Steve Jobs to mouse: I brought you into this world and I can take you out

“Easily the most interesting thing Apple unveiled today is the new Magic Trackpad,” MG Siegler writes for TechCrunch. “Essentially, it’s a larger version of the trackpads that ship with each MacBook and MacBook Pro. But it’s a stand-alone product, meant to be used with desktop computers.”

“‘Looking at the big picture, more users are using our trackpad because there are more notebook users than desktop users,’ an Apple representative told me today when discussing the Magic Trackpad,” Siegler writes. “‘People love the trackpad. People love those characteristics. So we wanted to bring that kind of design to our desktop users,’ the Apple rep told me. So Apple designed the product (in conjunction with the wireless keyboard) to bring everything people like about the trackpads over to the desktop experience. Pinch-to-zoom, inertial scrolling, tap-to-click, it’s all there.”

Siegler writes, “Apple is slowly but surely moving towards a place where the majority of computer interaction is done through touch gestures. The desktop remains the last great stronghold for the keyboard + mouse combination. But now Apple is chipping away at that too. First they launched the multi-touch Magic Mouse. Now we get the Magic Trackpad… When I asked if this signaled the death of the mouse, Apple would only say that ‘we want to offer our users the choice.’ …That said, Apple did acknowledge that some users will likely ditch the mouse in favor of this new device.”

Siegler writes, “I know that personally, this Magic Trackpad is going to replace my mouse. Even though my desktop offers the comfort of two huge monitors, recently, I’ve found myself using my laptop more and more simply because I prefer the trackpad and its multi-touch gestures. Now that I can get that full experience on my desktop, I’m definitely making the jump.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Yes, we know the history of the computer mouse. Steve Jobs didn’t invent it, but ’twas the Apple Macintosh that brought the computer mouse to the world.

Thanks to Bill Cosby for inspiring our headline.

50 Comments

  1. But seriously, is there some way to use brainwaves? Doesn’t someone (third party) have some biofeedback stuff to hook-up to the mac? I’ve been working with computers since 1979, and hooked up a GSR (galvanic skin resistance?) to the computer, so I could control it with the force. It would make a bar move up and down on the screen by using “will power”. Written in Basic.
    Anyone know of a third party brain wave biofeed back device maker?

  2. So when can I toss my Keyboard and mouse and use my iPad instead. This has been more than possible since the iPad was launched now Apple just needs to make it happen. This is the killer App … ((:

  3. Uh, Franny, do you use your fingers with your Wacom tablet? Multitouch gestures? That is the big difference.

    Yes, the Wacom tablet has been a must-have tool for many artists for many years. I know of illustrators who don’t use a keyboard, and live with a Wacom tablet on their lap. (For a killer example of what a total genius artist can do with a Wacom painting into Photoshop directly, see samples of surfing illustrator Rick Rietveld: http://bit.ly/cneL8T)

    That said, you need to hold a stylus pen or other Wacom tool to use their tablets. And Wacom tablets are a bit sensitive. By contrast, the new Apple Magic Trackpad is not the same. It’s meant primarily to control navigation and gestures. While I am sure it will be adapted as an illustration tool, my hunch is that this is a secondary goal of Apple at best. And while you can use a Wacom tablet to navigate on a Mac, I am willing to bet that Wacom did not rank this a priority.

    I think there is room for both companies to do nicely. In fact, if the Magic Tablet becomes popular, it could actually get more people to take the Wacom tablet seriously. It’s sad to think that Wacom has had tablet products available for many years, but never saw the opportunities that Apple has here.

    While Wacom has offered its LCD-based Cintiq illustration tablet for quite some time (http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/cintiq-21ux.php), at nearly $2,000, it is a very expensive item. I will be curious if Apple has something similar in mind for a much lower price. But my hunch is that again, Apple will focus on a broader audience and different specific use.

    So while Wacom (and other) tablets have been on the scene for many years, the Magic Tablet is different, and its use plus intended audience appears to be much different.

    Oh, and as for you armchair pundits who are quick to judge something you have yet to touch, please get a life. I will reserve judgment until I take one for a spin, and I urge you to do the same. As for me, I can’t wait to try one!

  4. The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘Magic Trackpad’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.

    Cheers! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  5. @Frannyc28
    Yes, but Steve did bring us the rechargeable AA battery. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Windows users won’t find much use for this device unless Apple makes the drivers for it.

    Even then, it will still lack the same functionality we Mac users will enjoy.

  7. I prefer a mouse… a simple wired mouse with two buttons and a clickable scroll wheel.

    However, I can see where Apple is going, and it makes sense.

    The suggestion for an mini-LCD screen is interesting, but is not usable. Position on a trackpad is relative to the current location of the input cursor on the screen. It is not absolute. So the upper left corner of trackpad does NOT correspond to upper left corner of the screen. So as a “secondary screen,” it would have to be something as large as one of those graphic artist Wacom tablets, where the whole screen is represented “absolutely” on the trackpad. That would be too expensive and impractical for typical users.

    Also, the whole point of something like a trackpad (or mouse) is that you use it WITHOUT looking at it. You are focused on the screen, not the input device. If the trackpad is acting as a display, you will need to look at it, which defeats the purpose.

    The other LCD suggestion, of putting something like a numeric keypad image (or an iPod-like scroll wheel) on the surface of the trackpad, makes more sense. It could even be specialized game controls or music/video editing controls. In that case, the LCD can be monochrome (black and white) to reduce cost and the need for a backlight. I’ll bet Apple is already working on something like that, for a stand-alone trackpad as well as the trackpad on MacBooks. In this case, the trackpad “morphs” into a different type of input device and temporarily abandons being a cursor control device.

  8. I had a apple mouse on my apple //e during the mid 1980’s. The story I heard was apple engineers had designed the board to control the mouse, the only problem was the board was larger and more complex than the original apple //e circuit board. Woz came in and in an afternoon redesigned it down to a few chips! No idea if the story is true or not.

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