Apple Multi-Touch Appears Ready To Tickle The Desktop

In front of me right now there’s an enormous 27-inch screen with another 24-inch screen connected to it for use as a second monitor. This massive amount of screen real estate is nice for everything from blogging to watching streaming movies. And yet, I find myself using this set up less and less and instead favor my 15-inch laptop. Why? Simply because I prefer using a multi-touch trackpad to navigate my computer. It looks like I’m about to get the same experience on my desktop now.

The FCC has just approved a new bluetooth device made by Apple. The model number Engadget found seems to prove this will be a new trackpad device meant to be used with desktop computers. It seems fairly likely that this thing will either be called the Magic Trackpad, the Magic Slate, or the Magic Pad based on trademark filings. Given Apple’s history with FCC approvals, we could see this device unleashed as soon as tomorrow.

So what exactly is it? If the leaked images from June are legitimate (and they certainly seem to be), it would seem that this device is simply a MacBook trackpad made into a stand-alone device so it can be used with desktop computers. The design is really a cross between a trackpad and one of Apple’s new style keyboards. The circular bottom will be where the batteries are held, and it will boost the thing up at a comfortable angle to use on a desktop. The entire surface should be clickable, just like a MacBook trackpad.

Okay, so it’s a trackpad for your desktop — big deal, you might think. But it could be a pretty big deal.

While Apple’s Magic Mouse brought some elements of multi-touch to the desktop, it’s still pretty limited. The two-finger swipe to go back and forth on webpages is great, but there’s nothing like pinch-to-zoom or the two-finger rotation that you find on Apple’s other multi-touch products (well, unless you use this awesome third-party software). The Magic Mouse simply has too small of a surface area for more advanced multi-touch. Plus, it’s still a mouse, the decades-old input device.

Apple’s stance on the future of computing is becoming more clear every day. The iPhone set the standard for multi-touch on a mobile device. Apple then included elements in its MacBook trackpads. And now we have the iPad. For many users, myself included, touch (and multi-touch to be more specific) is now a preferable input method of computing. I don’t want to use a mouse. I want to use a touch surface. That’s what this Magic Trackpad is. It’s the first real step to bring multi-touch to the Apple desktop experience as all computing moves towards touch.

[images: Engadget]