Exciting Possibilities for the Trackpad on ARM-based MacBook Pros

2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch

Apple Silicon Opens Doors

Tom’s Guide, once again this week, has the top story about new thinking regarding the Trackpad on ARM-based MacBook Pros.

… this area would be “illuminated by an array of light-emitting elements (or a single light-emitting element) to create a configurable or customizable boundary of the active input area,” which would basically highlight the space you can touch …

If I read the implications correctly, part of the trackpad area could become a virtual touchpad area akin to an iPhone’s display. Perfect for running iOS apps on Big Sur on an Apple Silicon MacBook Pro. Without getting the dreaded “gorilla arm” syndrome.

Apple remains committed, it seems, to not having a touch sensitive full MacBook display that we would have to reach out to. Author Casey writes:

With the news of iOS apps coming to the Mac in the era of Apple Silicon, this sounds less implausible than it could have months ago. You’d want to customize the touchpad to be a vertical space to match the iPhone’s layout, right? I know I would.

This idea would be instantly copied by other notebook makers, but, odds are, they wouldn’t implement it as well as a next generation, dynamic trackpad on ARM-based MacBook Pros

The Week’s Apple News Debris

new iMac is fabulous
The ultimate WFH Mac.

• Dan Ackerman at CNET takes a look at the new 2020 iMac from the perspective of its new FaceTime camera and the nano-texture display. “New Apple iMac: Hands-on with a 27-inch work-from-home beast.

I live (and now work) in an apartment that gets a lot of afternoon sun from its westward-facing windows, so I know all about screen glare. I’m always moving out of the way of the light, and my TV is unwatchable for a big chunk of the day because of it. The matte-like nano-texture screen, however, was nearly glare-proof. At extreme angles, I still caught some reflection, but it’s a big improvement over what I’m used to.

This nano-texture display iMac option looks to be one to not disregard out of hand.

• Speaking of the 2020 iMac, Cult of Mac has collected some benchmarks. “2020 iMac benchmarks show substantial speed boost.

• Samuel Axon, at ars technica, interviews both John Giannandrea, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Machine Learning and AI Strategy and Bob Borchers, VP of Product Marketing. “Here’s why Apple believes it’s an AI leader—and why it says critics have it all wrong.

This is a major, major article about Apple and AI. Check it out.

• Apple passed on buying Arm holdings, but experienced analyst Bob Cringely believes the company’s future acquisition target is TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), the company that makes Apple’s ARM chips so brilliantly. “After switching to ARM, expect Apple to buy TSMC, too.

TSMC also happens to be the best semiconductor manufacturer on the planet right now and worth whatever Apple has to pay.

Bob explores the technical, financial and political implications.

• Have you been amused, dismayed, intrigued, boggled, outraged by what Apple charges for a set of Mac Pro wheels? (US$699). Other World Computing (OWC) has designed a nice set for just $199. The OWC Rover Pro arrives in September.

• Finally, if you are ultra-conservative when it comes to iPhone privacy, see this set of recommendations. “Beware of find-my-phone, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, NSA tells mobile users.” Disabling Find My (app) may be over-the-top for most users, but the rest of the article has good info as a starting for your personal privacy review—even if you don’t implement every technique.

Particle Debris is generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John:   The Ars Technica piece on AI and machine learning is, from many angles, the one with the greatest portent for the Apple platform, the immediate effects of Apple Silicon on their products notwithstanding.    I remain convinced that one of the principal drivers of Apple’s move away from Intel was AI and its uniform and performance-consistent integration across the platform, which would not have been possible with the x86 CPU, and that Apple would have made this switch irrespective of Intel CPU performance. The following quote from Apple’s Giannandrea is correspondingly revealing and illustrative, referring to the development… Read more »


Couple of comments:   Apple’s approach to keeping AI local and less server-dependent than the big 3 data snoops. I look at this as Apple, again, skating to where the puck is going to be. They are anticipating the day when mobile computing hardware gets to the point where keeping it local beats server-dependency hands down. And they’re not just sitting back waiting for the hardware to arrive, they are driving it, at full throttle no less, and they will again be miles ahead of everyone else when that particular puck arrives.   TSMC happens to be the golden child… Read more »


Don’t you need BlueTooth on for the Apple/Google based Covid tracing apps to work?

Lee Dronick

Not after you have the Bill Gates tracking and eavesdropping microchip injected with the vaccine,