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Apple Magic Trackpad (apple.com)
156 points by mickeyben on July 27, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 164 comments

Back in the days, I always preferred the Trackpoints the IBM ThinkPads used and I never quite liked the trackpads. I'm even going as far as to say that I'm quite the trackpad hater - they never felt precise to me and required way too frantic finger movement to be really comfortable for me.

But when I moved to Apple hardware, I basically was stuck with the trackpads, but this time around, it was different. The bigger size meant less finger movement and with the advent of multi touch, it suddenly felt like a more "natural" way to control the machine.

With the newer Macbook pros came this "the trackpad is the button" functionality and while it took me a day or so of getting used to, I absolutely cannot work with the dedicated button pads any more. Seing how quickly this became muscle memory, I assume that they did something (no idea what) right when they moved to that design.

This is how I went from "I hate trackpads" to "trackpads are the only really natural way to control the machine".

With this in mind, this new Apple device really interests me and I can't wait to get my hands on one. At worst it'll be a companion to my trackball, at best, it'll replace it (still also having a mouse connected for the eventual UT match though)

It's ironic you say the Apple trackpads allow you to move your fingers less. My biggest complaint about Apple laptops has always been the excessive mouse movement required, at least vs. the trackpoints I love.

Mice can’t be made very fast on OS X but trackpads can (I don’t even have the speed all the way cranked up). I don’t know what it is with Apple and mice but their trackpads are pretty great.

My personal suspicion has always gone like this:

More advanced users have more key presses, larger, faster and more precise cursor movements, and are in general much more in control of the machine, moving quickly. I notice that I look where I want the cursor to go.

Less advanced users tend to move ploddingly slowly, and become very disoriented when the mouse moves quickly. I notice that my less technically apt friends look where the mouse is, and follow it to it's destination.

(Very similar to the observed division in number of inputs between beginning and expert Starcraft players)

Which crowd does Apple target again?

Oh, I have seen so many less advanced computer users which struggle tremendously using a sensitive mouse. That certainly should be the reason why OS X defaults to very slow mouse speeds.

That doesn’t really explain why mice on OS X are still so damn slow even if you crank them all the way up. Less advanced users don’t change settings, advanced users do, so it would be possible to make both happy.

More advanced users tend to dislike being forced to move away from the home row. TrackPad forces the slow hand movement while TrackPoint doesn't; and this is why I can't imagine using an Apple computer again (except maybe with this - http://www.google.com/products/catalog?&cid=102343875510... ).

All IBM TrackPoints come with three different caps. The old default was "classic dome", the new default is "soft dome", but the one you want for featherlight touch is "soft rim" -- http://i27.tinypic.com/sfl6dk.jpg . Set sensitivity to the highest value and now you get a pointing device that's perfect for advanced users. :)

Their mice acceleration curves sucks

I had a bit of that problem, going into system preferences and getting the setting to your liking helped me a lot. I find I had to do the same thing with the trackball I use and the scroll wheel.

The trackpad is super sensitive & precise. I have my speed cranked all the way up so I only have to move 1cm to move across half the screen.

The problem with trackpads are that you have to move your hand - great for normal browsing I suppose, but it sucks when you are writing code or typing.

How is this different from any other pointing device? The only one I know where you didn't have to move your hand was the Touchstream LP (http://www.fingerworks.com/ST_product.html), but then typing was difficult at best.

IBM Trackpoint http://www.pc.ibm.com/ww/healthycomputing/trkpnt.html

Best pointing device ever.

You can keep your hand in home position for typing and manipulate the cursor. It doesn't actually move, but is force sensitive and is delicately calibrated to move in an intuitive manner.

With a Trackpoint-equipped keyboard and a Cintiq (or a tablet like the Intuos if you're using a laptop) you can rule the world. (Well, unless you're a gamer.) The only thing a Trackpoint can't do well is draw, and frankly touchpads, mice and trackballs fall short there as well.

EDIT -- I'm not certain you can find a keyboard with a Trackpoint that isn't part of a Thinkpad anymore. There used to be a couple of licensed versions in addition to the IBM-branded ones.

Some Dell laptops offer trackpoint keyboards (a big draw for me).

Unicomp sells heavy, clacky-key, IBM Model-M style keyboards with the trackpoint built in


Sort of pricey, but really nice whwn you want to hack with your feet up and the keyboard in your lap, and not have to reach for a mouse.

The Trackpoint (little nub) mouse on some laptops doesn't require you to move far if at all from the home row.

