Magic Trackpad 2 image 001

I’m a huge fan of Apple’s wireless keyboard, mouse and trackpad. My daily driver is a 2014 MacBook Air model and I also own a 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display which gets hooked up to the Air when I’m tied to my desk.

And of course, I also own a Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad and Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. These accessories soup up my desktop computing with precision input, wireless design and small footprint.

That being said, I’m currently on the fence of upgrading to Apple’s new Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Keyboard. I’m sure I’ll eventually purchase them just because I’m sick and tired of buying new alkaline batteries every few weeks.

But right not, I’m having second thoughts because not everything about the new Magic devices is as rosy as Apple paints it.

1) New Magic is pricey

At their respective price points of $79, $99 and $129, the Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 are significantly more expensive than the previous-generation mouse, trackpad and keyboard, priced at $69 each.

Are an integrated battery and Force Touch on the Magic Trackpad 2 really worth an extra $60? On the other hand, an argument could be made that buying the new trackpad is still cheaper than upgrading your old Mac notebook to the latest model with a Force Touch trackpad built-in.

2) Old Magic is gone

Making matter worse, customers in the market for an Apple-branded keyboard, mouse or trackpad are left with little choice as Apple has puled the cheaper, previous-generation Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard from sale.

Leaving these accessories on sale would have allowed for greater choice. There are no two ways about it: I dislike that Apple is nudging us into buying these much pricier accessories.

3) Magic Mouse 2 has bottom-facing Lightning port

There is no using the new mouse while charging as Apple’s decided to put the fast-charging Lightning port at the base of the device. I think a side port would have been better as it would have allowed for uninterrupted use of the mouse during charging.

Magic Mouse 2 image 007

For those wondering: yes, both the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 have Lightning ports on the rear, making them usable while charging.

4) Magic Keyboard lacks numeric keypad…

Apple to this date only offers a numeric keypad on its $49 Wired USB Keyboard. Why Apple doesn’t produce a full-size variant of the wireless keyboard with a handy numeric keypad and the regular arrow keys built-in is beyond me.

Magic Keyboard image 001

I mean, how hard is it to include this? While we’re at it, how about a Magic Keyboard variant with black keys? I’m sure a lot of people would dig that.

5) …and backlit keys…

…which have been claimed to come by some.

6) No Touch ID

Some people have been holding their breath, this author included, for a built-in Touch ID sensor on at least the new trackpad. Maybe next time, eh?

7) No USB-C support

Who said Apple would implement USB-C across its lineup? Surely a USB-C port for charging the new Magic devices seems like a natural fit? I bet owners of Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook are now keeping their fingers crossed for a Lightning-to-USB-C cable.

8) No combined keyboard + trackpad combo

I’ve been clamoring for such an accessory for years. A combined keyboard and trackpad would be especially great for owners of Mac notebooks and would look a lot nicer on everyone’s desk, too.

Thank God on Twelve South’s MagicWand accessory!

9) Magic Trackpad 2 needs Bluetooth 4.0

While all three Magic accessories are Bluetooth-enabled, the Magic Trackpad 2 requires Bluetooth 4.0 for a secure connection up to 30 feet away. As a result, its unusable on older Mac hardware with an earlier version of Bluetooth. As a general guideline Macs older than 2012 are not Bluetooth 4.0.

Magic Trackpad 2 image 004

On the other hand, this is quite understandable. All that swiping, 3D Touching, Peeking and Popping consumes energy so Apple likely had no viable alternative than limit the trackpad to the power-friendly Bluetooth 4.0 standard.

10) Only El Capitan is supported

Unless your Mac is running OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later, you won’t be able to use the new Magic accessories.

Wrapping it up

On the plus side, the new accessories have ditched the alkaline batteries for integrated rechargeable ones. Moreover, the gizmos are automatically paired when connected via Lightning to your Mac and feature two-minute fast-charging for a day’s worth of work (or two hours to reach a full one-month charge).

For those wondering about haptic feedback, Sixcolors has confirmed in its review of the Magic Trackpad 2 that it does in fact have vibratory feedback.

For other tidbits pertaining to the design process and attention to detail that went into developing the new iMacs and refreshed Magic accessories, do check out technology journalist Steven Levy’s unprecedented interview of Apple executives and members of the company’s Input Design Lab.

Do you have any quibbles Apple’s new Magic things?

  • Eikast

    I understand the price increase of the trackpad. I mean it makes sense that it’ll be more expensive than the current model. I am upgrading my trackpad to that one but I decided to not get the new keyboard. I don’t mind not having the number keys but not having backlight is a huge issue for me. Therefore i’ll be getting the Logitech K811

    Also I think Bluetooth 4.0 is actually a Pro. It’s more energy efficient and should consume less power (which equates to less charging).

