MacMost Now 431: Magic Trackpad

Take a look at Apple's new Magic Trackpad. This stand-alone wireless device replaces a mouse and gives your desktop Mac a multi-touch interface like newer MacBooks.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 431: Magic Trackpad.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's take a look on the new Magic tTrackpad. So, here I got the new magic trackpad from Apple. This is basically a mouse replacement, and acts just like a trackpad on a MacBook Pro. It's pretty much the same shape as the Apple wireless keyboard or the standard Apple USB keyboard. It's got the battery compartment in the back, what gives an angle when sitting on your desk. In fact, you can put right next to the current wireless keyboard, and it fits right in. Almost makes it looks like one device. It's a pretty large surface, larger than what you have on a MacBook, at least the smaller MacBooks. You can use the entire thing, and use multi-touch gestures just as you can in a MacBook trackpad. In addition, the entire thing is a button, it's not just you tap on the pad like old trackpads did, but actually the presses slightly is makes a nice click that you can feel, and hear. You can also use it for a right click or second mouse button by clicking the two fingers, or clicking in a certain area of the trackpad. For a lot of settings you can customize, let's take a look of those. Here in the System Preferences, the new trackpad section. You get this when you update your Desktop Mac with the magic trackpad update. You may look and see that is familiar because it is pretty much the same thing as you get on the MacBooks, MacBook Pros. You can select many different options here, and on the right side you get videos that show you basics according to where your mouse is over here on the left. So, in addition, you will be able to set the speed of Tracking, Double-Click, and Scrolling, just as you can with a mouse. You got a lot of different options here. For instance, if you like to actually just tap, and not actually press down on the trackpad to click you can select that. You also could select a Secondary Click buy clicking either on the bottom of right or left corner, so an actual area for the Secondary Click. In addition you can do two fingers click for Secondary Click here. I'll show you all the different things you can do. You can Scroll with two fingers, you can rotate like you can do on an iPhone, or iPad, and pinch as well. You can screen zoom with this, holding down the control key. There is also Three Fingers controls you can do to navigate, or drag, and even Four Fingers that you can use to launch Expose or to switch applications. Now, when the magic mouse came out a lot of developers came out with third party extensions to OS 10, where you can do all sort of different things with the surface of the magic mouse. I bet you, those same developers are working on things for the Magic Trackpad as well. I can say that I've been using it since getting it for a replacement for my magic mouse, and I loved it. I have a MacBook Pro as well, so it's nice to have unify interface between the two machines. You will find it's very easy to control with a lot of preciseness, I've been able to actually just go ahead and use all my applications normal, and I don't miss using a mouse at all. Of course, the existence of the Magic Trackpad has, like, speculation that could be used for others Apple devices. For instance in your Apple TV could use this as a remote control. Even though you already use the current Apple TV with an iPhone app, and do all sort of gestures. So, everything is kind of set up, I can even perhaps the current Apple TV updating been able to use this. It does have the big advantage over a mouse, and that you can use it holding away from your desk. So, to run presentation for instance, you can sit, and hold this in one hand, and switch with it. Of course with the mouse you really can't do that. You need a surface to put the mouse on. It is a little pricey, it's $69 dollars, and I hope maybe in years to come the price comes down a little bit. Of course it's also comes as an option now for new desktop machines. So you can perhaps get it as part of your package. I also can see Apple building this into the future keyboard. So you have a single keyboard trackpad device, rather than a separate keyboard, and mouse device. I can speculate that now we have a Magic Trackpad, and the magic mouse, and 60% of Macs are laptops with the trackpad anyway, the future versions always tend use touch gestures even more than they current do. I hope you like this look at the Magic Trackpad. This is Gary Rosenzweig for MacMost Now.

Comments: 16 Responses to “MacMost Now 431: Magic Trackpad”

    9 years ago

    First let me say that I’ve been waiting for many years to see someone come out with a trackpad input device for desktops. I love them on laptops and have long wondered why it’s taken all these years for one to be developed. I’m truly hoping it is everything for which I have longed.

    Second, have you tried placing the trackpad at the bottom center of your keyboard? If so, did you find the raised front of the pad interferes with typing on your slim Apple keyboard? Personally, I think I would prefer to emulate the style of laptop keyboards/trackpads than to have the pad off to the right, especially since I have the longer keyboard with the number pad.

    And as you allude, do you think Apple will develope (soon) an all-in-one version that includes both keyboard and trackpad?

      9 years ago

      I’ve got mine directly to the right of the keyboard. Basically, exactly where my mouse used to be. It is a little tough because I have the full-sized keyboard with the numeric keypad. I may try the small keyboard as an alternative.
      I don’t think the keyboard+trackpad device will be soon — I’m thinking this time next year.

    9 years ago

    I understand this is a bluetooth device and currently I have bluetooth turned off.

    Are there any security risks in having bluetooth turned on?

