably end up wearing a hole in the screen that came out the other side.
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SplijinX
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Oct 17, 2003, 01:32 PM
 
If I'm not mistaken, IBM invented it or has patents or something on the trackpoint. If you've ever used one on an IBM you notice it's a bit bigger and has superb handling and control. That and if you're working on a document, you dont no have to shift hand positions to move the mouse.

There are plenty of copy-cat designs and it doesn't do it any justice. For instance I had an Dell Inspiron 4100 for some time and never used the thing more than once or twice cause it was stiff and unresponsive.

With that said, Apple probably wouldn't add one to the Powerbook since may mar the keyboard's appearance and aesthetics. Form vs. function, which one will prevail?
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Ryan1524
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Oct 17, 2003, 02:10 PM
 
Trackpoint is the worst piece of technology ever ceated. no matter how much i tried to adapt to it, i can't. it sucks. touchpads are to much better and easier to use.
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dcsmrgun
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Oct 17, 2003, 03:42 PM
 
Just give me a two button touchpad. Doesn't even need to have scrolling.

I wonder if the touchpad on the AlBooks is on the logic board, or if its possibly a separate piece of hardware. If its separate, some company which dared hack a two button touchpad to work with the PB would be pretty wealthy.
     
joe
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Oct 17, 2003, 06:31 PM
 
Originally posted by djjava:
Trackpoint sucks...
I'd rather see a two button trackpad with scrolling.
I agree completely about Trackpoint. I've used plenty of notebook PCs over the years with trackpad, trackpoint, and trackmouse. Tpoint is definitely the worst of the bunch. But I just got a new 15" PowerBook for work - my 1st Mac notebook ever (YAH)! It's an amazing machine and a major step up from my previous notebook PCs. My only complaint is that Apple's tpad driver is lacking several standard tpad features I've gotten use to over the years. Thankfully someone addressed this problem and released SideTrack which I installed almost immediately after I received my 15" Al on Tuesday. So in addition to Apple's tpad features I get both left and right click as well as vertical/horizontal scrolling on my 15" PowerBook tpad too!! Anyone with a new PowerBook should consider giving SideTrack a try.

I realize a few others mentioned SideTrack already. But it's really that good ESPECIALLY if you frequently have very limited workspace where there's absolutely no room to use a mouse. I still prefer a mouse over tpad whenver possible. But SideTrack at least makes using the tpad more convenient. regards.....joe
     
Luca Rescigno
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Oct 17, 2003, 07:38 PM
 
I love the trackpoint! You don't have to move your hand from one edge to the other over and over again the way you have to with a trackpad. I know most people hate them but I like them personally and I don't think it would really hurt anything to add one. I like how it lets you type and not have to move your hands very far to move the mouse pointer. But I bet Apple will never put one on their laptops. If they won't even put two buttons or side-scrolling, there's no chance in hell that they'll actually add a trackpoint to their laptops.

I'm picturing it now - a big sign in Apple HQ declaring "19 years and 9 months without a two button mouse!"

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mlrtime
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Oct 17, 2003, 07:47 PM
 
I think the reason why people here bash the trackpoint so bad is that they simply have not given themselves enough time to learn it. With any device there will be a learning curve. Like HP calc users preferring RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) The curve for the trackpoint is definitely higher than a pad.

However, once you get used to the point you will quickly learn where the advantages are. The ability to keep your fingers on the 'home row' and being able to move the mouse with only moving your index finger makes a much more efficient user.

I am a switcher and the trackpoint is a big reason not to switch for me. I've been using computers for years and do quite a bit of programming. I try and not use the mouse as much as possible (it is slow). Using the pad just slows me down even more. Obviously this is not an option for a lot of artists and designers.

Point being, I haven't heard from someone that can use the trackpoint very well admit that the pad is easier or more efficient to use.

just my .02

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Rain
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Oct 17, 2003, 07:56 PM
 
Originally posted by Ryan1524:
Trackpoint is the worst piece of technology ever ceated. no matter how much i tried to adapt to it, i can't. it sucks. touchpads are to much better and easier to use.
Trackpoint is awesome once you get use to them. You should give either IBM or Toshiba's trackpoint a try. Stay away from Dell's trackpoint cuz they're the worst I've ever tried.

Just to give you an idea of how much I like the trackpoint: I rather have a trackpoint than a two button mouse!
     
joe
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Oct 17, 2003, 10:40 PM
 
Originally posted by mlrtime:
I think the reason why people here bash the trackpoint so bad is that they simply have not given themselves enough time to learn it.
I was stuck for one of those tpoint devices for 4 years on a Canon Notejet IIIcx. I'll agree that some tpoint devices are better than others. I recently helped to reload Win98 on an old Thinkpad and it's tpoint required a lot less effort. But there was still that same overshoot and wavy response that the Canon had. Personally my all-time fav is the old built-in trackball mice on the old Compuadds. Unlike the Conpaqs, they were located in the uuper right and could move your hand without moving your wrist. That made it easy to pivot back and forth without loosing the home keys. It sucked for lefties though. Tpad is the next best thing.

BTW, I'm also a programmer and work with text and GPL. Ever try tpoint with a GPL language - it's garbage. I've yet to find anything worse that tpoint. Tpad is much more precise when trying to click on small, accurate locations.........joe
     
Ryan1524
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Oct 17, 2003, 11:12 PM
 
Originally posted by Rain:
Trackpoint is awesome once you get use to them. You should give either IBM or Toshiba's trackpoint a try. Stay away from Dell's trackpoint cuz they're the worst I've ever tried.

