When is a click not really a click? When it’s performed on the brand new Force Touch trackpad from Apple, that’s when. Seriously, this new feature, which was originally designed for the upcoming MacBook that ships in April, really is something to write home about – using the trackpad, of course. It is now available for everyone to play with on the excellent new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (if you’ve got between £999 and £1,999 to pay for it, that is – prices vary according to the amount of flash storage you want).
The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro packs a raft of improvements under the hood, including faster flash storage, a better graphics card and improved battery life; but it’s the Force Touch trackpad you’ll be most addicted to, and it’s a sign that Apple intends it to be its default trackpad tech over its future line-up that it’s decided to include it on this device.
Apple’s previous trackpad design operated with real mechanical clicks but Force Touch is different. Even though you’ll swear you’re mechanically clicking, the new pad actually isn’t budging. Instead, it’s ingeniously mimicking the sensations and sound of a mechanical click using haptic feedback to simulate the “feel” of movement with micro-vibrations and a software-produced clicking sound (the haptic feedback is driven by Apple’s fiendishly clever “taptic” engine).
Force Touch tech also brings some equally addictive new features to the table. Imagine you’re engaged in some content writing or article writing and you come across a word in an online research source that you’d like to know more about. A secondary, “deeper” press of the trackpad will bring up Apple’s native preview app, which offers a “Dictionary” or “Thesaurus” option. It also allows you to find map directions if you’re, say, viewing a particular restaurant. But for those who want to get stuck into designing some graphical content while they’re on the move, the trackpad lets you make use of its variable pressure sensitivity to input drawing and writing applications with your finger or an Apple stylus (the harder you press, the thicker the line). You can annotate PDFs, too.
The trackpad can be calibrated to three different sensitivity settings depending on your preferences for deep, medium or light clicking sensations.
Roll over physical trackpads. Apple’s got you beat.