Magic, Inc.

I know it’s wrong to judge a product before using it, but I can’t help thinking that Apple’s new Magic Trackpad is a cool accessory that I will be avoiding like the plague.

In the first place, I don’t understand the appeal of a trackpad on a desktop computer. On laptops, they’re certainly they’re an improvement over the old PowerBook scrollball and the ThinkPad clitoris, but they’re not nearly as good—not nearly as tactile—as a well-designed mouse. Whenever I need to do a lot of work on my old iBook, I bring out a mouse and plug it in. It’s just better than a trackpad.1

The rollout of the Magic Trackpad and my painful experience with the Magic Mouse last year lead me to wonder whether Apple will ever again make a pointer device that I can live with. I actually like the Apple (née Mighty) Mouse,2 but I’m afraid its days are numbered as Apple slowly turns its entire product line iPhonesque.3

  1. Yes, I know the newer trackpads are much more capable than the one on my iBook G4. I’ve tried the new ones; they’re still not as good as a mouse. The Touch interface is great when your fingers are on the screen with the objects you’re manipulating—not so good when they’re two feet away. 

  2. I know most people hate the Apple Mouse because its scrollball attracts debris and is a pain in the ass to clean. There’s no question but that Apple should have made it cleanable. Still, I find it a pleasure to use and, before the Magic Mouse was introduced, had some hope that Apple would fix its problems in a later revision. Now it’s the redheaded stepchild of the Apple lineup and will probably be dropped as the company goes all Touch. 

  3. Despite my tendency to wander off on tangents, I believe this is the very first post in which my footnotes are as long as than the body text.