The thing that always infuriated me about these little nubs was not only do they tend to have very strange acceleration profiles, but they would quickly wear down from a smooth bump into something all jagged and rough, pock-marked like the surface of a meteorite. Track-pads just get buffed more shiny, from what I've seen.

My ThinkPad came with three styles to choose from. The original style, which I think you're referring to, did wear down after about a year. But it's easy and cheap to get replacements (and some backups are often included). The style I like, which is wide and flat like a mushroom top with bumps, doesn't seem to wear down at all.

As for the acceleration, like with any human input device, that's something you get used to, and it can be configured a bit as well.

I love my TrackPad. I won't buy a laptop without one. Unfortunately, these days, there are fewer and fewer available...

while in coding mode I hardly ever use the pointing device anyways, but control my environment using the keyboard alone.

But while browsing or looking up documentation, I need the pointing device and then the accuracy and the gestures of the trackpad come in very handily.

I agree (using Vim or Vim bindings for all coding work), but have you used the standard wireless mouse that comes with the newer iMacs? It has some gesture support on its top surface (like momentum scrolling) that I couldn't live without.

I'm just wondering if you think the trackpad is better than their mouse. I've only played around with it at the store. Worth the upgrade do you think?

I have a Magic Mouse for my work computer and use a MBP for personal stuff. Personally I actually preferred the Might Mouse over the Magic Mouse. While the multitouch is cool and I do use it a lot, it oftentimes takes a few tries for it to recognize the two finger swipe. I find the trackpad to be the best interaction device I've ever used. Your mileage may vary however. :)

You don't have to move your hand... if you've put the trackpad under your toes!

I echo your sentiments completely. Side note, I bought some kind of multi-touch mini Wacom tablet for my Windows desktop to try to emulate the Mac trackpad experience, but it is complete garbage compared to the precision of the trackpad on my Macbook. It just doesn't feel the same.

So, Apple trackpads are better in that they are more precise? Not being a Mac user, it's hard for me to understand what advantage a trackpad like this gives over any other third-party trackpad, other than the multitouch capability.

Please help me understand why people are gushing over a $70 trackpad (even made by Apple), when most people mock similar input devices costing over $30.

Two reasons.

First, external multitouch trackpads have been basically unobtainable until now. Apple bought the one company that used to make them and incorporated their technology into Apple products years ago. The only other model I've seen was an obscure Japanese import that only supported Windows. If you like trackpads, the Magic Trackpad is the first time in years you can buy one for your desktop.

Second, Apple makes the best trackpads in the industry by a huge margin. They're smooth and precise to a degree that PC laptop trackpads seem incapable of matching. The experience is comparable to the touchscreen on an iPhone or iPad. If you're not a Mac user it can be hard to appreciate the difference; I'm always shocked at how awful PC trackpads are every time I use non-Apple hardware. I'm used to hearing people complain about how much they hate trackpads, but if everyone had an Apple trackpad I suspect opinions would be quite different.

>Apple makes the best trackpads in the industry by a huge margin.

Do you have any research to back that up? I don't doubt that Apple trackpads are of high quality, probably even the best.

That said, the placebo effect can be very powerful when attempting to gauge how easy it is to interact with a computer.

I honestly don't think it's placebo. MacBooks are the only laptop I've ever owned where I've never felt inclined to use a mouse instead of the trackpad. They really are that good.

>I honestly don't think it's placebo.

Well if you did, it wouldn't work!

I've used a lot of pointers (keyboard, joystick, mouse, trackball, trackpad, multitouch, retinal motion, wacom) on a lot of operating systems (TI-94A, solid-state radar displays, Apple II, whatever was behind ACDS and CEC, Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac, FreeBSD, etc, etc) in a lot of different contexts (tracking targets, directing fire, games, fetal ultrasound, planning and reading MRI, CT, Da Vinci machines, surgical microscopes) etc, etc, etc.

I don't think the Mac trackpad is anywhere close to a placebo. It's a parachute issue. (http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/327/7429/1459). For the platform (personal computing), the mac trackpad is a hands-down winner.

Keep in mind though, it only really performs that well in OSX. In Windows there are gestures that clash with each other, in particular trying to right click a link in Chrome causes the window to scroll, very frustrating.

I'm hardly the only one who's mentioned it: http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/04/15/please-wont-somebody-th...

Part of the problem is that Synaptics and Alps Electric together supply the vast majority of PC trackpads, and I've got no problem calling them out for poor quality. Why worry about performance when you've got a duopoly and your customers are OEMs who only care about price?

