Will Richardson

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Not Enough Magic

October 22, 2015Will Richardson

There were some minor murmurings this week after Apple released their new peripherals - The new (Magic) Trackpad, Mouse and Keyboard. (This was mostly drowned out by the far more significant news that the new iMac has a platter HDD). A very vocal portion of the internet were outraged that the Magic Mouse has a charging port on the bottom:

Magic Mouse with port on bottom

It’s easy to quickly dismiss this as a stupid decision and go about your day. But the mouse is supposed to charge enough for 8 hours of use in one minute or overnight for three months of use. This means that you will only ever see it awkwardly upside down charging less than 2% of the time - and when you’re using it the other 98% of the time you will be magical mouse that has no visible charging port. Had Apple opted to place the port on the front, the upper glass surface wouldn’t be able to dip down nearly as far as it does on the current and previous models. It also saves the mouse from having a little pointy nose/ mouth at the front - which would have made the previous model look far better in comparison.

Yesterday the batteries in my keyboard ran out, and so I had to stop using my computer and wait for them to charge overnight (Or bring out my classic wired keyboard, but that’s a bit too far). It would have been great to be able to simply plug in whatever device is running out of power for literally one minute and be able to continue working as normal. Having in-built batteries also means that remaining charge estimates can be far more accurate - my keyboard and trackpad have no idea whether they have 1.5V AAs or 1.2V rechargables, meaning that the drainage percentage is almost always off.

What the real concern should be with these new peripherals is what the lifetime of the batteries will be. Coupling the battery to the device means that as the battery degrades the device becomes more and more painful to use. You shouldn’t have to buy a new keyboard because your old one can’t keep charged any more. I own three wireless input devices, all of them over 6 years old. This isn’t a problem for this generation of devices because their batteries are replaceable and it’s just a matter of clicking a new set in.


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