Whilst the reviews of the Apple Magic Multi-Touch Trackpad, which are rapidly circulating the web, predominantly concur with Apple’s assertions that the Magic Trackpad’s responsive multi-touch gestures work as smoothly as they do on the MacBook, the evaluations are not wholly complimentary.
The recurring ailments of the Magic Trackpad are that the clickable buttons at the corners do not work particularly well and software customization is limited. PC Advisor were quick to lament the lack of 3rd party support out of the box – utilities such as MagicPrefs, BetterTouchTool, Inklet, or Jitouch are not yet compatible with the Magic Trackpad. The price is another concurrent criticism, with most analysts being of the opinion that, at $69 – which some how translates into £59 for us poor folk in the UK, the Apple Magic Trackpad is not worth the upgrade from a traditional mouse. Ars Technica express this best with;
The only other issue is price: for $70, is it worth replacing your mouse over? For many users, the answer is no, and it’s hard to argue. After all, you probably already have an input device that you like, and it’s likely more precise than the Magic Trackpad.
Minimalism is another well-cited aspect of Apple’s latest venture. In keeping with Apple’s usual minimalist style, which is the same sculptured aluminum design as the Apple Wireless Keyboard, the Magic Trackpad offers little in regards to logos, icons or buttons. This devout simplicity and plainness, according to CNET’s review, may be off-putting for some users. Although for others, the Trackpad’s unfussiness is its appeal, with its great ergonomics, low profile and easy setup, being elatedly highlighted. The fact that the device uses Bluetooth technology, so users are not dictated by yards of cable over its position, is another well-revered plus point of the Magic Trackpad.
Whilst the approvals for the Magic Trackpad are coming in thick and fast, with the likes of Gizmodo thinking the device marks ‘the beginning of the end for the Mac OSX’, the downsides are also surfacing quickly. The consensual negative view being that the Magic Trackpad is pricey, relatively limited in its software customization capabilities, and as it is essentially ‘one big glass button’, can seem a little too Spartan for some.
Engadget refreshingly cut through the hype in their typical caustic manner, stating:
There isn’t anything truly magical, revolutionary, or groundbreaking about the Magic Trackpad. It’s not the first of its kind, and it doesn’t turn our current computing paradigms on their ear.
Having said that, they do admit that the Magic trackpad is an “excellent device” albeit a niche product for a niche user.
In conclusion, the majority of reports seem to agree that, despite its starkness, the Apple Magic Multi-Touch Trackpad is fun to use and, similar to the Multi-Touch trackpad on the MacBook, there is almost no learning curve required for this device – a refreshing contrast to Apple’s Magic Mouse, which takes some getting used to. Although we’ve got to hand it to Apple, as the company’s proficiency in combining innovation with simplicity, is yet again resulting in pens scribbling, people pondering and pulses racing.