Apple introduced its first device to use multitouch at Macworld 2007 in San Francisco, the iPhone. The first-generation iPhone was released the following June. Since then, Apple has steadily added multitouch to their MacBook line of laptop computers. Now they have brought multitouch to their mice with the Magic Mouse.
I am sure that this has been under development at Apple for some time. According to Apple, the company spent a couple of years working on the iPhone before they announced it. After they have a successful multitouch interface working and out in the marketplace, how much effort could it really take to move it over to trackpad on a laptop? After the MacBook Pro got the multitouch technology, I cannot imagine it would take much time to make it a feature in all of Apple’s other laptop models. I think that Apple spread out the implementation of multitouch in its laptop line to keep notebook sales nice and steady over a couple of years.
Maybe I am wrong though. I could be completely unfair to Apple’s hardware engineers who, I am certain in any case, worked very hard to make multitouch a reality on so many different products. There probably were some difficulties with each successive new multitouch product and they needed time to hammer out all of the hardware and firmware bugs before they could push it out.
Any company needs time to develop new hardware. I accept that. In the case of Apple, they make sure that the software and the hardware work perfectly together. However, that does not mean that it is wise from a marketing perspective to push out a given feature, especially one as novel as multitouch, on too many products too quickly.