Apple Magic Trackpad review
We’ve all had moments where we’ve wished our laptop touchpad was a bit more spacious, but this is taking it to extremes. After the Magic Mouse, which awkwardly added multitouch features to the surface of a mouse, comes… a giant Bluetooth touchpad? Surely even Apple can’t shift this in numbers.
It’s called the Magic Trackpad, and it does everything a MacBook touchpad can do. So it supports the full four-finger swipe, two-finger rotation and zooming, and every other gesture and combination in between. Measuring 6.5in diagonally it has all the space you could ask for and, again like the MacBook, the whole thing acts as a clickable button.
You might think its portable nature would free you from the limitations of a laptop, but it has its quirks. The design means the clickpad hinges from the rear, so to click properly the Magic Trackpad has to be on a firm, flat surface. If you were expecting to use it from the sofa, you’ll need to change the settings to tap-to-click mode.
Setup is also a bit of a faff, requiring Mac OS X 10.6.4 – not a problem for iMac owners who keep up to date, but an annoying update for us occasional dabblers – as well as a hefty 75MB+ trackpad software update. We were eventually up and running after nearly an hour of downloading, which is faintly ludicrous for the installation of what is little more than a Bluetooth mouse.
Still, when it works, it works. Inertial scrolling is a great addition to web browsing, one flick keeping the page scrolling past the release of the finger. And if you’re a dab hand in Photoshop on your MacBook, it will feel like Steve Jobs has answered all your prayers. For the rest of us, it’s a slightly odd idea. It’s designed to fit snugly next to your Bluetooth Apple keyboard, ideally paired with an iMac, yet we can’t seriously see it as replacement for a mouse for daily desktop tasks.
As an occasional timesaver or a graphics tool it has some appeal, but if we had any slight temptation to buy one purely for novelty value, the £59 inc VAT price tag kills it stone dead. If Microsoft released a trackpad and tried to charge more than the cost of a good-quality keyboard for it, Apple fans would laugh it out of town. Yet Apple does the same and expects to sell millions. For once, it might just struggle.