I’ve always been a huge fan of using touchpads with a desktop computer. Through the years I’ve gone through many different types: standalone touchpads, touchpads integrated into keyboards, a bamboo pen/touch tablet, etc. They’ve always provided me with the pinpoint accuracy you need when trying to manipulate those extra tiny handles in a precise location while working with photoshop, video editing, etc. What makes touchpads so great for these jobs is that you can position the cursor at the exact location you need it, take your finger off, and then click with confidence that you are not going to move the cursor (like you might with a mouse). However, the one thing that these 3rd party touchpads is missing, is the multi-touch gestures that I enjoy on my MacbookPro (mainly vertical/horizontal scrolling). 3rd party touchpad devices do have multi-touch gesture support, but none of them are as smooth as my stock Apple touchpad.
Apple’s release of their “Magic Trackpad” for $69 is quite exciting for touchpad fans who want to replicate their Apple laptop touchpad experience on their home desktop computer. My only concern is that it has the same design as the current Apple laptops. There are no dedicated buttons. You just press down anywhere on the surface to click. My primary laptop is a previous MacbookPro version that still had a dedicated button. I can’t say I’m too fond of the new “no button” touchpad design because when you press down on the surface, the cursor has a tendency to move ever so slightly. This isn’t a critical issue for most people I don’t think, but it’s something to consider for those of us who require precise cursor positioning…or maybe I just need a little more practice.
My other concern that may be a significant issue to most people is that this trackpad uses Bluetooth. From my experience with Apple Bluetooth products, Apple has a lot to learn when it comes to battery management. I have abandoned both my Apple Magic Mouse & Wireless Keyboard because the battery life was absolutely horrible. I had to replace the batteries on a weekly basis which became completely impractical and troublesome. It’s interesting to see that Apple is also releasing its own rechargeable batteries and charger. For $29 you get the charger and 6 NiMH rechargeable batteries. This may be a worthwhile investment if it can help resolve Apple’s Bluetooth battery issues.
On a side note, if Apple calls one more thing “Magic,” I’m going to throw up.