Just to give you an idea of how much I like the trackpoint: I rather have a trackpoint than a two button mouse!
i did. for an extended time. i used my cousin's toshiba for few days (he was staying over during summer) and he broudhg this Toshiba and it only has a trackpoint. drove me nuts. and another one of my friends, cause my school's computers are pretty much crap, so i hung around my friend who have a Toshiba (eLearn student) and gave that a try. and i also used my teacher's Thinkpad, which doesn't have a touchpad..only the TPoint. i tried them, a lot. and still can't get used to them, whereas i get used to Touchpad the second i get into it.
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n_lim
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Oct 18, 2003, 12:20 AM
 
I used a Toshiba Satellite Pro Pentium 120 for 4 years before switching to a Powerbook and I loved my nipplepoint!

It definitely has a learning curve, but I found it to be incredibly accurate and quick. I had the mouse sensitivity much higher as I was able to wield the eraserpoint much more accurately. I have had powerbooks for a couple years now and I am still not as comfortable as I was using that pointer. I typically have to plug in a mouse if I am going to do any real work and that wasn't the case when I was using the pointer. Also, having your fingers stay on the homekeys is a huge plus.

Those who don't like it most likely haven't gotten over that learning curve. But for that reason Apple shouldn't use them since everything is aimed at ease of use over complexity at the first encounter.
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Link
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Oct 18, 2003, 12:53 AM
 
Originally posted by SplijinX:
If I'm not mistaken, IBM invented it or has patents or something on the trackpoint. If you've ever used one on an IBM you notice it's a bit bigger and has superb handling and control. That and if you're working on a document, you dont no have to shift hand positions to move the mouse.

There are plenty of copy-cat designs and it doesn't do it any justice. For instance I had an Dell Inspiron 4100 for some time and never used the thing more than once or twice cause it was stiff and unresponsive.

With that said, Apple probably wouldn't add one to the Powerbook since may mar the keyboard's appearance and aesthetics. Form vs. function, which one will prevail?
Damn you are right on this, incredibly right.

I've used dell laptops, toshiba laptops, many different trackpoints..

IBM's is the best. bar none. I used to be able to sign my name using a trackpoint lol.. been too long... of course with a small stylus you can do the same ona PB I think.

Maybe a BTO option? keyboard with trackpoint? that'd rawk... especially if it was as good as the ones IBM uses...

maybe use a flat-top thing that doesn't look like a funky ball.. I hate the way it looks when they use red caps (i always used a black cap.. so it'd match the keyboard)

anyway yeah, agreed... they were awesome.. especially because you never have to move your hands off the keyboard hehe.

Only prob with trackpoints is when they're defective they love to 'wander off'.

The only thing more awkward then a trackpad is a trackBALL. Anyway, the one other thing I hate about trackpads is with time they get shiney and wornout and yucky, while the trackpoint is a tiny, replacable head, thus the laptop looks much newer much longer ^_^
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shabbasuraj
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Oct 18, 2003, 12:57 AM
 
i agree...IBM trackpoints are very precise, better than Dell's and Toshiba's..

lates...
     
Rain
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Oct 18, 2003, 02:45 AM
 
Originally posted by Link:


Only prob with trackpoints is when they're defective they love to 'wander off'.
Heh, the wandering arrow. It's not really a defect. The reason why it happens is because you've applied to much pressure in one particular direction on the trackpoint. Think of Newton's law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction It goes back to normal once you take your finger off the pointer and leave it alone until it balances itself out

Hmm...I didn't realize the trackpoint has such a large learning curve. I guess if it's the only option you have then you either learn it quickly or be stuck with an external mouse. Case in point: my brother. He has a dell and he never even bothered with the trackpointer cuz he's got the trackpad. But, again, it is a dell's, and I rather use its trackpad over the pointer as well - bad example.

Maybe I should've gotten an IBM...eh, maybe my next notebook AND only if they sell a 12"er that's as pretty as the pb
     
nagromme
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Oct 18, 2003, 02:55 AM
 
I've used an IBM trackpoint, and I end up circling wildly to simply hit a window widget. It's sickening, frustrating, maddening! And it's in the way when I type sometimes. And forget drawing! A clever idea--but a flawed one.

An Apple trackpad though (NOT every brand!) is the second best thing to a mouse--better than any trackball, even full-size ones, to me. It's precise AND lets you get across the whole screen in one flick--faster than you can with a trackpoint. No "circling shark" games! Ugh.

To each their own though--no reason there can't be a few TrackPoint fans out there
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ngrundy
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Oct 18, 2003, 03:51 AM
 
I personally find the trackpoint, aka nipple to be the most painful of all the pointing devices out there. As good an argument the "you don't loose your home row" argument is it's not doing the RSI case anygood. Those few seconds that your hand moves to deal wih a trackpad or other pointing device is bliss on muscles. Also the lack of clickability for the trackpoint is annoying to hell and having the buttons so far below the thing is painful to use at the best of time. I usually end up collecting the space bar. Also trackpoints annoy me because they have no spacial properties. with a touch pad you have the edges of the pad to align roughly with the edge of the screen and you can pick the spot on the screen by the location of the touchpad (well i can). Finally touchpoints i've used have allways required too much preasure to move. But i think this has a lot to do with the lack of spacial references.
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HasanDaddy
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Oct 18, 2003, 08:30 AM
 
Apple --- if you're reading this...

please don't add a trackpoint to any laptops

1. they're stupid

2. if I wanted real movement, I'll use a mouse or the trackpad

3. they mess up the middle of the keyboard

THANKS!!

- HasanDaddy

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