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Apple Launches New Magical Trackpad, 12 Core Macs 432

theappwhisperer writes "The Magic Trackpad is basically a larger version of the MacBook Pro touchpad, with 80% more surface area for all your swiping and pinching. The entire surface acts as a button, so it's also a possible mouse replacement. And all of the expected gestures are here: two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, fingertip rotation, and three- and four-finger swipes. You can enable and disable gestures at your discretion from System Preferences." They also launched 12-core Mac Pros coming in August.
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Apple Launches New Magical Trackpad, 12 Core Macs

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  • by alta ( 1263 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:02AM (#33045142) Homepage Journal

    works out great for me, I get a new computer and get one of those damn kids out of my hair.

    Any takers? SHould I put them on craigslist or ebay?

  • Honestly, I find this "magic" marketing strategy to be a complete turnoff.
    • Re:More magic? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:06AM (#33045214)
      More of a turn-off than i-everything? Honestly, if you're going to pick an Apple product naming issue to complain about, 'magic' is always going to be striving for the silver medal.
      • It's brilliant, really. We're just complaining about "unified branding". People are forgetting that the prior marketing disaster was "My". My documents, Myspace, yecch.

        "e" was taken and done to death. e-mail, e-zines, etc.

    • Honestly, I find this "magic" marketing strategy to be a complete turnoff.

      The fact that you're on Slashdot makes you Not The Target Market.

      To most people, virtually any computer thingie is sufficiently advanced.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:11AM (#33045308)

        You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the majority of people on Slashdot actually understand technology.

        • I made a website in HTML once. Can I talk about things that 4chan told me to hate with the big boys, now?

          • If you didn't hand type it with ALT-#### codes then it doesn't count. :p

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              Ah, dont tease him, HTML doesnt count anyway.. unless you wrote the http-deamon hosting it yourself, on punchcard, uphill both ways, in ten feet of snow..

        • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:24PM (#33046570) Homepage

          More like that what geeks think aren't that essential to selling computers. It's a bit like selling cars to race drivers (professional workers) or car mechanics (support people). They probably have some very different thoughts about cars than we do, and think the car commercials are quite silly. But the car companies don't care because there's a huge market of soccer moms and dads that need it for their commute and driving kids around. Just like there's a huge market of people that aren't very interested in computers but want to get stuff done using one. Even when it comes to choosing platform the fact that your geek prefers Linux/OpenOffice/Firefox/GIMP doesn't necessarily make it a good idea if your people are all experienced Windows/MS Office/IE/Photoshop users.

          Funny enough, if you try bringing your product to Linux you get nothing but hate burn. Try reading the comments to uTorrent coming to Linux [] and see what I mean. It's 95% "we don't want no closed source shit, too little too late, $torrent-app rules, fuck off". This despite being quite probably the best and certainly the most popular client on Windows, and lots of people might look more favorably on Linux if they didn't have to learn a new application. "Here's Linux, ditch all your old software, but trust me all that G/K stuff is much better" is a WTF to everyone but OSS zealots. For a platform that supposedly promotes choice, it's amazing how militantly hostile some are to giving you one.

      • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:27AM (#33045612)

        Well, what about the 12-core Mac? I mean, the only people who are really going to be able to make use of that kind of power are the same type of people who look at Mac OS X as a friendly Unix that can run Matlab AND Photoshop, probably heavy on the Matlab. Maybe 3D animators, but I've known a few of those, and they were pretty on the ball in general. I mean, I see a 12-core Mac Pro and think back to the Mac Pro we had mixed in with the HP and Sun workstations in the FEL control room when I did an internship back in 2002, I don't think "web designer" or "philosophy major." Just saying.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by tomhudson ( 43916 )

          Apple isn't about making cool technology any more - it's about marketing to the masses.

          Sure, I can use a 12-core device - but then again, I can write multi-threaded code in c, so I'm not dependent on a higher-level abstraction to hopefully "manage" my threading for me (while sucking so much resources that 12 cores becomes the new dual core). The average user simply can't even make proper use of 4 cores - and if you gave them a really pimped-out liquid-cooled overclocked single-core 32-bit machine (gobs o

          • likewise the average program, even plenty of games, can't even make proper use of 4 cores. Wasn't there an article about this on slashdot recently?

        • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:27PM (#33046618)

          In a sense, the Mac Pro is the only "UNIX workstation" on the market today. There are tower machines made by Sun and IBM which can be used as such, but not sold as this.

