Working around the only problem with the new trackpad
It's not the cheapest thing you can buy, but Apple's new Magic Trackpad 2 is a superb device with, so far as we can see, just one tiny niggle which you'll see the first time you try to drag something. Try dragging anything, anywhere, and it doesn't budge: instead, you find yourself looking at a preview of the document or whatever it is. There's a reason for this, and there are solutions which, as so often with Pointers, we're telling you because we want to make a note of it for ourselves.
When you can, and when you can't, teach an old Mac new tricks
Today's Pointers is sort of a two-fer on the broad topic of using new gear with older Macs (and by "older," we mean four years or older). We'll talk specifically about the inspiration for this column, the new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 -- but we'll also talk about other types of things you may want to connect to an older Mac, such as new iPhones or iPads, printers, scanners, and other gadgets. Broadly, our advice is "approach with caution," but it can often be done -- with a little bit of important prep work.
Apple Pencil, iPad Pro get government OK ahead of November release
On Thursday, the FCC granted final approval to the forthcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the optional drawing stylus accessory, the Apple Pencil, ahead of a projected November launch. Previously, the FCC had issued approvals for the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2, but to date there's been no sign of paperwork for the Magic Trackpad 2. The iPad Pro-exclusive accessory the Smart Keyboard has also seen FCC approval, but Apple has recently noted that it will only be available in US format for the time being.
New Magic peripherals switch removable batteries for lithium-ion versions
Apple has launched new "Magic" accessories for the Mac, shortly after they surfaced in code for the OS X 10.11.1 beta. The Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 improve upon the original versions of each peripheral, while the Magic Keyboard joins the Magic range, with all three incorporating reusable lithium-ion batteries rechargeable over Lightning within two hours, replacing the previous reliance on removable AA batteries.
Might also see better peripheral support for iPad
A newly-published Apple patent application suggests several potential interface changes to iOS. The greatest of these is the "persistent overlay," to which users could add things like photos, music from iTunes, and links to web content. Patently Apple suggests that some descriptions appear to associate the overlay with the multitasking feature in iOS 4 and 5. Conceivably, recent or favorite media could become quickly accessible in the same way as recent apps.
Logitech trackpad gives Windows PCs multi-touch
Logitech offered an olive branch on Tuesday to Windows users who want the experience of the Magic Trackpad without having to get a Mac. The Wireless Touchpad provides the same basic concept of a multi-touch trackpad on the desktop with a five-inch 'buttonless' surface that can sit anywhere. Special drivers give Windows the support it doesn't normally have, including two-finger scrolling, three-finger page flip gestures, and four-finger app switches.
Mobee outs Magic Numpad accessory
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May be sign of Apple pushing OS X toward gestures
Apple is discontinuing the Magic Mouse, throwing its weight behind the Magic Trackpad instead, a retail source claims. In detail the person alleges that Apple Stores are not receiving new Magic Mouse inventory, and that Apple is in fact phasing the peripheral out of its product lines.
Thunderbolt ports allow two extra monitors
Two subtler changes with the 2011 iMac have been observed, according to reports. When ordering the new computer, a person can now choose to swap out the default Magic Mouse for a Magic Trackpad at no extra cost. Previously the only way get a Trackpad as part of an iMac order was to pay an extra $69.
Mobee unveils Magic Bar charger for Apple input
Mobee, best known for its Magic Mouse inductive charger, has expanded its charging to cover the rest of Apple's current input hardware. The Magic Bar uses the same inductive technique to charge Apple wireless input with a barrel-shaped battery area, including the Wireless Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad. The charger replaces the AA batteries altogether with a lithium-ion battery pack that needs only contact with the charging cradle to power up.
Unit holds two Apple devices together as one piece
Twelve South has launched MagicWand, an accessory that combines the Apple Wireless Keyboard with the Magic Trackpad into one unit. The tube-shaped device snaps to the underside of the keyboard and trackpad, securing both to the same base. The trackpad can be positioned on the right or left of the keyboard, allowing the unit to accommodate both right- or left-handed users. Once all pieces are secured in place, the combination can be used on a desktop or a user's lap.
Apple explains US Black Friday before sale
Apple has detailed the US discounts it plans to have on Black Friday in advance of the sale itself. The Apple Store will sell all iPads at $41 off, bringing the price of a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad down to $458. The 13-inch MacBook Air, all iMacs and all MacBook Pros will also see their prices drop $101; the discount brings the Air down to $1,198 while the iMac and MacBook Pro will cost $1,098 for the one-day promo.
