Monthly Archives: December 2008

New Macbook trackpad loves to accidentally zoom on your behalf

Just got the new aluminum Macbook. First off, it’s a great laptop – the screen, backlight, battery life, keyboard, design – it’s the best laptop around. But in my first week of use, I started to notice a weird bug in Safari – text on some Web pages would be rendered smaller than normal. Now, I’ve never seen this on my work Macbook, or Safari on Windows, so that made me suspicious. Turns out that I was accidentally using the Macbook’s pinch gesture while browsing, which zoomed the text size down – I guess the zoom happened before I even saw the rendered page, so I didn’t notice the zoom.

The interesting part (for my loyal readers) is why: In Mr. Jobs’s neverending quest to remove buttons, the new trackpad is the button – that is, there is no separate button to click – you simply click anywhere on the trackpad. Problem is, the way the trackpad is designed, it requires more force to click at the top of the trackpad than the bottom – enough force that it’s still a bit of a pain to click near the top. And you never know when your mousing will lead your finger to the top, so you never know when you have to push extra hard to click. So instead, I’ve gone back to the classic trackpad posture, using my right hand to move the mouse, and resting my left thumb on the bottom of the trackpad for clicking. But guess what – the trackpad detects that as a pinch when I’m moving my right finger, which causes the accidental zoom.
Perhaps if Apple could redesign the trackpad to make the top just as easy to click – I might change over to 1 finger mousing rather than my classic 2 finger mousing. But I’m not 100% sure about that yet – after all, it’s tricky to drag & drop things with 1 finger – you have to push down, drag, and hope that you reach the target before you reach the end of the trackpad. As opposed to the old design where you could lift your finger and move it back to drag further, while keeping your other hand on the button.
That is all. Great laptop, but for now I want to disable the pinch zoom – I mean, seriously, how often are you zooming things on your laptop anyway?