          Supposedly, Autodesk is going to start getting their mainstream version of AutoCAD on OS X RSN.

          Of course, the question is why a Mac Pro over another x86 machine such as a Dell Precision? Multiple reasons:

          1: OS X tends to have lower latency than Windows out of the box (you can disable services in Windows to help things). This, combined with the fact that Macs do not need a CPU and I/O draining antivirus program resident 24/7 means that a Mac Pro can outperform a similarly configured Windows machine.

          2: Known quantity. Application makers have a far smaller number of combinations of machines and graphic cards they need to test and support.

          3: Piracy. Mac users tend to pirate a lot less, so there will be more paid seats sold.

          4: Support. At this level, it is assumed that the workstations come with premium support, so it isn't like the consumer market where Apple just puts the other PC vendors to shame. However, it does help having one vendor sell and support the OS and hardware.

          5: Education. Professors used to buy UNIX workstations because they needed them for SPSS, Maple, and other tasks. Because Apple gives a discount for universities, this means that Mac Pros will end up in the statistical computing labs.

          6: Security. This is debatable, but it can be said that UNIX is more secure than Windows, although the difference narrows if the Windows admin knows what he or she is doing. Since high end workstations tend to work on items that are crucial trade secrets, having solid security is a must.

          7: Resale value. Mac Pros are priced competitively with other workstation class machines, so having the machines worth more when they are changed out at the end of an amortization cycle doesn't hurt.

          • 1: OS X tends to have lower latency than Windows out of the box (you can disable services in Windows to help things). This, combined with the fact that Macs do not need a CPU and I/O draining antivirus program resident 24/7 means that a Mac Pro can outperform a similarly configured Windows machine.

            I agree with most of your points except this. I have an antivirus (Microsoft Security Essentials) on my netbook, barely notice it's presence on my netbook. I also disabled all services (Windows 7 Home Premium), more for psychological (I don't like crap running I don't need) than any measurable gain. We are talking about a single Atom processor here - so do you think this would make a difference on a 12-core monster processor? Yeah, you may gain a few millisecond render time here and there, and well it can add up to a few seconds (maybe even a minute!!!) over a year... but seriously, this is not exactly a huge advantage ;)

            As for reason #3 I think that's more an argument for why not. #7 I'm not sure, you can buy a G5 Mac Pro now for 200$, that's a fraction of the original price. The loss seems to me pretty much on par with (over 90%) PCs. I also wonder about your latency claim - I don't dispute it, I just don't know what to think... do you have any proof? The only benchmarks I saw comparing the three platforms (PC/Linux PC/Win7 Mac/OsX) was on phoronix, and I don't trust them too much (but the mac box lost on almost all benchmarks).

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by takev ( 214836 )
              Microsoft Security Essentials in pure virus scanner mode is no problem.

              But when it is in active mode, scanning data from the network, etc. It does slow down your machine. I had it running when playing EVE Online, and every second the frame rate/update rate would drop a bit, it was very noticeable. When I turned of the active part, it ran smooth again.
    • Re:More magic? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mini me ( 132455 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:21AM (#33045488)

      You don't have to make love to the product. If the product is useful to you, buy it. If not, do not buy it. Who cares what marketing has to say?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Honestly, I find this "magic" marketing strategy to be a complete turnoff.

      Well, I guess Steve Jobs learned his lesson with "really cool engineering". What else is left besides "magic"?

      "Combining the really cool engineering of the iPhone 4, and the magic of the new iMac; I am pleased to announce to the world the iAlchemist. Yes that's right folks, as long as you don't hold it the wrong way, your iAlchemist can use the power of alchemy to turn lead into gold!"

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        your iAlchemist can use the power of alchemy to turn lead into gold!

        Uh, we're lead free solder here, thank you.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          your iAlchemist can use the power of alchemy to turn lead into gold!

          Uh, we're lead free solder here, thank you.

          I'd be happy to redirect a barge full of toys en route from China to one of your local ports; for a nominal fee of course. :)

    • by Sturm ( 914 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:39AM (#33045828) Journal

      At least they didn't call it,


    • Re:More magic? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:18PM (#33047526)

      Honestly, I find this "magic" marketing strategy to be a complete turnoff.

      Agreed. I use the term magic when someone asks me how or why something I did worked, and it's complicated enough that I don't want to explain it. I say it's magic, we smile at each other, and each of us knows that it's complicated enough to avoid an explanation (if they say they really want to know, of course I'll explain it).

      I also use it when I have enough contempt for the person that I don't think they would understand even if I tried to explain it.

