Apple's New Trackpad Is Magical, But Can't Kill My Mouse

Apple's New Trackpad Is Magical, But Can't Kill My Mouse

The mouse is anathema to Apple's grand utopian touch-based future, in which nothing but the supple pads of your ten digits (and a Pencil?) dictate how you navigate a digital interface. The new Magic Trackpad 2 is the fullest realisation of that future for desktop users. I'm enamoured, but mostly just want my mouse back.

Like Apple's refined keyboard, the new trackpad really makes you want to touch and feel it. It's the most tantalising white rectangle I've ever seen, improving vastly on the looks of the old aluminium one. This has to be one of Apple's most minimal products ever -- a simple wedge shape with a sheer unadorned surface. It's also larger, and when it comes to trackpads, larger is almost always better. I don't care what it does, I don't care that it costs $199, I want this on my desk.

Apple's New Trackpad Is Magical, But Can't Kill My Mouse

In terms of new features, the main thing is the pressure sensitive Force Touch. Press a little harder than normal and access that deep click, which gives you shortcuts in a few different spots of OS X El Capitan; things like activating Exposé from the dock or previewing files in Finder. Unfortunately, it's not terribly useful because there aren't a lot of Force Touch shortcuts available, and it's hard to remember the ones that do exist, but it's still cool and I'm glad it's there when I want it.

There are some great subtleties in the trackpad. You can click with the same amount of force anywhere on the surface. I hate feeling like the bottom of a trackpad is the only part that clicks, and this device does away with that. You can adjust just how clicky your clicks sound, and even enable silent clicking, which is so cool I want to enable and disable it over and over again just for the effect. You can also recharge the battery with a lightning connector. Nobody likes hunting down AA batteries when you're trying to get work done.

Other than that, the same slew of multitouch gestures are available as before. There are so damn many! Tap to click, two finger tap, three finger swipe, FIVE finger pinch, swipe from the edge, and on and on.

Apple's New Trackpad Is Magical, But Can't Kill My Mouse

It's a lot to remember, but once you get the hang of it, navigating your computer feels like you're conducting a fucking symphony. In a good way!

Apple's New Trackpad Is Magical, But Can't Kill My Mouse

But the magic does fade, and it fades fast.

First, even a trackpad as versatile as this leaves my wrist just a bit sore. To be honest, the convenience of multitouch never outweighed the comfort factor of a mouse for me. Having to constantly lift your fingers up, even a half inch in the air, over and over and over can be pretty painful. This is most noticeable when your day is filled with tasks requiring you to click and drag things around. Just like a laptop, clicking and dragging is hell with a trackpad.

After the novelty of the Magic Trackpad 2 faded, the hand gymnastics were just enough to form an aching sensation that I never experience with a mouse. Maybe I just have the finger strength of a child, but I do not enjoy having to cock my wrist to work out the knots every five minutes.

With a mouse my hand feels much more naturally at rest. Most of the motion is dictated with subtle nudges of my thumb and ring finger. It feels better, and I can pinpoint locations on an interface with much faster precision.

The magical appeal of the trackpad made me want to love it. I really tried to be a part of Apple's future. But in the end, that old peripheral Apple itself made so popular back in the '80s is still the best tool for the job.

Apple's New Trackpad Is Magical, But Can't Kill My Mouse

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Comments

    Track pads are shit. It doesn't matter how good they might be, they're shit compared to a mouse. End of story.

    Just install BetterTouchTools and you'll be moving whole windows around without ever needing to click and drag.

    Last edited 25/10/15 11:01 pm

      Why go to all that effort when you can just use a mouse? You'd have to have rocks in your head to deliberately put a trackpad on your desk. For $199 you can get a Wacom Bamboo tablet that will be a thousand times better because it actually maps 1:1 with your screen.

    Nobody likes hunting down AA batteries when you’re trying to get work done.
    I guess this comes down to individuals. I find the notification given by the mac that your battery is dying is a little on the conservative side. 10% left could be days or in my current case, weeks of battery left. And I am organised enough to have some charged ones within reach, and in a few years, I wont need to buy a new magic trackpad because of a built-in battery that won't hold it's charge

      Who has to "hunt down" batteries? Just keep a couple of spares in your laptop bag for the one or two times a year you might need to change them.

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