Tuesday, March 10

When Overrated Really Means Properly Rated

Mark Wilson, writing for Fast Company’s Co.Design blog, apparently has an axe to grind and it isn’t just with Apple. As proof, he takes a swing at the highly regarded Thinkpad:

Sapper’s design was unparalleled in 1992, but times have changed. We have touchpads and touch screens that can distinguish how many fingers you’re clicking with.

Wilson’s primary beef is with Lenovo’s insistence1 of keeping the red nub around despite the proliferation and popularity of more modern pointer input methods.

First, the functional irrelevance of a particular feature of the design doesn’t necessarily detract from its timelessness. Being replaced by other, arguably superior, forms of input doesn’t retroactively dismiss the achievement of the original design or implementation. Second, I still find trackpads on non-Apple hardware to be “ludicrous”2, so I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the value of the red nub on today’s Thinkpads.

I’m not a daily reader of Co.Design, but I’ve enjoyed checking in at least once a week or so. Lately, though, it seems like they’re just trolling for clicks.

  1. I call it good stewardship.  ↩

  2. I’m borrowing a great word from Wilson here.  ↩