This track pad probably runs on the same tech as the iPhone (multi touch capacitive glass interface), so this comparison is probably relevant: http://mobiler.co.za/smartphones/3308.html

If average PC track pads are as good as the average non-iPhone touch sensitive screens (yes, a fuzzy comparison, but probably the right ball park), then you'd expect the Apple ones to be better.

A better version of the test, and straight from the source:


Sorry, lazy googling.

I agree; every PC trackpad (even standalone, expensive ones) were, at best, tolerable. Once there are some display models out in the wild, I'll have to check it out.

Thank you for the informative reply.

I have a macbook as well as an EeePC running ubuntu. I can say with absolute confidence that the EeePC trackpad is garbage -- laggy, imprecise, slow, no multitouch. It's amazing how well Apple can innovate on something as simple as a trackpad.

I've got a $100 Wacom tablet that doubles as a multitouch trackpad. Even though it is far larger than any of Apple's trackpads, it is still much less useful as a trackpad because the lower accuracy makes the multitouch gestures too unreliable to become natural. On my MacBook Pro, I use jitouch to expand the repertoire of gestures to more than a dozen that I use regularly. On the Wacom Bamboo, I seldom bother with anything other than two-finger scrolling, and I doubt that it has the accuracy to support the range of gestures that jitouch has. (Although much of this could be due to the drivers.)

Its not precision so much as the increased usability of the multi-touch. With multi-touch I feel the trackpad is every bit as usable as a mouse (Note - I don't play video games)

I have 2 laptops - one mac and one windows both with trackpads. On the windows laptop I still use an external mouse.

Just one example: let's say you want to save an image from a web page to your desktop. With the Apple's trackpad, you can start to drag the image, holding it with your thumb on the bottom of the trackpad, four-finger swipe-up to show the desktop, move the image to where you need it, and release your thumb to drop. Four-finger swipe again to bring back your browser.

For me the big advantage of Apple's trackpads is their size. More surface area equals less finger repositioning and more reasonable tracking/acceleration speeds. I bought a Waccom Bamboo, wired not wireless, for $99 so I don't think Apple's $70 price tag is unreasonable.

I fail to see the advantage (swipe, swipe, swipe, press) has over (move, press). Not to mention that trackpads are fairly sensitive to sweaty fingers. Do people really rely on multitouch gestures that much?

Frankly, I don't get it. Trackpads are vastly inferior to mice. I bring a mouse with my macbook whenever I can.

Using two fingers to scroll has become so natural to me that if I use a non-Apple trackpad I'm momentarily bewildered why it doesn't work.

I was mindlessly scrolling with two fingers as I was reading your post :)

I also love the 3 finger navigation in web browser. I remember in the old days I would right click the page and select the "back" option so that I didn't actually have to do much movement.

Likewise. Also heavily use the four finger swipes (for Expose, and switching between apps). At work I have a keyboard and mouse, but when I want to rotate something, I end up using the trackpad. Can't wait to get this one.

> I fail to see the advantage (swipe, swipe, swipe, press) has over (move, press)

Turn up your trackpad's sensitivity.

Also, if you have a keyboard driven workflow, a trackpad means shorter travel from the keyboard to the mouse.

> Also, if you have a keyboard driven workflow, a trackpad means shorter travel from the keyboard to the mouse.

(cough) Trackpoint (cough)

I can reach any point on the screen with one swipe. I will need at most two if I want to be really precise.

(It’s something you have to get used to, though. When all I had was a desktop I didn’t think I could ever use anything else but a mouse. After I got my ThinkPad I thought I could never manage without a track point. And right now I like my trackpad on my MBP best and would never rather use a mouse [exception: gaming]. Oh, and then there’s the two finger scrolling. Damn precise, better than any mouse wheel I ever used.)

I'll second that. I actually find using a desktop computer with a separated mouse and keyboard to be uncomfortable as compared to the MBP with the big, multitouch trackpad.

I can't get my head around how Apple manages to come out with products that are cool enough they could come from a startup with some very motivated founders working day and night.

Almost all other companies with >100 employees are turning out mostly crappy products that no one gets excited about. When's the last time you talked about a Xerox printer or HP laptop? In my mind this is why a company like Nokia can't make a comeback into the smartphone market: they're probably unable to motivate a small team and then let them work out a cool product. Or they can't amortize away the risk of that team being on the wrong track, the way most startups are.

Apple can consistently pull this off, how do they do it?

Because people will buy their products on faith, where a startup would just be ignored. Belkin could release this exact same thing and it would be mocked.

Apple's multitouch technology comes from a startup called Fingerworks that Apple bought years back. Fingerworks trackpads were so well liked that they're still selling on eBay for hundreds of dollars.

