One of the really big killer features of Apple's laptops is the functionality of their incredibly cool multi-touch track pads. The HP Envy and others may attempt to give their laptops that large, one-piece look, but none of them come even close to offering their users the form and functionality, out-of-the-box, of the real deal - multi-touch gestures!
However, if you use lesser track pads, running under Windows, then not all is lost. LifeHacker has a post today on how to hack your Window based machine to give some, most, but not necessarily all of the MacBook's track pad gesture input features, because as LifeHacker points out:
"Once you've used the hand-helping, time-saving, two-finger scrolling and three-finger gestures on a MacBook, a standard Windows trackpad can feel kind of, well, dead."
As they point out, you can get just about all of the benefits, if not all, by hacking or replacing the Synaptic drivers, which come on virtually most, if not all, non Mac laptops. It doesn't sound like much fun, this hacking business, but I guess if you want the benefits of a real MacBook track pad without actually having to buy one, then it's the only way to go, at least for now. Software such as Synaptic's own ChiralScroll as seen in the opening of this post certainly helps, but there are other companies out there, as well, such as Scrybe that are now jumping in the ring to bring the functionality of the MacBook track pad to other laptops, at least that is until Apple sues them out of the water.
All of these attempts to mimic the functionality of Apple's track pads, and other Apple features as seen in the iPhone, etc., is all very flattering and all, but they are all nonetheless nothing less then a blatant rip off of Apple's technology, innovation, hard work and, of course, its patents! This is just further proof that it is Apple, and not Microsoft, Google, IBM, Nokia, or whom have you, that is the real leader when it comes to high-tech consumer technology.
In conclusion, I have no idea how far others are willing to go in order to make the MacBooks multi-touch track functionality available for other laptops, or just how long, or just how far Apple will allow them to get away with it, but I do know that this is certainly not the first, nor will it be the last time that we see others attempting to profit by ripping off Apple's ideas or patents.
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Wednesday, March 17, 2010