Rechargeability is the true magic in Apple's new input devices
Mice, keyboards and trackpads tend to have a long life. It certainly feels like a lifetime since we saw any significant changes in Apple’s interface devices. Eight years, in fact. I haven’t yet had a chance to try the Magic Mouse 2 , the Magic Trackpad 2 or the new Magic Keyboard but did call in to an Apple Store yesterday and found them all seriously out of stock with no estimate of availability.
Yet however these new devices perform, the magic is certainly in the rechargeable batteries. The old devices eat batteries on an industrial scale. The old mouse is also very choosy in what type of battery it likes. The slightest variation in size can lead to power breaks and erratic behaviour. Eventually, I decided that only Apple’s rechargeable batteries were worth using. The battery compartment lid, too, is a royal pain. I have written many times about the difficulties with various non-rechargeable batteries and I have long loathed the erratic bottom plate that falls off frequently. Both these problems will be gone like magic when the new mouse hits the desk.
As for the keyboard, although I got on well with the Apple Wireless Keyboard, and have a couple knocking around, I long since went back to the old wired keyboard with my iMac because it is just one less device to run out of power every few days.
In short, Apple’s old generation of battery powered input devices is totally un-magical in terms of the amount of fettling necessary to keep the various products up and running.
So the prospect of rechargeable devices is enticing. I shall be buying the keyboard and mouse and, quite probably, the trackpad when I can find them in stock. I expect no surprises with the trackpad or mouse but I am slightly nervous about the new keyboard. From all accounts the key action is very similar to that of the new MacBook—shallow and button-like. I still struggle sometimes with the MacBook and I find that the typing position has to be just right or I end up hitting the wrong keys. It will be interesting to see how I get on with the Magic Keyboard. On balance, it is probably helpful to have the same typing experience on both desktop and portable rather than continually swapping between two very different forms of input.