Apple introduced the much-anticipated Magic Trackpad at the Apple Store Tuesday, bringing the multi-touch gestures familiar to iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users to the desktop. A new wireless device that connects via Bluetooth, the Magic Trackpad lets you use your computer with gestures, instead of pointing and clicking. The Magic Trackpad is a window on the future of computer interfaces, some analysts say. Others believe the demise of the PC mouse at the hand of Apple industrial design is premature.
Magic Trackpad a classic Apple industrial design
The Magic Trackpad bears Apple’s distinctive industrial design. The angle and height of the sleek, glass-covered aluminum device matches the Mac keyboard it is designed to complement. CNNMoney.com reports that Tuesday morning the Apple Store began selling the multi-touch Magic Trackpad. When the online store went down soon before the Magic Trackpad was announced, the blogosphere erupted with speculation about what sort of game Apple was playing.
The desktop gets enhanced multi-touch
The Apple Magic Trackpad enables two-finger scrolling, pinching to zoom, rotating with your fingertips, three-finger swiping or switching between applications with four fingers among its multi-touch gestures . Apple says users can switch from typing to gesturing seamlessly, or do both simultaneously, as well as swipe through pages online like flipping through a magazine. Plus, inertial scrolling makes moving up or down a page feel completely natural.
Magic Trackpad: is this a sneak peak at the 3D interface?
Apple’s long-term strategy to introduce a 3D interface in the future could have something to do with the Magic Trackpad. Johnny Evans at Computerworld reports that the company owns several patents on a 3D user interface, and the Magic Trackpad could be a key step in Apple’s campaign to get its users accustomed to it. Evans hypothesizes about a multi-touch interface in 3D where you appear to reach right into your screen. He also imagines using head movement, arm movement or voice to compute via Apple’s motion-detecting iSight camera.
Does the Magic Trackpad put the mouse in danger?
The Magic Trackpad doesn’t signal the demise of the mouse, said Jared Newman at PC World. Old habits are hard to break, he said. The Magic Trackpad’s minimal ergonomics made his fingers tired. Not being able to lift and click when he ran out of dragging room on the mousepad was also frustrating. But his number one reason the mouse will never die is that gamers can’t play shooter games without pointing and clicking.