      So yeah, it's definitely a turn off when I see a company like Apple using it as a marketing strategy. It's like they assume we're stupid, and that's the only thing we can understand. But like someone else mentioned, I guess technical people are not Apple's target market. Sort of strange, but there it is.

  • by Robotron23 ( 832528 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:05AM (#33045192)

    As others have noted here in the past, the number of processing cores do not a powerful computer make. A lot of the time with both laptops and PCs the cores are entirely unused. You could get a finely made quad-core which is standard fare nowadays, and have it work much faster than a six or dozen core system like these Mac pros.

    Since processing is largely a duopoly of AMD and Intel, both have been guilty of marketing their hardware by highlighting the core numbers. Yet it's the architecture, pressure under strain, among other things that actually equate to performance.

    • by Alakaboo ( 171129 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:12AM (#33045332) Homepage

      All but the highest-end iMac are dual-core. The lowest-end Mac Pro is quad-core. If someone is going to drop $5K+ on a Mac Pro with 12 cores, they either have money to throw around or they know what they're doing.

    • by DavidpFitz ( 136265 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:13AM (#33045338) Homepage Journal

      As others have noted here in the past, the number of processing cores do not a powerful computer make.

      For sure; but this is aimed at people who are would be rendering video on their desktop or other CPU heavy creative tasks (e.g. Photoshop on massively high resolution images).

      This isn't aimed at your average Mac user, or even your 'power-user' - it's aimed at people who need huge amounts of CPU every now and then.

      • That's true and the OP never denied that.

        But the fact is that in 3 or 4 years 12 core technology could well be in place on standard home PCs, where the most strain possible is a newly released videogame.

        The niche market of video renderers and other early adopters are only the first stage of buyers for this hardware - other customers will buy into it as the tech proliferates. History has shown we've seen widely marketed multi-cores aimed at everybody; and that's really what my beef is with AMD/Intel and othe

    • by ironring2006 ( 968941 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:17AM (#33045398)
      If you think you can get by just fine on just a quad-core, then you're not the target market. Simple as that. I get by just fine on my entry level MacMini. There won't be a huge volume of sales of the 12 core systems, but there exists a market (however relatively small) that needs every bit of computing power they can get. They're also the ones willing to invest in the software architechture to get the most out of the hardware.
    • by yumyum ( 168683 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:18AM (#33045428)

      A lot of the time with both laptops and PCs the cores are entirely unused.

      So? That is more a problem of application programmers than hardware designers.

      Since processing is largely a duopoly of AMD and Intel, both have been guilty of marketing their hardware by highlighting the core numbers.

      This does not even make sense. Why shouldn't a company tout the fact that they have more cores on a chip than before? And this is Apple's advertising anyway, not AMD/Intel. The price alone would keep most people from buying the high-end, as it always has. However, for my work in radar signal processing using heavily-threaded applications, this machine would be a great addition to my desktop since I would no longer have to run my signal processing streams distributed over several hosts; one host could do the job just fine.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:22AM (#33045510) Homepage Journal

      It depends on how you define "power." If it's in terms of the number of calculations per second the computer is capable of doing, then of course more cores equals more power. The question is whether you're going to be running software that uses that power. The sterotypical "I just want to surf the web and read e-mail" low-end user isn't going to, but then, that guy isn't in the target market for this machine.

      In bioinformatics, many of the problem we work on are "embarrassingly parallel," and I can guarantee you that I'd have no problem keeping all 12 cores on this machine busy. But scientists are a tiny niche market, of course. Presumably the new Mac Pro is mainly being pitched, as previous machines in the lines have been, to graphics and video pros. Can Photoshop and Illustrator and Final Cut use an arbitrarily large number of cores efficiently?

      • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:29AM (#33045642)

        Can Photoshop and Illustrator and Final Cut use an arbitrarily large number of cores efficiently?

        Arbitrarily large numbers of cores? No, not a chance, certainly not on a shared memory architecture like the system in question. 12 cores is probably going to be OK, but when you pass 16 cores you'll start to notice the memory bottleneck; once you are at 64 cores you are basically at the limit of usefulness for shared memory architectures, and you have to be careful about memory access patterns or your software will be slower. Even "embarrassingly parallel" can suffer if the memory access patterns are bad.

        There is a reason that almost all of the supercomputers in use today use some sort of NUMA or distributed memory architecture.

