Connect with us


No, seriously, the Magic Trackpad isn’t killing the mouse



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.



  1. Nameless

    07/29/2010 at 2:38 pm

    “First, Apple introduced two-finger scrolling on their Macbook trackpads FOUR years ago.”

    Incorrect. Try FIVE years ago with the last Aluminum PowerBook G4 and iBook G4 models. The latter is how I discovered it. (Using two fingers to make the one mouse button Ctrl-click wouldn’t come ’til the MacBook, though, which is also another useful feature.)

    Anyway, the mouse as we know it will not die. I’m certainly not giving up my Logitech G500 without a fight. And, yes, my choice of mouse leads EXACTLY to what you’re thinking-PC gaming, especially FPSs. Do these pundits seriously expect us to play such games WITHOUT the accuracy and loads of physical buttons of a good mouse? I don’t think so.

  2. Dave_in_MI

    07/29/2010 at 5:33 pm

    I’ve been debating whether my next new computer would be a power desktop or a higher-end ($1800ish) tablet-pc. My latest mad scheme is to build the power desktop and get one of these new slates (preferably with the pen/digitizer and a cost under $800) and synch it with the desktop as my input device (digital keyboard, pen, multi-touch). Best of both worlds.

  3. GTaylor

    07/30/2010 at 6:14 am

    Yawn. More desk clutter, more blog clutter, more distraction form what people really need.
    Needed: Computers that work well and easily in the human environment. Perfect customer service. Seamless always-on back ups with syncing across all of my hardware. Screens and devices built for the way people use them and work in real life. Software ownership modularized and online, again designed for cross platform functionality, written for the way people work.
    Most of this currently exists and is currently available, spread by marketing departments across a multilevel fractured marketplace, purposely incompatible with anything else.

  4. acerbic

    07/31/2010 at 3:07 am

    It’s actually called Tragic Macpad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.