Update on Apple’s Magic Trackpad: Battery Life + As A Mouse Replacement
The good news: my “early hands-on” left open the possibility that the initially good accessory could come to feel great, and it did. One week into using the Magic Trackpad, it became a completely comfortable replacement for a comparable desktop mouse (specifically Apple’s solid Magic Mouse, which I’d liked but not loved before getting the Trackpad), and when I hit the two-week mark, I was ready to say that I wouldn’t give up the Magic Trackpad for a mouse again. The act of calibrating the Magic Trackpad properly for the screen size of your computer is the point at which you start to appreciate how viable it is as a mouse replacement, and though finger- rather than laser-precision may be an issue for some people, it hasn’t been a problem for me at all. Between the complete access to multi-touch gestures, including ones left out of the Magic Mouse, and the fact that I can achieve the same use of my computer without the footprint of a mouse pad, I’m sold, locked in, and very happy with this accessory. It’s become a “pry it from my cold, dead hands” add-on for my Mac, which is exactly what I hoped for when I made the purchase.
The bad news: yeah, about that battery life thing. I popped in a fully charged set of Apple’s rechargeable batteries on August 3, the day the Apple Battery Charger arrived, which is to say it’s been nearly 15 days since I started with a 100% Trackpad Battery Level. Today, it’s at 14% percent, which means I might get three or four more days out of these batteries before they need to be swapped and recharged. Even by Magic Mouse standards, 20-day battery life* sucks. Based on early testing noted in the comments to the original Trackpad article, it looked like the higher-capacity disposable batteries included with the Magic Trackpad would have lasted for three months before needing to be thrown away and replaced, but the rechargeables are running down at a rate that seems disproportionately and suspiciously high. In any case, since I regularly use a wired Apple keyboard, I would seriously prefer to just pop a USB cable from a wired Magic Trackpad into the spare USB port on the keyboard’s side. But Apple doesn’t make a wired Magic Trackpad. I wish the company’s growing team of magicians would conjure one up, because as fun as battery swaps with coin-operated swirled metal compartments may be, I could do without them. You probably could, too.
(* = Battery life will, of course, depend on how much you use your computer, how efficiently Apple’s software manages the power of its accessories, and the type of batteries you’re using. Since I’m using Apple’s hardware, software, and batteries at this point, there’s really no excuse for short run times except that wireless accessories eat batteries when you actually use them—which I do for eight or nine hours each work day, five or six days a week. My machine’s on a 10-minute automatic sleep timer. You’ll get longer battery life if you use your machine less and turn it off properly when it’s not in use.)
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple to drop first-gen Apple TV, iPod classic support as of Sept 8th
- New Apple TV to feature motion sensitive remote
- Media companies balk at $40/mo. plan for Apple TV service
- Former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers leaves Apple
- Apple partners with PayAnywhere for Apple Pay
- Report: iPhone 6S to retain 16GB base model
- Apple sends out invites to September 9 event
- iPhone 6S to get front flash mode? (Update: Rose Gold color on the way)
- Report: iPhone 6S to support Motion wallpapers
- Rumor: iPhone 6S Plus to have smaller battery, packaging revealed?
- Tech21 Evo Mesh Sport for iPhone 6 and Evo Elite for iPhone 6 Plus
- Thonet & Vander Koloss Bluetooth Speaker
- iHome iSP5 SmartPlug
- Spigen Apple Watch Nightstand S350
- DODOcase Lorna iPhone Wallet Case for iPhone 6 Plus
- SwitchEasy Blocks Customizable Dock Building Set for Apple Watch
- DODOcase Maritime Collection Multi-Angle Case for iPad Air 2
- Kanex iPhone ChargeSync Dock for iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
- Onanoff Sound Cover for iPad Air + iPad Air 2
- Native Union Clic 360 for iPhone 6
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- Opinion: The ‘Grand Experiment’ of shifting to Google Photos
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?