The difference between Belkin and Apple is that Belkin has a history of mediocrity, while Apple does not. Apple earned their enormous reservoir of good will through years of great products.

Well fine, replace belkin with fingerworks. How many people have even heard of their trackpad?

Apple has the power to move something out of a niche market.

But Belkin couldn't release this exact same thing. They don't have the right people. There's a single person at the top of Apple that all products go through. If Steve doesn't love it, it doesn't get made, and Steve has good taste.

I'm not trying to idolize the guy, it's just how the company works (internally, and in the market).

belkin might make something that could look the same, but it wouldn't work the same. hence, the mocking.

Belkin is commodity hardware already. I would put Belkin along with Rosewill in the same bucket, only Rosewill products are half the price and much higher quality.

Belkin could release this exact same thing and it would break after two weeks.

It always startles me a little when a brand I used to trust blindly has been relegated to garbage status. Happened to me with Belkin and LaCie.

"We are the biggest startup on the planet." --Steve Jobs (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20006526-56.html)

In this case, the answer is that Apple didn't come up with the idea. A startup (FingerWorks) invented multitouch trackpads and sold them. They were originally marketed as an alternative mouse technology for people suffering from RSI. They were rather expensive at the time (~$130), which is probably why they didn't have much mass market appeal originally.

Apple bought FingerWorks to get the patents. The "new" trackpad from Apple is essentially a reimplementation of the iGesture pad with some modifications. Specifically, it's now cordless, there have been some cosmetic changes (color and shape), and they've made some changes in the mapping of gestures to operations and added some new gestures that weren't in the original product.

Look at the number of products the companies you mention have.

Apple devote their attention to products - and update them when they please.

They don't have to "keep up" with anyone else either, which applies especially in the Windows laptop market.

Benevolent dictatorship.

I actually think combining the Magic Mouse with Better Touch Tool (http://blog.boastr.net/?page_id=1722) is a better solution. I use the trackpad on my Macbook because it's more convenient than using a mouse when I'm on the go. In the office I prefer a mouse for precision, but I also want multi-touch gestures, and with Better Touch Tool I can pretty much customize my Magic Mouse any way I want to, which actually lends more credence to the hyperbole "Magic."

I have mine set up to move from tab to tab on two-finger swipes to the left and right, refresh the page with a three-fingered swipe up, close the tab with a three-finger swipe down, and two fingers up and down will activate expose and spaces respectively. There are a lot more gestures available to customize as well, I'm irritated Apple doesn't allow you that level of customization out of the box.

So with all that said, I think the track pad doesn't add much value, at least for me. My advice is to get the Magic Mouse, unless you actually hate it as a mouse (which some people do).

Finally some of the stuff from fingerworks starts to surface as add-ons products for desktops. I've been wanting something to replace my long dead fingerworks keyboard, so I for one am happy.

Now... if only there were drivers for something other than just OSX.

I would replace my mouse at work with this in a heartbeat, but I'm a .net developer by day and need those windows drivers. (I use an MBP at home)

I think they're missing a huge opportunity here by not providing those drivers.

Obviously an opportunity they have decided they don't care about, I just wish they did.

Windows drivers will probably be included in a future Boot Camp update.

Drivers for the magic mouse were released so you could use it on bootcamp, maybe they're not that far in the pipeline.

Are those "fully functional"? Do they allow gestures? Even just having two-finger horizontal (well, 360-degree) scrolling would be great.

Maybe if enough people ask? Or the product is generally popular enough?

The iPod and the iPhone are only so popular because they embraced PC in all its ... glory. Hopefully they're already working on this.

Given Windows is suggested as an option on their machines, maybe they will write a driver. Either way I'm sure someone will write one for Linux.

The iPod didn't support Windows when it was released. Maybe Apple are doing the same thing here; I'm sure by not supporting Windows, they're able to get a better product out much quicker.

Fair point. It would be nice if they would at least commit to bringing Windows support in the future.

I can't imagine this would affect actual sales though, just another of example of when Apple's secrecy can be irritating for some of us.

For Apple to commit to anything in advance, let alone Windows support for a brand-new peripheral, would be evidence of takeover by pod people, and thus not nice at all.

Windows support for the original iPod arrived two years later.

Again, they were testing the market with the true believers. The music industry viewed the 2-3 million mac users back then as a nice microcosm they could experiment on. If it failed, it wouldn't get much press because back then nobody used macs.

