Magic Trackpad

Hi all,
I saw there was an old thread on Apple’s Magic Trackpads several months ago, but it hasn’t been updated for quite some time.

Are there any people here that are using a Trackpad, and have done so for several months?

My regular setup is a laptop plugged into a bigger screen, macally keyboard, and currently a very crap IBM mouse in a cramped space. I am thinking about getting a trackpad instead, as I quite like the gestures etc. on my laptop trackpad, but I am not sure how it would go for longer term use.

How do people find the precision of the trackpad versus the mouse? What about ergonomically? How often do you have to change the batteries (why would I care about a wire for a stationary device)?

I actually don’t like using the Track pad on my (older, non-gesture, but has 2 finger scrolling) laptops for extended periods. I think this is mostly to do with the position of the trackpad on the laptop - I find my arm has to sit in awkward positions to access the trackpad and see the computer at the same time. I am hoping a trackpad on a keyboard draw sitting just above lap height would be a better arrangement.

I also wouldn’t mind having a device that supports pinch-zooming so that I can implement it on Aeon.

But at a $A99 price tag, it is a bloody expensive device. Especially considering that currently $A1 = $US1, and it is $69 in the US.


I’ve used the MT for a year, with a wireless keyboard. But I still use a USB mouse as well. The MT is great for scrolling, just a two-finger stroke up or down. But for moving around a large iMac screen, and especially for clicking menus or dragging objects, I much prefer the mouse. I may get a Magic Mouse and then go entirely wireless.

I bought Apple’s battery recharger, which charges batteries up to 82%. I replace when the Bluetooth menu reads under 20%. Re-charging takes 3-4 hours. I have 6 batteries in all, so 2 rest while the other 4 work. A battery recently pulled must rest a while before charging. If not, the charger is unhappy and flashes amber.

That $A price is a terrible ripoff; maybe Apple sells a refurbished model? Or you could buy from a US dealer like Amazon, which lists prices from $54 for new & used MTs. … c+trackpad

I have both the Magic Trackpad and the Magic mouse. I use a 13" macbook pro and a 24" cinema display.

My thoughts…
The magic trackpad is nice but I don’t use it much. It also requires Snow Leopard to work properly. It does tend to give my hand cramps if I use if a lot.

The magic mouse is the cat’s meow. It is like a mouse but also includes some neat features in it–it will scroll a screen sideways by moving the finger sideways, it has momentum scrolling which is really nice in long documents. The drawback is that it really eats batteries. Rechargeable batteries are a must have.

If you’re a mouse person I would suggest giving the magic mouse a try before the trackpad.

I bought a Magic Trackpad a couple of months or so ago, and I never use it for the reasons stated by the others:

  1. When I have my 24" monitor plugged in, it is much, much faster and easier to move the cursor across the screen using the mouse.

  2. I got cramp even after short periods of using it.

The trouble is that the heel of your hand is on the desk, the rest of the hand angled up, and you have to tense the back of your hand to gesture. So it doesn’t take long for the back of your hand to start aching. You don’t have that problem on a laptop (sorry, “notebook”), because your hand is raised more. I do wonder if they even did any tests on how it was to use ergonomically.

So, although it’s a nice idea and hopefully future versions will address the ergonomic, precision and ease of movement on large screens issues, mine is gathering dust on the edge of the desk and I’ve returned to my Microsoft Natural Mouse. I’m looking forward to checking out the Magic Mouse, though, which should be coming with the Mac Pro I’ve just ordered… :slight_smile:


I use mine all the time with my 27" iMac. To me, it’s way more comfortable than a mouse for 90% of applications. The exceptions are gaming (I use a Razer Naga for that) and Photoshop (where I use a tablet). I had thought I would use it to complement the Magic Mouse, but it has instead supplanted it. It’s not quite as comfortable as a real mouse, but it’s more comfortable than the Magic Mouse, which is pretty flat and unergonomic.

Also, it’s based on the trackpads introduced in the unibody MacBooks, so it has a glass cover on it. Your fingers glide really easily over it. Way more comfortable than any PC trackpad I have ever used, and more features.

I got the Magic Trackpad Nov. 20th (according to Amazon) to use with a Mac Mini. My Logitech BT mouse with the increasingly difficult to use scroll wheel has been sitting on the shelf unused, since then.

Nearly two months later the MT shows 13% remaining battery life. I think that’s pretty good as I use it constantly. I never bother to turn it off; it powers down on its own. When these original batteries die, I’ll see how long the Apple rechargeables last as I got Apple’s charger last week.

I use a 4:3 aspect 19-inch matte display so I can’t speak to its usefulness with large screens.

