For many years IBM had a winning formula for business machines called ThinkPads. Amongst the plethora of innovative advantages was the tradmark ‘red-dot’ on every ThinkPads – the easiest way to operate the mouse pointer in a mobile context (back in those days ‘mobile’ meant a travelling with a laptop).
The feature stayed when Lenovo took over, but the ominous sign came a year ago when the flagship ThinkPad X1 removed the 3 physical buttons that cripples the red-dot TrackPoint; it still moved the mouse pointer, but it didn’t operate the machine anymore.
At CES this year Lenovo released the ThinkPad X1 Carbon with the TrackPoint reverted back to the original design – as well as physical Function buttons (rather than some ‘adaptive’ immitation).
Whilst this change was enough to reignite Ars Technica’s love affair with the ThinkPad – and I so wish it would do the same for me – I have since tasted the smoothness and responsiveness of Apple’s trackpad.
My ThinkPad X220 has passed its 3 year warranty, and one day shall fail in a way that isn’t worth spending money on; but I’m torn as to what will replace it when the time comes.