Some of us still use our FingerWorks TouchStream keyboards :-)

(and keep two spares, in case the main one ever breaks)

That's where I failed... why on earth didn't I buy a second? Oh yes, the price. Which is also why I don't pick up one off of eBay, they're incredible nowadays with some going for an easy £600 or more. For that price I'd rather buy a great monitor.

And some of us got to play in the original figerworks lab...

Looks like they're bringing out their version of the iGesture pad: http://www.amazon.com/Fingerworks-IGESTURENUMPAD-iGesture-Pa.... Apple acquired Fingerworks in 2005, which is how they got the multitouch technology used in iPhones, MacBooks, and now the Magic Trackpad.

The thing I'm wondering: My iGesture pad still works, and still has way more gestures than the Trackpad. For example - twisting clockwise with four fingers is "close" (it presses command-w for you), which is pretty natural. Will the Magic Trackpad be able to handle this with software updates, or will we have to hack it to do the things its predecessor could do 5 years ago?

Also, be sure to check out all of the crazy multitouch products Fingerworks had before they were acquired. My favorite was the insane keyboard at the bottom of http://fingerworks.com/.

I've owned http://www.fingerworks.com/igesture_tech.html for around 5 years. SOLID product. I'm glad I got one before they were acquired. It's definitely saved my mousing hand. And has way more features than Apple's product. Still, the iGesture cost me around $400 here in Canada. So to get something even close for $70, isn't bad.

I'm amazed that Apple seems so set on the AA battery format for desk peripherals that it is releasing a AA battery charger with the trackpad. I don't find AA objectionable, but Apple's marketing regarding removable batteries centers around "we can pack more battery in by eliminating the packaging."

My guess is that it has to do with the battery losing its ability to hold charge with time. It makes sense to engineer a massive new battery for the iPhone or Macbook, but these peripherals don't have the same volume or margin cushion to absorb the cost, hence off the shelf battery technology.

Also, I think most people expect to change out a computer every couple years, but a mouse is supposed to last longer. If the thing became incapable of holding charge after 18 months it would get customers riled.

After using a Magic Mouse for 6 months, I can say the rechargeable battery station is a must buy, I have to change my MM batteries every 3 weeks or so.

Having used both, I am disappointed with the longer lifespan of disposable batteries. I hate throwing them away, but with my usage they can last almost twice as long. On the other hand, I might mind less if I had a better charging configuration.

You can buy hight quality batteries that last long more than alcalines. I use varta +2100mAh.

When mouse/trackpad dies, you don't want to stop working for 2 hours until internal battery charges.

AA batteries are cheap and common, so people will have spares to swap.

OTOH laptop batteries are much more expensive and non-standard, so less users are going to have spares. It makes sense to cater to majority of users who never buy & carry extra battery.

You also don't want the irony of having to plug in your "wireless" keyboard via USB to charge it, not unlike the PS3 controller.

Maybe I'm an idiot but I didn't realize the PS3 controller was wireless in the first place. It felt too light to have a battery in it.

Haven't Apple wireless peripherals always used AA batteries? I don't know where your quote comes from.

I actually think that they released an AA battery charger because of the retail stores. After the Apple staff ring up a person for a keyboard and mouse, they can easily make the suggestion to purchase their rechargeable batteries.

The performance for rechargeables vary quite a bit as well. Apple might be trying to control the all parts of the experience by providing good rechargeables.

Yeah, I was wondering about that too. Maybe they figure that making a battery charger is with AA batteries, in these cases, better than putting any sort of power input on the otherwise sleek device? An iPad or iPhone needs inputs on it to begin with, but solely bluetooth peripherals don't.

I really like how Logitech solves this problem with their Performance MX mouse. It takes a AA battery and includes a rechargeable AA battery.

When the mouse's battery runs low, you just connect the (included) micro-USB cable. The mouse recharges and can be used at the same time, albeit tethered. Once's it's charged, put the cable away and keep on working.

People complain when Apple makes non-user serviceable batteries, so they can never really win can they?

It's not a pocket portable so let's not get all hung up on saving space for packaging. It doesn't work that way with a Mac Pro either, why is there so much spaaaace in there?

There are so many chargeable AA's on the market that it's simple for someone to get a set of them cheaply and reuse them for a long time without having to dock their trackpad all the time. Wireless!

I already have something like 8-10 of them because I have a wii and a digital camera etc etc etc so I'm happy that I won't have to pay for a new battery in 2-3 years.


I don't think Steve know this has removable batteries ;)

As a lefty this would be awesome.

{Magic Trackpad}{Keyboard}{Mouse}

Ultimate productivity!

this is an awesome idea.

I'm able to use both hands equally well (though I might be hinging a tad bit to prefer the left hand). This could mean that I can alternate my pointing hand here and then

And that would be the last of Doug Engelbart's inventions to succeed in the market: http://www.cedmagic.com/history/first-computer-mouse.html

This mirrors my macbook setup [which I enjoy pretty much] with the external monitor: [mouse][keyobard][macbook trackpad] :-)

What I want just a bit more than this: an iPad app that emulates the Trackpad and does just a bit more.

For starters, a command-key could reconfigure it into a numeric keypad. Then incorporate custom per-app controls. (There are already iPad apps that do this.)

Such an iPad app would have the promise of the Optimus OLED keyboard. It would be much better, since high fabrication costs wouldn't be a barrier. It would have the potential to be a game-changer in terms of PC productivity.

Imagine integration with Eclipse for such a device. For example, when you execute your app in debug mode, it could configure itself as a debug remote. When you switch to an editor window, it could display editor macros and shortcuts.

Alternative: a 5" or 7" multitouch LCD device with a similar form factor to the Trackpad that doubles as a universal remote.

It's not exactly what you described, but close:


I have the iPhone version, and it's pretty slick even with the wifi in between. That said, I'm still a bit miffed they didn't make it a universal app. :\

There's an app for Android that has some of that functionality called Gmote. It controls VLC quite well and allows you to browse your computer for movies and music to play, although I don't believe it has the extensibility that you mention.


You don't have to look at a trackpad to use it.

I think that putting screens on trackpads, keyboards, or remotes (you use them to control other screens) is a horrible idea.

You don't have to look at a trackpad to use it.

Looking is optional for the device I described. You'd only have to look in moments of managing greater complexity, which is the correct time.

I think that putting screens on trackpads, keyboards, or remotes (you use them to control other screens) is a horrible idea.

For a DVR, the second screen is very useful. You get context-driven visual feedback without impinging on the video content in the main screen. Someone could check on a game or look up a related Wikipedia entry without interrupting everyone else's viewing. Someone could queue the next YouTube bit without the same.

Is there any chance of this pairing with a non-Apple desktop? I'd dearly love to join in the multitouch trackpad fun, but my main workstations are Ubuntu.

There's been some work on writing multitouch drivers for Linux: http://lii-enac.fr/en/projects/shareit/linux.html

It's a bit of effort because it requires new functionality throughout the software stack, from the low-level kernel drivers to higher-level X hooks, and ideally in the future, hooks in UI toolkits to do more application-level things with gestures.

Does anyone know if this will have some sort of way to trigger a "middle click", like when one clicks on the scroll wheel? As far as I've seen with Apple mice, they've never had support for middle click.

Mighty mouse had middle click support; you just click with your finger on the scrolling ball. Not great but you could program what to do with this button.

Unfortunately the Macbook trackpad doesn't have middle click natively. However, with BetterTouchTool you can assign commands for 2, 3, 4, and even 5 finger clicks. For five finger click you have to include the thumb. This means that clicking the trackpad with your thumb while a single finger is on it is a 2 finger click, which I prefer to be a regular left click. These are all settings you can control.

Anyway, BetterTouchTool lets you configure a whole bunch of different actions (clicking or swiping in different parts of the pad with a different number of fingers) to activate a whole bunch of commands.

The older Mighty Mouse could be configured to do this by defining the scroll wheel Button 3 under Mouse in System Preferences.

Magicprefs will do this for you. It's free and works well most of the time. It actually has a bunch of settings you can change and tweak. One of those settings is a middle click and it allows you to change the hit zone so you can make the middle click really large or small depending on what you want.

Someone mentioned above jitouch which handles the mm trackpad and the magic pad. I haven't tried it but it looks interesting. Not free though.

Edit: I just tried out jitouch and it works with magicprefs as much as I use it for. I only use magicprefs for the middle click function and the tracking speed. I really like the tap to switch tabs. It's a well made application and only 6 bucks. I think I am going to permanently use it now.

The Magic Mouse supports a three-finger click, which is interpreted as a middle click.

Uhh, no it doesn't. At least not without third party software.

Fair enough. The Magic Mouse hardware supports a three-finger click, and any of the various inexpensive third-party packages like jitouch et al make the Magic Mouse a viable input device.

No middle click irked me for a while, but the two-finger tap, followed by a quick movement and single finger tap can be so quick and natural I don't notice this anymore.

Please Apple, gain the cut, copy, and paste (and other gestures) on the trackpad that you bought from FingerWorks. Freaking genius.

