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. ↩︎