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6 Takes On Apple's Magic Trackpad

Illustration for article titled 6 Takes On Apples Magic Trackpad

We think Apple's Magic Trackpad marks the beginning of the end for Mac OS X. Other reviewers of the Magic Trackpad touched on other subjects. Here are the highlights of what they said.

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Ars Technica thought the Magic Trackpad matched perfectly with Apple's Wireless Keyboard:

There's not much in the box besides the trackpad and a manual. The enclosure is made of aluminum with a thin layer of glass on the tracking surface, though you wouldn't know it from the touch. The Magic Trackpad is designed to mirror the functionality and feel of the trackpads built into Apple's MacBook Pros, but to look like a partner to Apple's Wireless Keyboard. The top and bottom align with the keyboard perfectly, and they match each other aesthetically.

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Slash Gear discovered some new options in the Trackpad's settings:

Thanks to the new settings pane, however, you can selectively shut off certain gestures if you don't use them, adjust tracking, double-click and scrolling speed (including optional inertia), and change the behavior of three-finger use. Rather than flipping pages, you can set it to drag windows around the screen (a new software update adds the same optional functionality to MacBook trackpads).

CNET found the Magic Trackpad offered limited multitouch for Windows:

Though the wording on the box claims a Mac is necessary, we successfully paired the Magic Trackpad with a Windows PC. Unfortunately, Windows functionality is limited to single-touch and click functions only—we couldn't get multitouch settings such as pinch-to-zoom and tap-to-click to work on the Magic Trackpad. A Windows support download from Apple wouldn't install on a Windows PC, and is intended for Boot Camp users running Windows on their Macs.

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MacWorld didn't think you could use the Magic Trackpad on your lap:

One place the Magic Trackpad doesn't sit especially well is on your lap with a keyboard. If you're using Apple's Wireless Keyboard with, say, a Mac mini in your home entertainment system, you'll likely wish for a version of the keyboard with the trackpad permanently attached. I suspect it won't be long before an enterprising third party announces a convenient tray that holds the Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad together.

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Engadget managed to make the trackpad register 10 touch points and touched on its usefulness as a HTPC remote:

As you would expect, the trackpad is multitouch and responds to gestures using up to four fingers, though the trackpad registered far more touch points in my testing, even up to all ten of my fingers (tested using the third party Better Touch Tool)...One of the best uses I found for the Magic Trackpad was as a control surface for my HTPC setup. Normally I use something called Air Mouse on my iPhone to control the Mac Mini I have connected to my TV — but the Magic Trackpad did excellent stand-in work for it during my testing.

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PC Mag wanted to see it offered with the new iMacs:

Too bad you can't replace the Magic Mouse with the Magic Trackpad in an order for a new iMac, seeing that they cost the same.

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DISCUSSION

Why do some people have to slam everything that Apple makes? Who cares what marketing term they used to name the device? Every company makes up terms that don't really apply to their product. Do you the think the Ford Fusion is really a fusion powered vehicle? And what's with this fixation on the mouse as the perfect input device for a computer? There's this thing called progress. If you don't buy that, I have a monochrome CRT in the garage for you. Maybe all you gamers should ask why you need shiny hi-res 3-D graphics when awesome games used to be designed with ASCII. And finally, if you think trackpads are crap, it's likely that you've only used them in the Windows world. Like some other posters pointed out, Apple has done a great job making mutli-touch feel "natural".

So maybe this device isn't for you. It probably isn't going to be a good game controller, but that's not who they are making if for. They are making it for the people that love multi-touch trackpads on their MacBooks and want the same experience on a desktop Mac. Or for the Mac based HTPC crowd that doesn't want to be tethered to the machine 8 feet away in the entertainment center. Bottom line - if you don't like it, don't buy it. Just don't bitch about it. My guess is they are going to sell a few thousand truckloads without you.