Magic Touch: Is the mouse out-tracked by Apple's Magic Trackpad?
Dinosaur that I am, I have always been a mouse man. As trackpads on portable computers have grown more sophisticated and talented, I still insisted on my mouse. I’d carry it with me when travelling and use it in preference to the built-in trackpad (which, unlike the mouse, couldn’t be forgotten but I didn’t let than influence me).
Last year I bought Apple’s Magic Trackpad and played with it for a week or two. Impressive. I thought I might like it as a backup. But the lure of the Magic Mouse, just a few inches away, always won me back to the shining path of tradition.
So what changed? The Twelve South Magic Bridge, it was, that changed me. The idea of having the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad on the desk as a unit persuaded me to buy the Magic Bridge. I reviewed it here.
Perhaps, just perhaps, I would get on with the Magic Trackpad and (very unlikely) I would not want to use the Magic Mouse. Perhaps.
I decided to try concentrating on the trackpad for a full month, eschewing the lure of the mouse for the first time in thirty years. The month is up, so what did I find?
First, I do love the combination of keyboard and trackpad in one unit. That alone is enough to add a few stars in the trackpad’s favour. Second, I have learned to appreciate and love the trackpad as an alternative to a mouse. It is now feeling pretty natural and some actions, such as finger zooming (as on an iPhone) come far more intuitively than with a mouse. I’ve even mastered drag and drop which, for lack of practice, was always the Achilles’ heel of the trackpad in my experience. Now I can drag and drop like a good ‘un. As the days go by I am less and less inclined to go back to the mouse.
It has been a long trail but I now understand the attraction of the trackpad and realise the limitations of the mouse. It also helps to have the same form of control on both desktop (iMac) and portable (MacBook).
The Magic Trackpad is bold and large (16 x 11.5cm) and provides a ready canvas for controlling everything on the Mac. It is well designed and simple, with a Lightning port on the top edge for recharging when necessary. The Magic Mouse, on the other hand, must be Apple's worst-designed product. Whoever decided to put the charging port on the rodent's bottom, rendering the device unusable while it is being charge? It beats me; it would have been so simple to put the port on a surface that doesn't sit on the desk.
So, after a month, I am sold on the trackpad. If you, like me, are still wedded to a mouse I recommend you give the Magic Trackpad a chance. It could could be that the mighty mouse has met its match at last.