Magic Trackpad + iPad = MacBook killer?

Summary:Apple's new Magic Trackpad could make the traditional notebook form factor obsolete. An iPad, wireless keyboard and wireless trackpad may turn out to be a lethal combination for the MacBook.

Flying under the radar in Tuesday's desktop Mac revisions is a neat little peripheral that has the potential to hasten the demise of the trusty notebook computer - the Magic Trackpad ($69). Sure, it's just a Bluetooth trackpad, and yes, they've been around for a while, but the Magic Trackpad is different.

(Curiously, even though Faber-Castell Corporation let its 1965 trademark of the term "MAGIC-PAD" expire in 2007, Apple took a pass on the name.)

For starters, it shares the minimalist good looks of Apple's wireless keyboard, matching its pitch and depth so that the two align perfectly when next to each other. Also, because it's from Apple, the drivers are (now) built-into Mac OS X, so there's no funky configuration or third-party weirdness or incompatibility to deal with.

The potentially killer feature though is that the Magic Trackpad could turn the iPad into an almost fully-functional notebook replacement for many users. The first barrier to fall was the physical keyboard. When Apple added Bluetooth keyboard support to iOS 4.0 the iPad became viable for long-form writing not previously possible with a virtual keyboard. The second barrier (yet to fall) is that switching from using the keyboard to tapping on the iPad screen is uncomfortable and not very ergonomic. Anyone who's tried this configuration knows what I mean.

Sure, you can jailbreak the iPad and use a mouse, but that's a kludge - not to mention, unsupported and potentially warranty voiding.

Unfortunately, the Magic TrackPad doesn't work with the iPhone or iPad -- yet -- according to Gearlog, so we'll all have to collectively grovel Apple to add such a feature. But with Bluetooth keyboard support now available iOS 4, there's hope yet.

If you'd like to see Magic Trackpad support on the iPad there are several things that you can do:

  1. Tell Apple via the iPad feedback page
  2. Sign this online petition
  3. Reply to this topic on Apple's iPad discussion forum
  4. Post a review on the Magic Trackpad product page

While the iPad won't run Photoshop or Final Cut Pro any time soon, my MacBook Pro is starting to feel heavier by the day.

What's your take, could an iPad (with keyboard and trackpad) suffice for most of your computing needs?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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