Flying under the radar in Tuesday’s desktop Mac revisions is a neat little peripheral that has the potential to hasten the demise of the trusty notebook computer – the Magic Trackpad ($69). Sure, it’s just a Bluetooth trackpad, and yes, they’ve been around for a while, but the Magic Trackpad is different.
For starters, it shares the minimalist good looks of Apple’s wireless keyboard, matching its pitch and depth so that the two align perfectly when next to each other. Also, because it’s from Apple, the drivers are (now) built-into Mac OS X, so there’s no funky configuration or third-party weirdness or incompatibility to deal with.
The potentially killer feature though is that the Magic Trackpad could turn the iPad into an almost fully-functional notebook replacement for many users. The first barrier to fall was the physical keyboard. When Apple added Bluetooth keyboard support to iOS 4.0 the iPad became viable for long-form writing not previously possible with a virtual keyboard. The second barrier (yet to fall) is that switching from using the keyboard to tapping on the iPad screen is uncomfortable and not very ergonomic. Anyone who’s tried this configuration knows what I mean.
Unfortunately, the Magic TrackPad doesn’t work with the iPhone or iPad — yet — according to Gearlog, so we’ll all have to collectively grovel Apple to add such a feature. But with BT keyboard support coming to iOS 4, there’s hope. Add your support for the cause by posting in this Apple discussion forum and in the review section at the bottom of the Magic Trackpad product page.
While the iPad won’t run Photoshop or Final Cut Pro any time soon, my MacBook Pro is starting to feel heavier by the day.
What’s your take, could an iPad (with keyboard and trackpad) suffice for most of your computing needs?