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Is the Computer Mouse an Endangered Species?

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On Tuesday, Apple announced its new Magic Trackpad, a standalone version of the trackpad so familiar to users of Apple's line of MacBook laptops. The Magic Trackpad is designed to be used with Mac desktops as a replacement for their mouse, and TechCrunch's MG Siegler argues that its release indicates the beginning of the end of the mouse's reign in personal computing.

The notion of the mouse's disappearance apparently provoked quite a response. There was such controversy in the comment section that Siegler was prompted to write another article backing up his original argument. "I mean come on, it’s a mouse," he exclaims in his follow up. "Does anyone really think it’s going to be the main way we interact with computers in the future? It’s a 50-year old technology for Chrissakes."

I personally agree with Siegler. Computers will undoubtedly continue to evolve at their rapid pace, and with the proliferation of touch technology and other methods of input, the mouse could easily become a curiosity from the past within the next quarter-century. Personal computing will move further away from the desktop and into the more portable realms of tablets and beyond, and the mouse, which is a fully external and cumbersome device, will be too impractical to tag along. The Magic Trackpad is an early signal of the end of the mouse era.

Certainly, the mouse will continue to exist. There are some things that it does exceptionally well, and I could see it maturing into a specialized tool for designers, architects, etc. But the mouse will one day cease to be the input instrument of choice for the personal computing masses.

Apple’s Magic Trackpad Signals The End Of The Mouse Era

Easily the most interesting thing Apple unveiled today is the new Magic Trackpad. Essentially, it’s a larger version of the trackpads that ship with each MacBook and MacBook Pro. But it’s a stand-alone product, meant to be used with desktop computers. So why did Apple feel the need to make such a product? It’s about trends and the future.

“Looking at the big picture, more users are using our trackpad because there are more notebook users than desktop users,” an Apple representative told me today when discussing the Magic Trackpad. Laptops have been Apple’s best-selling computers for some time now. And as time goes on, despite some of the new desktop products unveiled today, we can likely expect the gap between laptops and desktops to increase. This will mean an increasing number of users who are accustomed to using their computers via these trackpads. So this new product makes sense for users who are interested in buying Apple desktops as well.

“People love the trackpad. People love those characteristics. So we wanted to bring that kind of design to our desktop users,” the Apple rep told me. So Apple designed the product (in conjunction with the wireless keyboard) to bring everything people like about the trackpads over to the desktop experience. Pinch-to-zoom, inertial scrolling, tap-to-click, it’s all there.

via Apple’s Magic Trackpad Signals The End Of The Mouse Era. Posted by MG Siegler.