    • by leenks ( 906881 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:24AM (#33045546)

      Grand Central Dispatch. []

    • by aclarke ( 307017 ) <> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:25AM (#33045558) Homepage
      I have an 8-core Mac Pro. It's currently running a 4 core Windows 2008 server VM with 6GB of RAM, a dual core Windows 7 VM with 1.2GB of RAM, a couple app servers natively in Mac OS X, an a host of other applications. This machine has replaced my need for separate development and test servers, and gives me power to spare for the rest of my tasks. Yes it cost probably $4-5k once you count in the 13.5TB of drives, etc., but I use it to get work done. I rarely see my CPUs pegged at 100% for a long time, but it does happen.

      I had a very nicely specced quad core that I built before I bought my Mac Pro, and the Mac Pro absolutely blows that computer out of the water. When you have real work to do, of the type that the Mac Pro is built for, it's an awesome machine and worth every penny. If you don't need the power, then of course it's more than you need.
    • by AdmiralXyz ( 1378985 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:25AM (#33045570)
      Three points:

      1. More cores means lower clock speed, by necessity, because it means more power consumption, so you have to turn down the frequency to keep the TDP the same. This doesn't mean you have to get cheated out of clock speed though. You will note that Apple is not forcing you to get the 12-core version: 8- and 6- core versions are available at higher speeds.

      2. What you need out of the architecture depends on what you're doing. Many Mac Pro customers are doing embarrassingly parallel workloads like 3-D rendering, where increasing your cores increases your performance almost linearly. That's a way better tradeoff then a couple percent of performance from a higher clock rate. Or, if that's not what you're doing, you can get the faster chips, see above.

      3. Yeah, architecture matters, but... the architecture's all the same? No matter which core count/frequency you get, they're all Xeon chips, they're all Nehalem. It's not like you have another choice. And for my money, Nehalem is a damn good architecture for workstation/server machines (laptops, less so, but it's still an improvement over Core 2).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tom9729 ( 1134127 )

        TFA suggests the 12-core Mac Pro is actually a dual 6-core running at 3.33ghz. My last (albeit, budget) machine was a dual-core @ 3.15ghz. You're right that fewer cores = lower clock speed, but I don't think anything over 3ghz is really that bad (especially when you have 6-12 of them).

    • As others have noted here in the past, the number of processing cores do not a powerful computer make.

      That is certainly true for the average to power user.

      However, if you use software specifically written to take advantages of all the cores then you are the intended audience of the Mac Pro. We use the 8-core version and have slashed computing times down from over 5 minutes per data file to less than a minute. I can see an application for the 12-core version and the completely guessed $6000 price tag makes

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DJRumpy ( 1345787 )

      Any OS X app that leverages GCD could benefit from those cores. []

      Although any existing app could also be written to utilize multiple cores effectively, GDC makes it much easier and requires far less raw code to accomplish.

    • by V!NCENT ( 1105021 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:52AM (#33046038)

      In case you missed it:
      Mac OS X 10.5's entire userspace app collection is agressively multi-threaded. Even the e-mail client runs multiple threads. Browsers like Google Chrome and now Firefox are multithreaded. Not to mention the tons of processes that take up lots of time if serialised. Now couple that with the driver for you graphics card that compiles on the fly and runs on the CPU and you might get the picture.

      In case nobody does: multiple cores prevents everything from slowing basically everything down. Not to mention the multi-thread potential of eventually stuff like ray tracers and whatnot. But oh well... my clue train needs to be driven to some other place. *choo-choo*

      BTW which idiots modded that guy insightful? -_-

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:05AM (#33045196) Homepage Journal

    And all of the expected gestures are here: two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, fingertip rotation, and three- and four-finger swipes.

    Ah, nope. You missed one.

  • The TFA suggests that this trackpad would be good for editing images. Not having seen the device I can't say for sure, but isn't a finger a little too big and inaccurate to use as a precision targeting tool? If it wasn't then all the high end track pads currently used for editing would be using fingers rather than a stylus.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by alvinrod ( 889928 )
      Just use the pinch to zoom to make the target area larger.

      As an added bonus you can yell "Enhance!" every time you zoom-in.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dzfoo ( 772245 )

      Just to be sure, the technology required to track fingers is much different than the one required to track a stylus, in power, complexity and components. For one thing, the stylus requires pressure or conductive contact, while the finger requires capacitive contact.

      Think about this, if it is all the same, how come phones are now including touch-screens instead of the old, tried-and-true stylus like the PDAs of yore? Perhaps it's because the technology has improved enough, and its cost lowered enough as to

    • If only someone could invent a device that would simulate the human finger, but had a finer point.