    • Damian

      logitech k830 is a steal

    • IlIl

      The price increase is really not justified in my opinion. The new keyboard and mouse barely has new technology to warrant price hike. Bluetooth 4.0 isn’t some expensive fancy technology. Trackpad, maybe I can sort of understand the price hike. But the fact that they are charging customers extra even with iMac purchase is bit too much. All the other latest Macs come with new trackpad with force touch by default. Why are they gimping iMac users.

      • Eikast

        I only said that I understood the price increase for the trackpad. I never said that Bluetooth 4.0 is expensive and/or fancy. I simply said that it was not a con (since it was listed as a con in the article because it was not compatible with pre 2012 Macs).

        Also I ended up getting the keyboard and it’s great compared to the old one. Now I just can’t wait for my tackpad to come in the mail today. I’m going to be giving my old trackpad and keyboard to my wife (I have a spare external monitor for her to use with her Macbook Pro). I only use the keyboard and trackpad for external monitor usage (which is on a common basis).

  • That_Fruitarian

    No, no quibbles. But if I did, I’d just buy a product of my liking.

  • brian.

    After getting the first magic mouse, I really have shunned apple accessories sans the bluetooth keyboard. I don’t have any reason to give the old one up.

    I do enjoy Apple products like the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, but, for me, their accessories leave something to be desired.

    • Ed

      I am a big fan of the Magic Mouse, multiple gestures and it’s much easier to work with when you use graphics apps. But on the other hand I do not care about iPads and Watches.

    • Brandon

      i dont like the mouse because its not economical at all, especially if you have bigger hands

      • Merman123

        Ergonomic ***

      • Brandon

        damn it autocorrect

  • Linton Findlay

    Thought exactly the same. Why introduce a new format, then essentially make your new products imcompatible with your slightly older products. Touch ID, backlighting, and numeric keypads should have been standard tol

    • Matt Foot

      Because the old ones are YEARS old, and Apple are a design-centric company, for whom releasing products every few years (note: not every few MONTHS, as most tech companies seem to do) is a necessity, and they want their customers to enjoy beautifully crafted, carefully thought out and functional devices. Why do they NEED TouchID, just because the iPhone and iPad has it? Apple know best what works; it’s clear from this response that you’ve not sat down and thought about how Ive and his team make many, MANY prototype iterations of each potential new product; if you’ve *thought* of it (and not tried it, as they have, I might mention), I can almost guarantee you that Apple’s design team have made what you think is needed, have exhaustively tested a prototype, and abandoned it as it didn’t have a good reason to exist.

      Trust Apple engineers more than people in comments sections, for people who work as engineers at Apple work for Apple doing this stuff ALL DAY EVERY DAY, and we don’t.

  • Jon20

    All that genius engineering that goes on at Apple and no one thought of putting the lightning port on the side top or bottom of the mouse??!! To use it like the original mouse was intended to be used. There is a difference between “Think Different” and just not thinking it through. That’s like putting the lightning port on the back face part of the new Apple TV remote.

    • Ed

      Exactly, someone effed up real bad on this one. I see absolutely no reason to “upgrade” to the new MM, I already have rechargeable batteries that prevent me from using my MM while they re-charge, why in the heck would I wanna buy the same mouse with absolutely no clear benefits?!

      • @Ed I broke down and bought an extra pair of rechargeable batteries so that I always have a fresh set ready to go.

    • doc12345

      I agree the port should be on the side, but maybe they guess that a 2 minute charge would last for a day, So 2 minutes without the use of a mouse might be tolerable with the port underneath?

    • Fanboy 

      The port would have to been placed in the front of the Magic Mouse and if you’ve ever owned one or held one you’ll notice that the design is really sleek and curves towards the front. It would have been impossible for them to put that port in the front unless they redesigned the entire Mouse with a different shape I think that’s why it doesn’t have it.

      • Ed

        They redesigned the inside completely, they coudn’t redo the outside while they were at it?

      • Matt Foot

        But WHY? Why arbitrarily re-design something just for the sake of doing so? That is moronic, and would be a HUGE waste of man hours and money, and for what? Apple work on their OWN, undefined timeline and by their OWN rules, because they are the artists, and you are the “viewers” of their art. They do what they want when they want, and they’ll release it HOW they want, when THEY are good and ready, and when they feel satisfied. They are probably satisfied that – for now – there’s not a lot more that could be added to Magic Mouse by simply iterating the design one more step, just for the sake of making a new SKU for people who are “bored” of their designs.

        If a new iteration of a design DETRACTS from the balanced version you currently have, why do it? YOU as a consumer may not like the old (and new) design, but guess who are the artists here? Yep – Apple, and they say what happens, not the outside world. If you don’t like that, well sorry.

  • socrates

    #4 is the primary reason I won’t be getting the new keyboard for my hackintosh. I require a numeric keypad, end of story.

    Looks like I’ll be upgrading to the older USB model, which isn’t too big a trade off due to the UEFI support, but either way, newer should be better.

  • Charging port at the bottom of the mouse wtf Apple… and pull the previous gens, slap in all of their users face I’d say.