Visual cues given greater prominence
Mac-only pro audio/video DJ and broadcast automation software MegaSeg has been updated to version 5.5, introducing a new Wave Viewer, redesigned decks and trackpad beat syncing and scrubbing compatible with MacBook trackpads as well as Apple's Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse. MegaSeg developer Fidelity Media says over 100 refinements are included in the update, which is free for MegaSeg v5 users.
Downloads available for 32- and 64-bit systems
Apple has released several support updates, including an LED Cinema Display download for Macs. Windows users can download separate updates that combine software for the new display and the Magic Trackpad. The display update, designed for Apple's latest 27-inch IPS panel, adds an option to the System Preferences pane that allows the display to automatically adjust brightness as the ambient light changes. Users can also configure the sound preferences to use the display for the primary audio output.
Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse made official
Microsoft today confirmed its repeatedly teased controller, the Arc Touch Mouse. The design is considered the first mouse to completely fold flat for travel and uses its namesake touch to achieve the goal: the center strip both serves for scrolling and as a multi-purpose area that handles middle-clicks and page up/down. Haptic feedback helps compensate for the absence of the detents that would normally accompany a physical scroll wheel.
Ubuntu Linux to get multi-touch this October
Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth on Monday said via his blog that the first Ubuntu Linux build with support for multi-touch inputs will be out on October 10. The software will be developed on the Dell XT2 tablet, but by the launch date, it will work with other computers and peripherals, including Apple's Magic Trackpad. The development team has written what Shuttleworth calls a touch language, which allows for basic gestures to be chained or composed into "sentences."
A mouse replacement?
MacNN has reviewed the Magic Trackpad, which was launched by Apple just over a week ago. The controller is essentially a larger, independent version of the trackpad on the MacBook, allowing people to use that system's multi-touch gestures in a desktop environment. The new device is also wireless, which proves to be both a positive and a negative.
WaterField releases two Magic Trackpad cases
UNEASYsilence has hacked Apple's Boot Camp update, extracting a Magic Trackpad driver, allowing any Windows user to take advantage of the new controller. Released last week, the Magic Trackpad employs the same surface-as-a-button design as the trackpad on a MacBook, but with an 80 percent larger surface. Multi-touch gestures carry over, including rotations, scrolling and special three- and four-finger swipes.
MS hints at mystery flat peripheral
Microsoft's hardware group created a minor amount of intrigue today as it posted a second teaser for an unknown peripheral. The controller doesn't appear to be either a mouse or a keyboard and, from a small fragment, appears to be a possible challenger to Apple's Magic Trackpad. In one hint, however, Microsoft told users "don't be so touchy... flat is where it's at," casting doubts on the trackpad theory as well.
User repair generally unlikely
Repair firm iFixit has published a teardown of Apple's Magic Trackpad, which was launched on Tuesday. The controller is said to pack a surprising number of parts into a thin design. Some of these include a Broadcom BCM2042 Bluetooth transmitter, also used in the Magic Mouse, and the Broadcom BCM5974, the same touchscreen chip used in the iPhone, iPod touch and MacBook Air.
Downloads available for Mac and Windows
Apple has released several drivers that bring support for the company's new Magic Trackpad. Mac and Windows users will be able to take advantage of the standalone trackpad, which supports the entire range of MacBook gestures such as two-finger scrolling and three-finger swiping.
Magic Trackpad seen as complement, not replacement
Apple in remarks today said it didn't see the Magic Trackpad replacing mice in the near future. A spokesperson asserted that Apple wanted to provide a "choice" and that the new peripheral was a supplement, not necessarily a replacement. Some features are better for a traditional mouse where others can use a trackpad, the company said.
Apple intros optional multi-touch pad and new LCD
Apple's introductions today were joined by two new, major accessories. The Magic Trackpad is Apple's first trackpad designed for a desktop and uses the same surface-as-a-button design as the pad on a MacBook Pro. With an 80 percent larger surface, though, it theoretically allows for more precision. It also has the same angle as the official Wireless Keyboard and is potentially more comfortable than the Magic Mouse over long periods.
Core 2 Duo drops from iMac line
Apple today announced an updated line of iMacs. The new series is the first to completely drop Core 2 Duo as an option, instead offering dual-core Core i3 or i5 at the lower end. