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Peter_M

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2018
231
185
Hi there,


I'm a daily Mac user for nearly 20 years, so I obviously prefer MacOS and the Mac over Windows and regular PCs.

However, I'm baffled over how many dumb design decisions Apple has made during the last 8-9 years. I'll keep this short, so I'll only mention the Magic Trackpad 2 here. I recently managed to drop my old AA battery-powered Magic Trackpad, so I had to buy a new one. And it was such a disappointment.

First off, the new version of the trackpad is too flat, so the wrist angle is wrong and feels less comfortable to use. Also the battery drains about 8-10 times faster (or more) than the old one, so now I have to charge it about once a week or two, which is ridiculous. Why not make the thing a little bigger (to fit a larger battery), and also more ergonomic at the same time?

Jeez, what are the designers over at Apple smoking? I'm not a "designer" myself, but I saw these issues a mile away before I bought it. I thought to myself "hmm...this product is too flat, so the battery life will be crap, and also the angle of the hand will be less ergonomic". And I was right.

This is typical Apple. They'll probably "fix" the downgrade in the next version, to create more artificial demand for their overpriced peripherals.

Rant mode off.
 
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Sheepish-Lord

macrumors 68020
Oct 13, 2021
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4,393
It matches perfectly with the current gen Magic Keyboard ergonomics/style so from that aspect it's perfect as you can put them side by side and make it look like one piece. The Magic Mouse can fall into this category as well so for better or worse this is what it is and there's no other trackpad on the market to my knowledge.

Additionally, external battery usage (e.g. AA) has gone the way of the dinosaur.
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,368
6,855
First off, the new version of the trackpad is too flat, so the wrist angle is wrong and feels less comfortable to use. Also the battery drains about 8-10 times faster (or more) than the old one, so now I have to charge it about once a week, which is ridiculous. Why not make the thing a little bigger (to fit a larger battery), and also more ergonomic at the same time?
The flatter angle of the Trackpad 2 is better for your wrist and more ergonomic than the steeper angle of the old one. I bought my Magic Trackpad 2 not long after it was first released so it's got to be about 6 years old now and even with daily use, I only charge it about once a month or so. It's also completely usable while being charged so battery life really isn't much of a factor.
 

astrorider

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2008
585
118
Yep, the angle matches Apple's latest keyboards is the main reason. Less angle is considered more ergonomic since it reduces wrist strain, but I can see why it'd be annoying if you're using it with an older keyboard and the angle no longer matched. Maybe return it and pick up an older one on Ebay?

Not sure about battery life...I've had flaky bluetooth performance with some computers so I prefer to just leave mine plugged in to the computer all the time, which you couldn't do with the older AA-powered trackpads. Honestly, the Magic Trackpad 2 is about perfect for me. I could never go back to a mouse.
 
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Peter_M

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2018
231
185
It matches perfectly with the current gen Magic Keyboard ergonomics/style so from that aspect it's perfect as you can put them side by side and make it look like one piece. The Magic Mouse can fall into this category as well so for better or worse this is what it is and there's no other trackpad on the market to my knowledge.

Additionally, external battery usage (e.g. AA) has gone the way of the dinosaur.

Did you own and use the previous version of the Magic Trackpad? It's angle was steeper, so it was more ergonomic during extended usage. Try dragging an object over the screen, while pressing down on the trackpad. This was MUCH more comfortable on the old version.

The flatness of the corresponding Magic keyboard is why I replaced it with a wireless Logictech keyboard. It's more ergonomic to write on a keyboard with a higher degree of incline, esp. for the three highest key rows.

Either way, Apple easily could have doubled the size of the battery in their Magic Trackpad 2, and still have a sleek design - no need to keep the AA batteries, that wasn't even my point. I respect your opinion, but having used Apple computers and peripherals for 20 years, I can tell you that much of the stuff they've done since around 2015 is just bad design, for the sake of minimalistic artsy-fartsy pretentiousness. And yeah, the Magic mouse that can't be used during charging, good grief...
 
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coldwaves

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2011
414
203
My experience with battery life in Magic Trackpad and Magic Trackpad 2 is very different. The Magic Trackpad 2 lasts at least a month for my relatively heavy use. The battery life of the original Magic Trackpad obviously depends on the type of battery I use. With a set of new 2000 mAh Eneloop batteries, I usually get about the same time. But it seems as my original Magic Trackpad ages, it consumes battery faster than when it is new even if I am using a new batteries of the same brand and same type.
 

MajorFubar

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2021
2,061
3,591
Lancashire UK
I specifically bought the Trackpad 2 so that I could use it permanently tethered via USB. I willingly gave my Trackpad 1 to my son. I used it for 10 years and couldn't wait to see the back of it quick enough when Trackpad 2 came out. I have totally given up on ALL BlueTooth-connected devices with my Mac and refuse to use them because of ( a ) the well-documented BT issues which plague Macs, and ( b ) fed up of batteries going flat.

Count me among the people who prefer the shallower angle of the Trackpad 2. I was never particularly comfortable with the angle of the Trackpad 1 unless I used it on a mousemat with a wrist support.

Don't start me on the Magic Mouse 2 though that can't be used when plugged in because the socket is on the underside. Another 'Iveism' I bet.
 
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Peter_M

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2018
231
185
My experience with battery life in Magic Trackpad and Magic Trackpad 2 is very different. The Magic Trackpad 2 lasts at least a month for my relatively heavy use. The battery life of the original Magic Trackpad obviously depends on the type of battery I use. With a set of new 2000 mAh Eneloop batteries, I usually get about the same time. But it seems as my original Magic Trackpad ages, it consumes battery faster than when it is new even if I am using a new batteries of the same brand and same type.
A week was a bit on the low side (written in the "heat of the moment"), but say around 10-12 days during heavy use. For light use it could probably last a month, but my old trackpad would have lasted many months. There are cheap AA batteries, which last considerably less than high quality AA batteries (which I used).

Aside from poor battery life, the inferior ergonomics annoy me the most, since I work from on computer many hours at a time. The new trackpad is an expensive designer item made principally to look nice, but downgraded in the areas that really matter.

Apple had to retreat from their super-thin MacBook Pro models (awful keyboard, limited ports, hot/noisy etc.), and make something a bit thicker and more practical again. Their recent obsession with making super-thin peripherals for stationary computers is ridiculous, it's for STATIONARIES not portables/laptops.

Btw. I'm not writing this to be a "hater", I simply want Apple to improve, and make more ergonomic and practical products again.
 
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zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,929
3,677
I have all 3 generations of Magic Trackpads and think that the original version is by far the weakest offering. It's the smallest, has a weird mechanical click mechanism, the angle is a bit steeper than I like, and the AA batteries were a PITA (it often took quite a while to reconnect after changing batteries).

My favorite is the space grey second gen, but the current model is fine as well. I too get at least a month of use from them which hardly matters because I always have a lightning cable right there on my desk if I need to charge. I prefer the flatter ergonomics, the larger size, and the fact that I can click anywhere with equal pressure. I suspect you are in the minority with your complaints.
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,368
6,855
It's more ergonomic to write on a keyboard with a higher degree of incline, esp. for the three highest key rows.
You keep mentioning the ergonomics, but steeper angles on keyboards and trackpads are specifically not more ergonomic. They cause a sharper bend on the wrist and put more pressure in areas that lead to repetitive stress injuries than with flatter devices.
 

Jeven Stobs

Suspended
Apr 8, 2022
224
226
I also prefer replaceable batteries over integrated ones as we use rechargeable batteries which means basically no wires on the table to charge the battery and if the Batterie has gone bad, you can just replace it. We're still rocking a magic mouse and keyboard from a 2010 imac which out any problems, batteries last a month or two as well.
 
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Peter_M

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2018
231
185
You keep mentioning the ergonomics, but steeper angles on keyboards and trackpads are specifically not more ergonomic. They cause a sharper bend on the wrist and put more pressure in areas that lead to repetitive stress injuries than with flatter devices.
That's only partly correct. I'm obviously not talking about having a 45 degree angle or something, it's relative to the exaggerated flatness of Apple's current peripherals. Notice how hardly any other manufacturer makes such flat peripherals. Logictech's MX Keys keyboard is a good example of a more natural incline, that makes your hand position more stationary and comfortable, while Apple's keyboard is too flat (and using unnecessarily shallow keys).

I know about stress injuries as I'm a musician, and had to stop using a regular mouse with my right arm to avoid inflammation in my lower arm muscles. The track pad is less stressful for my wrists and underarm. However, the very flat and low profil makes it necessary to change hand position more, and click-and-drag feels less natural. I understand that there is a certain subjectiveness to this, how you sit, what kind of desk you use etc. I'll agree to disagree...
 
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Bug-Creator

macrumors 68000
May 30, 2011
1,743
4,668
Germany
Flat angles or even flatter angles aside what really sucked about the 1st Trackpad was it's diving board design.

Put it onto anything but a hard surface and it's almost unusable, try clicking on the upper half and you're in for trouble.

Battery on the 2nd gen also lasts for months here (mind you also have a Magic_Mouse attached which I use most of the times) so if yours drains that fast its either broken or you have issues with the BT connection.
 
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Bug-Creator

macrumors 68000
May 30, 2011
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Notice how hardly any other manufacturer makes such flat peripherals. Logictech's MX Keys keyboard is a good example of a more natural incline,

Well real ergonomic KBD are often tilted the other way as that is the least stressful option for your wrists but those aren't really useable for the casual typist.
 
