MultiTouch Comes To The Desktops: Apple's New Trackpad

Apple today announced a slew of new products, including massive upgrades to its aging Mac Pro line-up of computers. It announced a new display and new iMacs. But the most notable of its announcements was much less flashy — the Magic TrackPad.

This is the standalone version of the multitouch technology that is standard on most Apple laptops. Apple executives say that more people use the trackpad than their touch-ready Magic Mouse. When Apple launched the multitouch features on its notebooks, I found it hard to use. However, a few days later, the touch gestures became second nature and I am so much more productive as a result, especially when I have to skim through dozens of blogs and hundreds of articles early in the morning as I prepare for my blogging day.

The new standalone unit — slightly bigger than the one featured on a Macbook Pro — is supposed to play in tandem with the new iMacs and new Mac Pros that were launched earlier today. It connects to a desktop machine via a Bluetooth connection. Apple says it works up to 33 feet away, making it ideal to work with the new Mac Mini which is currently acting as the center of my home theater, and as a server for all of my digital music.

While I am fairly certain I’m not buying any of those new Mac machines, I am most certainly going to pick up the $70 Magic TrackPad. It would make a perfect accompaniment to my Mac accessories, especially when my Macbook Pro is plugged into an external 30-inch Dell monitor. At $999, I am going to give the new 27-inch Apple Cinema Display a pass — at least until I eventually break down and buy it.

As an aside, the new product-line refresh is only going to help Apple maintain the momentum for its computer sales. In its most recent quarter, the company sold over 3.5 million Macs (the majority of them being notebooks), and with the new desktops the company probably will maintain some of that momentum.

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