      It'd be even better if it was in the shape of a pen, because that's what most people are used to holding.

      You could call it... iMagicBicPenPointer.

  • by Kalidor ( 94097 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:16AM (#33045382) Homepage

    So .. since all their touch technology derives from FingerWorks [ [] ]. They revived the iGesturePad from 1999 and added a raiser.

    Question 1) Do we get to see any of the 60 or so gestures they used to use a decade ago that Apple declined to reuse?

    Question 2) Is there a chance that it means the TouchStream LP is coming back in a form I could potentially get for my windows9x+/*nix9x computer again ... without having to pay several hundred on eBay + driver hunts... just several hundred to Apple?

    My hope is that they are answered as followed:

    1) Yes

    2) Yes, more than a chance, and soon.

    • just several hundred to Apple?

      The trackpad is only going to cost $70 according to TFA, so while it isn't as cheap as a bottom-barrel USB mouse you can buy at best buy, its certainly not a couple hundred dollars.

      • by Kalidor ( 94097 )

        The iGesturePad was a similiar price point. The Touchstream LP(on the website link) was significantly more ... functional ... and cost a lot more.

        Question 2 was more in hopes that the latter product will be delivered as well as the smaller cousin.

      • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

        Bottom barrel mice are not found at best buy.

        I get my "bottom barrel mice" out of the bottom of my barrel (technically it is a large plastic tub) that contains a random assortment of computer components left over from the last 20 years of hoarding parts.

        The $20 USB optical mice from best buy are over priced, but hardly bottom of the barrel.

  • by rimcrazy ( 146022 )

    Hey, I'm a Apple Fanboy but this is just a screw job. No SATA III, No USB 3.0 ????

    I need a good platform for my 3D work and was hoping that there might be something making the new MacPro's worth waiting for but not this.

    Just priced a nice Win 7 system from Newegg and me thinks for work I'm switching back. This is just absurd.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Depends, how much is your time worth? I worked as an IT guy for a medium sized production house that switched from a mix of PC's and Macs to all macs back in 2002 - 2004. It saved them something like $100,000 in salary costs per year because the 3 MCSE's on staff were let go. All they did was update anti-virus and then clean all the malware & viruses off the machines the AV missed.

      In 2005/2006 I left the company and did some freelance editing & 3D (lightwave) work for other videographers I knew i

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rimcrazy ( 146022 )

        I run Maya, FCP, Adobe Master Suite. I am a one person shop. I've gone back and forth between Win and Mac for the past 25 years and very knowledgeable on both systems. I have Shake but it is dead. Apple bought it and killed it. I compose using Toxik which comes with Maya. Most, if not all, available plug-ins for Maya run under Windows. Only some run under Mac. A critical one I currently use only runs under windows. I currently run under bootcamp so I can use that plug-in. Rendering time, especiall

    • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:00PM (#33047214) Journal
      If you've just spent $6k on a new Mac Pro, and you *really* need USB-3, just spend another $40 [] and plug the card in. It's a Mac Pro. It has expansion ports. Use them and feel happy.

      ... and if you want e-sata, just buy an extender cable [] for the two extra on-board sata channels in the Mac Pro. That'll cost you the princely sum of $19.

      Sure, you can argue it ought to have come with them (and I'd agree, for what it's worth) but the cost of implementing it yourself is hardly the end of the world.

  • I won't be impressed until I can make a flaming pigeon come out of it.
  • $2500 for quad, 3GB ram and only 5770?

    You can get quad cores for $800-$1500 with 4gb and 5830 or better.

    at least the 5770 is much better then the past for base cards. But will apple make you pay for the 5870 $300 making it cost $150-$200 (5770 cost apple price likey higher) + $300

  • Its a system with dual six-core cpus. Its like saying a computer with two one-core cpus is a "dual core" system. It may be literally true but very misleading and not what a customer expects.

  • Including extended middle finger?
  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:02PM (#33046244)

    Why do cheaper Imacs have more base ram? But only have ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB in the $2000 system 27" screen and apple wants to push games on mac os x?

  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:52PM (#33047072)

    Adobe has assured its customers that Flash 10.1 will be able to "...make full use of the new machines. Flash will be able to utilize 100% of the 12 core hardware without fail. That's the reliability customers have come to expect from Adobe."

    Boot Camp users running Windows will have to deal with "compatibility issues" that might limit utilization to a mere 15-25%

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