One hand!

Here is an absolutely trivial product feature that turns out to be very nice. This is the latch release for the more recent IBM (now Lenovo) Thinkpad notebook computers.

I’ve been through more models of Thinkpad than I remember, and until the T4x series they all had two latch releases on the front edge of the lid. Then came the T40, and it only had one, on the right, which actuates both latches through an inner linkage. When I first saw this I was disdainful: who cares, after all? But when I started to use a T41, I realized how useful this feature is. These days we mobile users run around the workplace from meeting to meeting with our notebook; and until someone comes out with the secondary displays we’ve seen on futuristic promotional videos (but never in reality), we often have to open the notebook to check details of our coming meeting while walking towards an elevator… and with the single-latch arrangement, you can hold the machine in your left hand while opening its screen with the right.

Like I said, a trivial detail, but it really is useful. A nice piece of design from IBM!

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