Thoughts on Apple’s New Magic Devices

Thoughts on Apple’s Magic Products

One aspect to our daily technology lives that we may not consider is the input devices that we use. We use them constantly and, most of the time, without any thought, except for when the batteries run out on the devices and they stop working. These input devices include mice, keyboards, and TrackPads. There are many who complain that Apple has no idea how to properly design a mouse. These same individuals also state that the only good mice that Apple has made is the infamous “puck” mouse.

Apple has released a new set of input devices. These include the new Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad 2, and Magic Mouse 2. Let us look at each of these devices, and we will start with the Magic Mouse 2.

Magic Mouse 2

The Magic Mouse 2 looks a lot like its predecessor, the Magic Mouse. The Magic Mouse 2 features a new internal design which eliminates the need for replaceable batteries. While the Magic Mouse 2 may look the same there are some distinct changes to the mouse.

The first of these changes is the way that it clicks. As indicated in the Medium piece’> “What I Saw Inside Apple’s Top-Secret Input Lab” by Steven Levy, Apple redesigned the feet of the Magic Mouse 2, in order to provide the proper click. Having had each of the previous versions of the I have access to each of the previous versions of Apple’s input devices. When you compare the Magic Mouse to the Magic Mouse 2, you can tell that the click on the Magic Mouse 2 is a bit higher than the older Magic Mouse. Beyond the click, and the new The overall shape and function of the Magic Mouse 2 has remained unchanged.

Magic Keyboard

Similar to the Magic Mouse 2 is the all new-Magic Keyboard. The Magic Keyboard, like the Magic Mouse 2, does not have any replaceable batteries. The removal of the replaceable batteries allows for a couple of different changes to be made to the new Keyboard.

The first is the size of the keyboard. The physical dimensions of the keyboard remained unchanged. But what has changed is the vertical dimension. Instead of being at a steep angle as the previous Apple Wireless Keyboard. The new angle of the Magic Keyboard is much lower than the previous keyboards.

The second aspect to the new design is the new keys. The Magic Keyboard takes some cues from the new MacBook keyboard. The keyboard layout is very similar to the MacBook. The biggest changes are that in place of the power key, you get an eject key. The second change is that the new Magic Keyboard does not have any backlight, so the F5 and F6 keys for adjusting the brightness of the keyboard, have been removed.

The last change, which is the most noticeable, is the weight of the keyboard. Since there is no longer any need for batteries, the weight of the keyboard has been significantly reduced. The Magic Keyboard is 33% of the weight of the previous keyboard. The Magic Keyboard is a mere 0.51 pounds, where the Wireless Apple Keyboard came in at 1.5 pounds. The weight of the keyboard is definitely noticeable, particularly if you use it on your lap.

The last feature of the Magic Keyboard is the key travel. Key Travel is the amount of distance that the keys move before the key is fully pressed. With the Apple Wireless Keyboard, the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air this distance was 2 millimeters. This is not a great distance. The new MacBook’s key travel distance is 0.5 millimeters, one fourth the distance of the existing Apple keyboards. The Magic Keyboard’s key travel distance is twice that of the Apple MacBook, at 1 millimeter.

If you are used to using a keyboard with two millimeters of travel, is an adjustment, however after using the Magic Keyboard for a while, it is quite comfortable using the keyboard. One of the hesitations that I had when first using the Magic Keyboard was whether there would be issues going back and forth between the Magic Keyboard and an older keyboard. For the most part, there have not been many issues at all. While the distance differential between the two keyboards remains noticeable, but it is definitely something that one can overcome.

Overall the Magic Keyboard is quality upgrade from the Apple Wireless keyboard.

Magic Trackpad 2

The last new input device is the Magic Trackpad 2. Apple’s original Magic Trackpad was released in July of 2010. At that time, the new product was an external, standalone version of the trackpad found in the Apple laptops. The Magic Trackpad was able to use the same gestures that the laptops were capable of doing.

The Magic Trackpad 2 is a completely redesigned trackpad that still supports all of the same gestures, but has been completely redesigned, and even sports some new capabilities, namely Force Touch. Apple introduced Force Touch in March of 2015 with the release of the MacBook as well as the Early-2015 MacBook Pros with Retina. Until now, this was the only way to get Force Touch on OS X.

The Magic Trackpad 2 is completely redesigned. It now features the same height as the Magic Keyboard, of 0.43 inches. It can be placed directly adjacent to the Magic Keyboard, and it would almost appears though it was one item.

The Force Touch aspect to the Magic Trackpad 2 does add a new option for interaction within applications. Currently, most developers have not integrated Force Touch gestures into their applications, but now that the Magic Trackpad 2 is available, developers may be

Commonalities

All three of Apple’s new Magic devices connect via bluetooth, as well as having lightning connectors for charging. The Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 have enough space on the back to be able to plug in the lightning cable and continue to use the device. The Magic Mouse 2 has its lightning port on the bottom, but cannot be used while it is charging. To accommodate for this, Apple has provided the capabilities for quick charging, where the Magic Mouse 2 can be charged for two minutes and provide nine hours of usage.

One of the pain points for any Bluetooth device is pairing. Pairing with the new Magic devices is done very quickly. Using a computer that is running OS X 10.11 El Capitan, simply plug in the device and it will automatically be paired with that device.

The best part of this is that it will work on any computer that is running OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Hence, if you want to move your Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad 2, or Magic Mouse 2 between devices, it is as simple as plugging in the device for two seconds and then unplugging it. There is no more need to go through the pairing rigamarole that has been present in previous versions.

The new Magic devices all have approximately one month of charge before needing to be recharged. This is definitely a good thing, because it means that you will easily be able to go use the devices without needing to worry about changing batteries, which are not only bad for the environment, but also bad for the pocketbook because you have to keep buying replaceable batteries, or using rechargeable ones.

The specifications on the Magic Trackpad 2 indicate that you need to have a Bluetooth 4.0 enabled Mac. This was not my experience. I have a Mid-2011 iMac that only has Bluetooth 2.1, and it worked with the Magic Trackpad 2 without any issue. Conversely, the specifications for the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 both indicate that you only need a Bluetooth-enabled Mac. However, when I was using the Magic Mouse 2, I found that this kept getting disconnected for no apparent reason. It may just be something with my iMac, but I do not have any issues with my original Magic Mouse.

Pricing

Apple does not generally have many products that are inexpensive, and the new input devices are no different. The new Magic Keyboard has gone up from $69 to $99, while the new Magic Mouse 2 has gone from $69 to $79. These two prices jumps, while not a significant amount, are still an increase. The Magic Trackpad 2 however, has jumped from $69 to $129. These are available from Apple today, as well as other retailers, like Amazon.

Links

Apple: Magic Keyboard Magic Trackpad 2 Magic Mouse 2

Amazon: Magic Keyboard Magic Trackpad 2 Magic Mouse 2

Final Thoughts

If you are in the market for some new input devices for your Macs, and you have no issues using Apple designed devices, you may want to take a look at Apple’s new Magic devices. The Magic Keyboard brings a slight redesign and shorter key travel. The Magic Mouse remains mostly unchanged excluding the change in batteries and a slight redesign. The Magic Trackpad 2 is the biggest change and for the first time provides Force Touch on a desktop Mac.


Originally published at Wayne’s Workshop.