Yesterday, I offered my take on the notion that Apple’s Magic Trackpad will kill the mouse. Basically, I’d appreciate that, but, no, it won’t. Today, Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo proclaims the MT heralds the death of the mouse. Seriously? Even my three cats don’t serve dead mouse stories to me this often.
In his review of the trackpad, Diaz explains:
So if Apple’s Magic Trackpad is not really that good, why would does it mean the beginning of the end of Mac OS X as we know it? Because this is Steve and Co. way of telling us that the future is multitouch, and the mouse is death.
Presumably by “death” he meant “dead” (unless it’s a cryptic warning that the mouse coming to claim our souls), but typos aside, his point is that Apple has signaled the end of mouse control and the beginning of multi-touch with the introduction of the Magic Trackpad. As before, I like the sentiment, but no, it doesn’t.
First, Apple introduced two-finger scrolling on their Macbook trackpads FOUR years ago. More than two years ago they rolled out a larger trackpad with greater multi-touch gesture support on the Macbook Air and quickly expanded it to their entire Macbook family. Expanding multi-touch trackpad functionality to their desktop line is simply the next logical step in that progression, one I had been anticipating for almost three years. Even if I agreed standalone multi-touch trackpads will lead to the end of the mouse era, we’re way past the beginning at this point.
Look, I get that the Magic Trackpad is a cool device. In fact, if its cardinal directions could be switched so I could hold it by the battery end in my left hand and control with my right, I would enjoy having one to control my Windows Media Center. But ultimately, it’s just a standalone version of something Apple and others have been offering for years. It’s a good step forward, and I really appreciate the progress, but it’s progress on a pre-established path, not a whole new direction.
That said, I’ve been waiting for Microsoft to add multi-touch controllers to their line of peripherals or for Wacom to release a Bluetooth version of their Bamboo tablet. I really could use a multi-touch trackpad designed for media control. If high sales of the Magic Trackpad will spur MS and Wacom to get that done, then I hope every Mac user buys one.