You can get 3rd party tools to configure this if you want. Use something like BetterTouchTool if you want to configure a gesture to fire up GMail. Right now I have a 3-finger swipe up for copy, and 3-finger swipe down for paste. I also have a 4-finger gesture for switching between tabs in google chrome.

However, I think there's probably a limit on how many gestures you can keep in your head, it's a lot easier remembering keyboard shortcuts than gestures. I can probably only keep track of five different gestures per app, but I'm sure I can probably recall at least 20 different keyboard combos when I use a tool like emacs.

I have some doubts that this will be comfortable to use for hours at a time. The Magic Mouse is bad on the wrists because of it's low profile. I have to wonder if the same will happen here. I suppose a bit of experience with using it is what it will take.

I use a bean bag under my wrist when I use the Wacom touch pad. Works great.

Hmm. Maybe for my Mac Mini in my entertainment center, but I much prefer a trackball at the desk.

No doubt BetterTouchTool will be updated to support this, making it far more useful: http://blog.boastr.net/

Yeah, I could see using it for my Mac Mini, I just wish you could somehow attach it to the wireless keyboard. Having two separate devices on your lap doesn't really work...

For wireless peripherals, non-charging AA batteries are a better choice than any charging dock or solution.

Why spend every day docking/undock the thing (or charging the batteries when they die) when I can slip new batteries in once every 6 months?

If you have a digital camera of some sort then you're probably already accustomed to charging batteries anyway. I think recharging batteries is less messy than buying new ones each time. You have to stock them ahead of time (storage area), and remember to restock after resupplying your device (which you'll probably forget). Don't forget that each time you have to access new batteries you'll need to fight with those plastic containers and chances are you won't have scissors on you, use knife instead and kill or wound yourself in the process.

Also, environment.

I'm inclined to agree with you regarding devices that you take outside the house, like a digital camera. My comment was more about desktop peripherals. To address your points:

1) A 24 pack of AA batteries somewhere near your desk should last over a year, and you should have storage area somewhere to accommodate it.

2) AA batteries generally come in easy-to-rip cardboard packs, so no fighting with the container and hurting yourself.

3) The environment argument could fall either way; I suspect neither of us has seen definitive research regarding the total environmental cost of disposable vs. rechargeable batteries.

For devices that you keep at home any kind of batteries are really just a workaround for actual wireless electricity. Anyway my point is that most people that buy wireless trackpads probably already own power-sucking devices like digital cameras and so have invested, and are accustomed, to charging their batteries. In this case keeping additional non-rechargeable batteries wouldn't provide any benefits and would only add to confusion, as you have to be careful not to mix them.

If you are not already enslaved to your digital camera's power inefficiency then perhaps buying brand new batteries might be more comfortable.

In regard to environment your 24 pack of AAs wouldn't probably have any significant difference whatsoever and you won't live long enough to observe any. The impression, though, that rechargeable batteries are more environmental friendly will provide you with nice dopamine boost each time your device needs resupplying.

I wonder:

* If it will be Inkwell compatible someday if not now: http://www.apple.com/accessibility/macosx/physical.html

* If it will BT pair with iPhone like the BT keyboard.

No, just like the existing trackpads on the MacBook Pro, it's not Inkwell compatible.

And No, since you can't pair a bluetooth mouse with the iPhone, you also won't be able to pair a trackpad.

next step is to make a one giant trackpad with keys printed on top of it. os if you touch it its a key press and if you drag it its a mouse movement. now only need to figure out how to mouse click ;)

Fingerworks had a keyboard exactly like that, many years ago:


They got bought by Apple for their multi-touch experience.

The idea is solid in theory, but in practice I would not use it. Without tactile feedback it just feels weird and imprecise, and I can't help but look at the keyboardto make sure I press the right keys even on the ultralight keyboards that still have seperate buttons.

And get the BlindType guys to make the software. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9b8NlMd79w&feature=playe... Make sure to check out the stuff at 2mins in.

That is actually a sweet idea... and it could easily be handled with modes like vim. If someone builds one I will buy it.

I've been waiting years for this. YAY.

I was wondering when Apple would get around to doing that. I want Apple's version of this - http://www.google.com/products/catalog?&cid=102343875510... - Keyboard + trackpoint/pad, and make an external usb keyboard out of it.

I'd really like it if two of these would play nice with other. I could see doubling up with one on each side of my keyboard. (Been thinking about this for a while.) I know little to nothing about hardware (UX/marketing guy) does any one more knowledgeable consider this use of the driver probable as built in functionality?