      9 years ago

      Not really. Bluetooth is very short-range. Same room, more or less. If you have someone malicious in the same room as you, then Bluetooth hacking is probably a lesser problem :)
      But serious, bluetooth has a very rigorous security system that requires both the device and the computer to confirm before connecting.

    Anthony Burokas
    9 years ago

    I’ve been waiting for a laptop like solution for desktops for a while. I like the Magic Trackbad but its a bit pricy for me.

    Don’t forget the TAM had a keyboard with a built in trackbad, so Apple has already built a desktop with that HUI. I look forward to its return.

    One big caviat, which rules me out as a customer is that it requires 10.6.2 or the latest & greatest. My 10.5 and 10.4 machines, including anything PPC based, seems to be deliberately obsoleted. They could have at least shared the love with 10.5 which does multitouch beautifully with my MacBook Pro.

    Paul Brainerd
    9 years ago

    I still can’t activate Spaces with a gesture. Sure, I could program the secondary click in the lower right corner to do it, but then I would lose my contextual drop down window with a two finger tap.
    I’m not going to use multiclutch or 3rd party apps either. Just want Apple to give me the Spaces option in the 4 finger swipe, instead of the awkward “application switcher.”

      Will Hains
      9 years ago


    Phyllis S.
    9 years ago

    I miss being able to click the scrollbar on my mouse to activate Dashboard. Is there a way to set that up on the MT?

    P.S. I love your Tweets, e-mails, and apps!

      9 years ago

      Well, there’s no scrollbar to click on, of course. But you can go into System Prefs, Expose & Spaces, Expose and assign either screen corners to start Dashboard or an F key. Since the trackpad is probably next to your keyboard, the right-most F key is kind line clicking on a button on the trackpad.
      You can also use the same system pref to assign the “secondary click” to Dashboard. But that means you can’t use it for other things.

    9 years ago

    I just got magic trackpad and its great.

    Now i also just got Apples wireless keyboard and its terrible. Very clunkey, no recessed / bevealed keys, delayed reaction time etc

    Logitech dinovi was suppose to be defacto best on market, but they stopped making and aren’t supporting. (but will still sell you keyboard)

    Any good keyboards to go with the new magic trackpad?

      9 years ago

      I use an Apple wireless keyboard. In fact, they come standard now, so lots of people do. I’ve never experienced any delayed reaction time at all, and I’m not heard of that being a problem. Perhaps something is wrong with your keyboard or setup?
      I love the newest APple keyboards — both USB and wireless. Best ones I have ever used. And as a writer, I have tried a lot of different ones.
      You can use just about any USB or wireless Bluetooth keyboard with a Mac. Though Mac-specific keyboards will have the keys labeled “Command” and “option.” But I would just go to a store where you can try out different models. Obviously you are looking for something that feels right to you, so there is no substitute for trying them out.

        9 years ago

        Thanks Gary for your reply. I’m surprised you like this keyboard…
        Maybe i am comparing the new wireless keyboard to the macbook pro built-in keyboard. Its backlit, with bevealed keys for easy and fast typing. Do you agree the macbook pro keys are better? Ok, i won’t belabor the point anymore.

        But the trackpad is a hit!

          9 years ago

          I’ve got my new MacBook Pro right here next to the wireless keyboard (hooked up to my Mac Pro) and the keyboards are pretty much the same. Just white keys versus black keys, and the backlighting. But the same basic shape and action.

    9 years ago

    ps – i use a macbook pro with a second monitor

    9 years ago

    the pronounced bevelled keys on the macbook pro (first edition)are NOT on the the wireless keyboard. The wireless keyboard is clunkier, even the sound is hollow. Maybe its the type of plastic used. Now i am comparing both on a hardwood desk, so you hear the wireless keyboard keys more on the wood, not being absorbed by the notebook chasis.
    Again, i am surprised at your promotion of this product, when it is clearly inferior to the deep bevelled, backlite, smoother macbookpro keys.
    Are you supporting due to an au-gratis arrangement with Apple? My apologies for this rash statement, since i have trusted your opinions in the past.
    The portability / wireless capability of the new keyboard are probably enough for me not to return it though. Thanks, Gary and respect.

      9 years ago

      Ah, the “first edition” MacBook Pro. You didn’t mention that before. I assumed you meant the current MacBook Pros. The older MacBook Pros did have a bevel to them, though I didn’t think the “action” was particularly great.
      I do not have any “arrangement” with Apple — if I did, I would say so. I like Apple products, which is what I have this site and do the show. But when I don’t like something (AT&T exclusivity, iWeb, Mini DisplayPort) I say so.
      I also write books, so I tap out a lot of words on my keyboards. I like some keyboards and have certainly hated some. I do like the current line (on my MacBook Pro and the USB and wireless ones) after lots and lots of use. If I didn’t, I would say so.

Comments Closed.