Haptic hazard: Analyzing unannounced products


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A new Apple device has been rumored! Who’ll be the first to write about how it’ll never work!

Ah, ReadWrite’s Adriana Lee is this week’s Eeyore.

”The Apple TV’s Supposed New Touchpad Is A Terrible Idea” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

This is a relief because if there’s one thing technology reporting is sadly lacking it’s analysis of devices we know nothing about.

Apple’s rumored touchpad in its upcoming Apple TV remote control sounds like a horrendous idea.

Well, horrendous ideas are pretty much the company’s touchstone. The Macalope believes you’ve hit the nail on the head.

The Times noted that the original version’s minimalistic design, which stripped away every button except for the bare functional necessities, exemplified the company’s approach to easy usability.

Sure! Well, unless you have to enter a password. In which case it’s like trying to replace an iPhone battery while wearing oven mitts and riding an angry donkey through a ball pit.

Don’t ask how the Macalope knows what that’s like, he just does, OK?

On paper, it makes some sense. In real life? Maybe not so much.

How many times can future Apple devices be judged by low information before pundits realize that it’s the low information that’s the problem, not the device? At least infinity more times? OK, that’s what the Macalope thought. Let us continue to wade through this quicksand of the mind.

We grip the units with one hand, sometimes in the dark. Adding a touchpad or trackpad into that equation sounds like a recipe for frustration.

“I know next to nothing about this device but I do know that I hate it.” In fairness, though, it’s much better to be prejudiced about things than people. So there is that. The Macalope’s not sure why you need to be prejudiced about either, but...

There’s also no word on what people are supposed to use touch pad for.

“These rumors are dumb! And incomplete!” It’s like that old joke about the food at a restaurant being terrible. And such small portions.

Consider this: When we binge-watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or tune into Transparent, we often reach for our remotes quickly and grab without looking.


Sorry, the horny one just can’t read The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt without breaking into song.

A trackpad on a device that people fumble around with just begs for accidental finger flubs.

Some might say it demands them. Others would say that it bends time backwards and is literally causing you to make them now, months before it ships. Such is the fail power of this not-yet-announced device about which we know nothing.

Then whammo, you’re suddenly and inexplicably watching Love, Actually.

The Macalope thinks you’re dramatically underestimating his resolve to not watch Love, Actually. Just what do you think the pit of lava and trap door under the Macalope’s television are for? Surely the sign that reads “Release latch in case of Love, Actually or The Big Bang Theory” should have tipped you off.

People who use their iPhones as touch-friendly TV remote controls already know this irritation, and gingerly handle their mobiles accordingly. Apple’s new remote might account for that by...

Face it: You don’t really know anything about this remote. So why are we going through this exercise? Oh, because it might actually be cool when it’s unveiled so you have to get your kicks in before then.

But even Logitech, maker of some of the most advanced remote controls on the market, largely bypasses touchpads.

Well, if Logitech can’t make it work then...

What we’d wind up with, then, is a single remote that foists no less than three different ways of interacting with the set-top box—via microphone, trackpad or the physical keys.

“I have not seen it. I imagine it will be complicated.” That failure of imagination is not Apple’s fault.

Sure, Apple might find a way to make its new variation work, but...

If the Macalope had a bale of alfalfa for every time he’s read almost that exact same sentence over the years about any number of Apple products...

Oh, man, that would be sweet. Wonder if there’s some way to arrange that.

So much for simplicity.

Yes, this exercise in pre-judging a device that’s months from shipping is certainly over done and requires an arcane construct of assumptions one must take on virtually no evidence.

Oh, that’s not what you were talking about. Oh, right.

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