Does anybody know the dimensions of this trackpad? I've been looking for a way to accomplish something like the image below with 2-finger scrolling (either above or below the thumbkeys) on my Kinesis Advantage:


I love this idea, but how come they couldn't include this functionality into the Magic Mouse too? (Maybe next version?)

How are Apple trackpads in terms of ergonomics? When I first started using a laptop 5 years back, I found myself feeling massive pain in my wrists as a result of using the touchpad. To this day, I find a mouse far more comfortable to use; however, I haven't had much of a chance to try out the touchpad on Macs.

Engadget review:


"It feels just like using a slightly larger version of a MacBook or MacBook Pro pad. And we mean exactly, right down to the multitouch gestures and whole-pad click."

Now that all macs can take advantage of gestures, I wonder when Apple will include some of the iOS inertial scrolling to OS X. It's such a simple change that (for me) makes a big difference in functionality. I was happy to see inertial scrolling added to Google Maps not too long ago.

The magic mouse has that type of scrolling as a setting you can enable.

I've been waiting for this since the rumors first started surfacing. As someone who uses a $100+ Kensington trackball, this is a bargain.

If anyone has information on Windows 7 drivers for the Magic Mouse (whichare presumably the same), let us know!

Otherwise I'll have to write them myself. :)

Can it track eleven points of contact like MacBooks?


They did say it was the exact same touchpad, just bigger... so very likely.

If you use BetterTouchTool or MagicPrefs with your Magic Mouse you can get all those touch features in your mouse, that is definitely better when it comes to move a cursor.

I think it's a matter of preference. I've been saying how much I wanted to ditch my mouse for a desktop version of the MBP trackpad since I got my laptop.

Here Here. I used to hate trackpads, so much so that I only ever used laptops with "nipples" (see ThinkPad).

The MacBook with two-finger scroll was revolutionary for me, and I've never seen any manufacturer beat that pad.

Well, any other manufacturer. The glass trackpad on my MBP is something else, and this is just a bigger version of that. Awesome.

Apple are unbelievably ahead of the curve on this, I'm not quite sure why the other manufacturers are failing so badly. The trackpad on my HP workstations are as-good-as unusable in comparison. I always have to use a mouse.

I dont know, it just seems weird to be positioned on the right (where the mouse is)... well, won't know till i try it~

Just because nobody's really done it before... it does seem weird - especially if you want to use a mouse.

- It's cordless - you can put it on the left or right or anywhere else. - You don't strictly need a mouse.

- I remember thinking the touch-surface on the magic moues was silly -but now I miss it when Idon't have it... and I actually suspect (won't know until I try) that the increased size of the new touchpad will be an important factor - you'll essentially be able to use a finger like a mouse on a pad - without needing to necessarily resposition very much - giving you veyr mouse-like behavior.

I agree with you. It looks handy but dont know till I give it a go and see how useful it actually is.

How do you right-click?

If its like the laptops you press down with 2 fingers at once.

On the newer MBPs you can assign the bottom right corner to right clicks (or just use the two finger tap method mentioned by others, which feels quite natural). I assume that’s possible with this device, too.

On my MBP you can set it up to to right-click with a two fingered tap, I imagine this is the same. Otherwise I think you have to hold down command and click or something like that

Two-finger tap.

On the Macbooks and Macbook Pros you just click in the bottom right corner (the whole thing is a button).

10/GUI just became a little more possible today.

I've got a MBP hooked up to an external monitor, and I find myself using the four-finger upward-swipe to show my desktop.

That's about it.

One word: Finally.

This is a great idea, it's one of the reasons I wasn't prepared to get a desktop over a laptop (besides the obvious portability).

I think in the future there will be more integration of something like the iPad or the iPhone as direct interface to the computer.

Now Apple just needs to incorporate this into the "iPad Keyboard Dock" and I'll be more than happy to buy!

How would that work? There's no cursor for it to control on the iPad.

It could work. They could add a simulator-esque cursor without too much technical trouble.

That said, it shouldn't. Why would anyone prefer indirect manipulation of a cursor over direct manipulation of the screen elements? If you've got an iPad in a keyboard dock, you're primarily writing and occasionally navigating. I don't see the use case.

Gorilla-arm would only set in if you were primarily navigating, in which case you'd just undock the thing.

I read this and thought this was a joke.


So, does the bluetooth disconnect when you accidentally touch the bottom left side with your thumb?

This looks like a nice product and I do really love the multitouch pad on the MacBooks, but I'm so sick of Apple calling everything "Magic" and "Revolutionary".

It should have been a mouse pad you can touch. Probably with a different design for mouse (you just need a metal point instead of trackball/optics).

You can use your finger....

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