I’m happy with the ergonomics of it. I have no problems with hand cramping or stiffness.
I have a large desk with a nearly 3 ½ foot, two-level keyboard tray. I’ve found it very comfortable to use adjacent to the keyboard but on the 3-inch higher portion of the keyboard tray. When I’m not actually typing I can lean back in my chair and using Speed Dial with my FireFox browser, deaden my mind with all my favorite websites. In that mode I rarely have to touch the keyboard unless I Google something.

The day the App store opened, I bought “Angry Birds“ and have been using the MT incessantly for that curiously addictive game. Finger gestures seem much more accurate for slinging birds at bunkered pigs than using a mouse.

I like it so much that when my wife walks by I have to mutter, just loud enough to hear, “Stupid thing, I’m sorry I bought it.” I’m afraid that she’ll appropriate it, just like she did the MacBook. When she thought I had the “I’d like to use the MacBook” look in my eye she’d start quoting Dirty Harry and sparking her stun gun.

:mrgreen: :smiley:

I got one for my birthday a couple weeks ago (thanks, mom!) and so far have found it to be so utterly natural that I don’t even think about it anymore. I always hated having to shift back to using a mouse (I’ve been using an old apple USB mouse for years) whenever I plugged my MacBook Air into my 24" display. But then, I’ve always preferred trackpads to mice, going back to the first PowerBooks. And I’ve always preferred laptop keyboards to the old kind with lots more travel in the keys. Since i do at least as much work on my air alone as I do using the apple wireless keyboard with it and the monitor, it’s important that the feel be the same to avoid typos etc. The point is that decisions about input devices – mice , trackpads and keyboards-- tend to be pretty idiosyncratic, so you’ll just need to try 'em out.

Note that you can adjust things like tracking and scrolling speed in the system preferences, to make coverage of large areas easier, and that you can support your wrist with any number of things including a rolled up towel.

You can use a command line hack to invert the Magic Trackpad (ie so the taller bit is at the back. It makes it much more comfortable to use IMHO. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the actual hack (it’s only a single line) but I found it on Google and I could do so again if anyone’s interested…

I agree completely.

Unfortunately, a $99 price tag to try something out is a little excessive. And the time you can spend playing with them in store doesn’t really give you long enough to decide if it will be comfortable for longer term use.


It needs a hack? Mine works that way right out of the box. Putting the tall side in front makes no sense, IMO.


Are we getting front and back confused? Let’s try the compass.
Every picture I’ve ever seen of the MTP shows the tall edge on the top/north side.
And the short edge on the bottom/south side.
I just tried reversing it and got an immediate wrist ache. :open_mouth:

Yeah, that side. Tall side away from the user, aligned with the tall side on a keyboard. I can’t imagine anyone using it the other way for more than a few seconds.


My apologies, I meant tall side towards the front of course.

And it makes an awful lot of sense, Katherine, if that way it’s more comfortable than the out-of-box configuration, which for my wrist, it is - and considerably so. That’s because it removes the need to bend the wrist upwards, which is what Keith said he found uncomfortable. I’m not suggesting that Apple should invert the standard configuration, or that you should have your wrists surgically adjusted to be more like mine, just that there is another option, which works very well for me. But then again, I find the standard mouse provided by Apple to be poorly designed - I’ve never managed to use one for more than a few minutes without discomfort.



Macworld has an article today describing a solution that may address some of null Kevin’s, and others’, concerns about the MT.

I think the reason the MT is so comfortable for me is that the right side of my large keyboard slide-out tray has a built-in storage box with a lid that doubles as a work surface. So the left side of the keyboard tray is normal height for typing and the right side is about 3 inches higher. When I use the MT my elbow is on the chair’s arm rest and my wrist is on the top of the storage box and my fingers are able to comfortably use the pad’s surface. It also happens that my forearm is parallel to the floor. Oh, I forgot to mention the MT is about 7 inches to the right (and 3-in. higher, of course) of the Apple BT keyboard. It may all be just a happy accident of existing equipment and my physiology but it is very comfortable for me to use for long periods of time.

Those who find it uncomfortable to use might try to see if it is possible to change the position of the MT to something approximating my setup and see if it helps.

I just found a little workaround that works for my set up: I’ve put the MT on top of the external CD/DVD drive I got with my MacBook Air so that the battery case hangs over the side. Essentially it elevates my hand and cancels the angle that may be causing some users problems. It doesn’t show up in this photo, but at times I’ve also arranged it so the trackpad is pushed forward a few centimeters, allowing the CD drive to provide a rest for my wrist and the heel of my hand, while my thumb and fingers do their duty on the MT. This arrangement also saves some desk space, since the MT sits on top of the drive.
Oh, and like Nib, my elbow is supported by my chair arm.