We’ve already seen Mobee Technology pull off a similar trick with the Magic Mouse, so it is not a huge surprise to see the company unveil The Magic Bar ($60)—but we’re still interested in this neat accessory, which we first checked out at CES in January. Just like its little brother, The Magic Bar is an inductive charging station, but this time it’s for Apple’s Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. It’s an easier and more environmentally-friendly solution than having to replace and throw out your AAs every few months. Updated August 11 and 30, 2011: Although it took a few months longer than expected, Magic Bar has finally been released. We’ve added detailed pictures to our photo gallery. And subsequently, we added new detailed impressions below.
As expected, The Magic Bar’s setup is incredibly easy; you just unscrew the battery cover on either the Keyboard or Trackpad, remove the batteries, and replace them with Mobee’s screw-in battery pack. Next, you plug the base station into any USB port on your computer, and when it’s time to charge your peripheral, you simply slide it into the dock. It’s easy, the added nub sticking out of your Keyboard or Trackpad’s side isn’t offensive, and this solution is a lot easier to charge than batteries that need to constantly be removed and replaced.
On the flip side, you only get one battery cylinder, so you can’t use this for everything on your desk right out of the box—you’ll want to get an extra battery if you have both Apple peripherals. Battery life on the Magic Bar’s fully-recharged cell is reported as 81% of a possible 100% by OS X Lion’s Trackpad battery level indicator, and lasted for three weeks before requiring a recharge. Additionally, we noticed that the Wireless Keyboard sometimes loses its Bluetooth connection to a computer when it’s sitting in the metal Magic Bar tray, making what otherwise seems like a nice thing to keep permanently on your desk seem like something that should only be trotted out as necessary—and then, when you’re not in need of using the Keyboard during its charging cycle. Overall, this is a nicely conceived and executed new charging peripheral; a couple of tweaks could make it even better.