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Tyler O'Bannon

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2019
675
1,084
This is the 3rd Gen I believe. The corners are more rounded to match TouchID keyboards that launched with the M1 iMac (and subsequently for individual sale).

Personally I think it’s great. Flatter surface is closer to it just being like touching the surface of your desk.

Battery life for me has been amazing. I only have to charge it every few weeks. I keep it connected almost 100% of the time. I use my Mac several hours per day.

If you are having to charge the battery that often, sounds like something is wrong?
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
7,434
7,239
so now I have to charge it about once a week or two, which is ridiculous. Why not make the thing a little bigger (to fit a larger battery)
Count yourself lucky that apple put the socket on the back edge so you can still use it while it is charging... unlike certain "magical" mice...

That said, shorter battery life between charges is the usual trade-off for using rechargeable batteries - you'll usually get far longer life out of alkaline AAs, even compared with AA rechargeables. Still, there is an element of form over function - they could have worked in a larger battery by sticking closer to the original design - but overall I'd have to say that the Trackpad 2 was better than the trackpad 1, with the larger surface area and lack of any mechanical switch (the "haptics" for regular and 'force click' really are amazing).

You keep mentioning the ergonomics, but steeper angles on keyboards and trackpads are specifically not more ergonomic.

Problem is, people have different sized hands, different typing positions etc. so ergonomics are rarely "one size fits all" - if that's your priority you really need a wide range of products to choose from. There's a far better choice of keyboards and mice if you go "third party" - I don't think there's much comparable in the specific case of the Magic Trackpad, though.

Apple have a tendency to go for the extremes - ultra low-profile, low travel keyboards, ultra low-profile mice - which is a bit odd when they have such a limited range of products - but they are susceptible to form-over-function.

The original Magic Touchpad and its contemporary keyboards were never that steeply angled - and while I like the Mk 2 trackpad I much prefer the old keyboard.
 
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astrorider

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2008
585
118
I know about stress injuries as I'm a musician, and had to stop using a regular mouse with my right arm to avoid inflammation in my lower arm muscles. The track pad is less stressful for my wrists and underarm. However, the very flat and low profil makes it necessary to change hand position more, and click-and-drag feels less natural. I understand that there is a certain subjectiveness to this, how you sit, what kind of desk you use etc. I'll agree to disagree...
If you haven't used "three finger drag" you might give that a try. I find less tiring to use, and quicker, than click-and-drag. It's in System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options. Makes moving windows around or selecting text a breeze.

Actually, looking at the trackpad preferences, I use almost every option except Launchpad and Force Click. Once you get used to them it's hard to go back to a mouse.
 

Unregistered 4U

macrumors G3
Jul 22, 2002
9,766
7,635
If you haven't used "three finger drag" you might give that a try. I find less tiring to use, and quicker, than click-and-drag. It's in System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options. Makes moving windows around or selecting text a breeze.

Actually, looking at the trackpad preferences, I use almost every option except Launchpad and Force Click. Once you get used to them it's hard to go back to a mouse.
Yeah, anyone that hasn’t tried this should give it a go for a week. You end up clicking a lot less.
 
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MajorFubar

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2021
2,061
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Lancashire UK
If you haven't used "three finger drag" you might give that a try. I find less tiring to use, and quicker, than click-and-drag. It's in System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options. Makes moving windows around or selecting text a breeze.

Actually, looking at the trackpad preferences, I use almost every option except Launchpad and Force Click. Once you get used to them it's hard to go back to a mouse.
Three finger drag should be on by default. Along with tap to click. They are game changers, bizarrely turned off by Apple at default and/or relegated to accessibility options, when they alone are responsible for the fact that I never reach for a mouse anymore.
 

Unregistered 4U

macrumors G3
Jul 22, 2002
9,766
7,635
Three finger drag should be on by default. Along with tap to click. They are game changers, bizarrely turned off by Apple at default and/or relegated to accessibility options, when they alone are responsible for the fact that I never reach for a mouse anymore.
There are folks that have difficulty with the complexity of touch gestures on devices built for touch. Better to leave it in “simple” mode for macOS and have the user make the switch.
 

Yog

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2010
24
6
Anchorage, AK - USA
If you haven't used "three finger drag" you might give that a try. I find less tiring to use, and quicker, than click-and-drag. It's in System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options. Makes moving windows around or selecting text a breeze.

Actually, looking at the trackpad preferences, I use almost every option except Launchpad and Force Click. Once you get used to them it's hard to go back to a mouse.
Astrorider,

I can't get my "three finger drag" to work. I think I have everything selected properly, but it's a no-go for me.

When I attempt to drag text, it looks like it works, but there's nothing in the e-mail where I drag it to.

Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!

PS: this is with my new iMac Pro. It used to work properly on my older Mac. It's frustrating and annoying. I now use cut & paste, but it's slower.
 
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