    • Jamessmooth

      Exactly my thinking too. That to me is the worst of it all. For a company that is so known for design this is puzzling.

      • Matt Foot

        It’s not puzzling to Apple, and they’re infinitely more aware of the reasons for their design choices than us.

    • Matt Foot

      And you can’t spare the requisite TWO MINUTES of charge time which yields NINE HOURS of usage time? Ok. :/

      • When the built in battery eventually dies do you replace the mouse, trackpad, and keyboard? All steps back in my book.. Nothing lasts forever.

  • Franklin Richards

    The mouse lightning port is a poor decision in Apple’s part. Where has the attention to details gone?! It’s shameful.

    • Matt Foot

      What is poor is the likelihood of you having done any thorough reading up on the design process and the specifications of the new Magic mouse.

      “Shameful”? Wow, you really pulled the drama queen card out, eh. ^_^

      • Franklin Richards

        It is shameful. Apple’s pride is it’s attention to detail. Surely they could’ve worked that the mouse could run out of power mid use. What then? Sit around and wait for the mouse to charge or do Apple expect us to get the Magic Trackpad as well as back up? Design process and specs means nothing if it’s not practical.

      • Matt Foot

        You don’t own a single CHEAP USB mouse? Wow. Any excuse to complain eh 😉

      • Franklin Richards

        Cool story, bro.

      • Matt Foot

        ^ How to lose a debate by having nothing sensible to say.

      • Franklin Richards

        I saw all your comments on the page. There is no “debating” with you. You’re just going to hump Apple’s leg dry no matter what they do wrong. So Cool story, bro.

  • 1) you have an issue with the price? Go to the UK store. THEN you can have an issue with the price!

  • deve2468

    “I’m sick and tired of buying new alkaline batteries every few weeks.”

    Why are you doing this to begin with?Rechargeable ones make so much more sense, at least for the existing accessories. My concern is what happens to the new integrated rechargeable batteries when they die?

    • Ed

      Apple probably would “recommend” that you replace your “Magic” device.

  • Chris

    It totals AUD$439 for all three in Australia, $200 of that is just the trackpad alone.

  • ready1take1

    man i read all 10 of these and said meh to all of them. to each his own i guess but none of these bother me.

  • Felipe Queiroz Drumond

    I would like to have a magic mouse because my Logitech VX Nano uses one USB port of my MBP. The problem is that whenever I try a magic mouse at an Apple Store, I fell it is awful to use. It is heavy, has too much grip and it is not ergonomic at all.
    This new version seems to be exactly the same, but now you simply cannot use it while charging. Well done, Apple!

    • Hi @felipequeirozdrumond:disqus, I too thought the same for Magic Mouse 1, but Magic Mouse 2 is much better.

  • isitjustme

    “Click or double-click anywhere. The whole surface is the button.”

    That’s the wonder of MM so who says you can’t use it when it is charging wait there is more

    “Apple Magic Mouse 2 features a state-of-the-art Multi-Touch surface that makes it easy to explore your favourite content. Scroll in any direction with one finger, swipe through web pages and photos, and click or double-click anywhere. The mouse detects the difference between a scroll and a swipe — and even knows when you’re just resting your hand on it.”

  • Der Faust

    Dang it….. I figured they would at least add in some Touch ID or something…… No deal….:)… Better luck next time Apple:(

  • Matt Foot

    Erm, I am not sure you are qualified to like or dislike ANYTHING yet, since they have only JUST been released, and it is highly unlikely you own any of these items as yet, let alone *tried* them. Furthermore, to form a valid and qualified, balanced opinion on a product, a sensible, logical person will have OWNED the item around which they are forming a review, for two months AT LEAST, and *then* you look at the item *objectively*, forming a slowly and meticulously crafted review article, continuously refining each iteration of said review in order to chop out ANY personal bias.

  • ccalhoun972@gmail.com

    I wanted to hate this article…..but after reading it, I agree

  • Andrew

    I was actually considering picking up the trackpad, but I have a 2011 iMac, so it doesn’t have Bluetooth 4.0. No new gadgets for me then :/ Maybe I’ll pick up the old one somewhere online for cheap.

    • michaelward82

      For reference I’m using the new trackpad and keyboard with a mid-210 21.5″ iMac. I expect reduced batter life but all functionality appears to be present.

      • Andrew

        Interesting. Thanks for pointing that out. I might reconsider grabbing one.

  • mav3rick

    Where can the article be upvoted?

  • jay

    Price? Fails

  • Reads like sophomoronic crap. Still using alkaline batteries? Phaugh.

  • Len Pritchard

    My MM2 works far more reliably than my original and the internal battery seems to last for ever – I’ve had it 4 months and not yet charged. Can’t use whilst charging but in practice this is a non issue. Annoyingly, it doesn’t have a green light, so on the odd occasion when it has stopped tracking I don’t know that it is actually on. Fortunately this has only happened for a few seconds each time and that’s pretty rare. Nevertheless seems like an omission to me.