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Apple unveiled the Magic Trackpad recently with little fanfare – it just appeared on Apple’s online store after an update. You must want to know the difference between the Magic Trackpad and regular mouse. We jumped through hoops to get a hold of a Magic Trackpad so that we could compare the experience of the Magic Mouse with that of a regular mouse. Here’s what we’ve found.
It must be said that I have a bias towards trackpads on laptops. Attaching a mouse to one is often to demanding a task considering the environments in which I usually use my Macbook Pro. On the flipside of that, I’ve found using a traditional mouse to be the best experience on the desktop. Having tried the Apple Magic Mouse for a brief period, it landed up sealed away in the drawer for future use (which is likely to never happen). So, in this respect, there is no bias to either a mouse or a trackpad, so to speak.
With input devices, it all comes down to how you use it and how it feels to use. The allure of multitouch on portable computers has finally died down – simply put, it’s not as neat as it was when we first saw it. More specifically, many people consider multitouch on notebooks a necessity and not a nicety. Having said that, prolonged use splintered expectations with desktops, with very few people associating desktop computers with multi-touch functionality. This is a big deal and here’s the explanation why – as nice as multi-touch on the desktop is to have, it isn’t exactly something you knew you wanted because you’ve been making do without it. The Apple Magic Mouse confirmed this first and the Apple Magic Trackpad only further solidifies this.
So in use, we often forgot we had multi-touch functionality available to us – and we didn’t particularly care for it, either. To Apple’s credit, the trackpad is very intuitive if you’ve used any of their notebooks before. No surprises, just well engineered technology. But sooner – rather than later – you start aching for multiple buttons on your input device, classic drag-and-lift functionality, (old habits die hard) and a place to rest your hand comfortably. Using the trackpad hurt after heavy use, and while most users won’t be in front of their computers all day, it is likely those people who are remotely interested in the trackpad (early adopters) are heavy users.
While the Magic Trackpad really is far more exciting than the admittedly antiquated mouse is, we kept finding ourselves gravitating back towards said mouse. The prolonged use really put strain on our joints – it just plain hurts having to hold your hands in that awkward position for that long. Interestingly, the Magic Mouse, which has less functionality than the trackpad but draws inspiration from the mouse, felt more comfortable than the trackpad.
Clearly Apple want to ditch buttons altogether and the magic trackpad is a massive leap in that direction. However, until Apple can figure out ergonomics and comfort concerns for power users, we’ll stick to the trusty mouse for desktops and built-in trackpads for notebooks.
Simply put, it’s early days for either the Apple Magic Mouse or the Apple Magic Trackpad to cement themselves as must-have input devices, in lieu of the timeless mouse.
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