Apple’s Trackpad: The new multi-touch mouse

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Apurav Agrawal

RT ceoSteveJobs @Twitter: “Floppy disks, trackballs, serial ports, dial-up modems… All gone. Now it’s time to kill the mouse.”

The recent tweet from Steve Jobs pretty much sums up the story. In the years I’ve been using computers, monitors have grown thinner and more vivid in their picture displays, and the technology that runs them has grown faster and less expensive. But two things have remained relatively constant: my keyboard and mouse.

Yet that’s about to change. I’m pretty certain I will never own a traditional mouse again, at least when I use an Apple computer. Instead I will own a trackpad — a Magic Trackpad.

The new gadget, which was announced by Apple last week, and works only with the company’s computers, looks more like a large silver tile than a mouse. But when it’s properly connected, it affords a traditional desktop computer a multitouch mouse, just like those available in most Apple laptops today.

The trackpad works like an ordinary laptop trackpad, where you slide your fingers to control the cursor on the screen. Once you become comfortable with it, you can take full advantage of its features, which include two-finger scroll on Web pages, pinch and zoom on images in Apple’s Preview application and a number of other multitouch features.

The technology behind the trackpad originates from a company Apple purchased in the late 1990′s, which had designed a similar device for people who suffered from repetitive stress injuries. The idea is that a touch surface would be less taxing on a user’s hands than a traditional mouse.

The trackpad, which costs $70, easily connects to a computer wirelessly though a Bluetooth connection, but requires the latest version of Apple’s operating system, Mac OSX 10.6.4.

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