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The End of the Mouse? (aka The Apple Magic Trackpad)

July 16, 2011 Leave a comment

In the last week, I have come to feel that an end to an era is approaching: The Era of the mouse as the primary interface navigation tool for computing.

At least, it certainly is in my case.

I have used the Apple Magic Trackpad for less than a week and I am already in love with it. Far more so than the hybrid Apple Magic Mouse, which I found somewhat gimmicky and a little disappointing, so until this absolute gem came along, I was a devout fan of Wacom’s mouse and pen pad, the mighty Intuos 4: And I still am, to an extent. Insomuch as I use it now solely as a pen input device for my Photoshop/Illustrator work.

It just comes naturally

In terms of learning curve, if you own a MacBook or Power Book or indeed any form of capacitative touch screen device with multi-finger input (such as an iPhone, iPad or an Android) then you’ll be right at home the moment you use place your finger on its silky smooth surface.

For me, it came naturally within seconds, even though I rarely use a trackpad on a laptop. And I would not be lying to say that in terms of learning curve, nothing could be shallower!

In terms of being a trackpad, it is the finest example I have ever used. Every complaint I have had with other trackpads… (too small, too smooth, too rough, insensitive to dry fingers, sensitive to nearby gadgets, finicky, inaccurate, noticeable input lag, random response towards the edge)… And I mean  every single one I can think of right now, has been addressed and overcome.

Here are some of the things I think make it stand out:

  • Wireless – No more cables on your already cluttered desk.
  • Quality – It’s not just a crappy, overstocked, last-year’s-model notebook trackpad shoehorned into a cheap plastic holder and resold. No, it is crafted as well as any Apple device I have used.
  • Size – BIG! As I said above, it’s not a repackaged notebook device.
  • Perfect frictional texture – You find your fingers don’t slide without tactile feedback and yet it’s not so rough that your finger is worn to a nubbin after 8 hours of constant use.
  • Accuracy, stability and response speed – Seemingly instantaneous response with razor sharp accuracy. The mouse pointer may as well be tied to your finger!
  • Attention to detail – For example, on other pads, if you overrun the edge of the pad, the cursor abruptly stops. However, on the Apple Magic Trackpad, the response gracefully degrades in such a way that you naturally return your finger to the centre of the pad. Very subtle, very Apple.
  • System integration – The driver software and its integration with Apple’s Mac OS X is as close to perfect as one could ever wish for.

 

 

So, what now for the mouse?

One word: Goodbye!

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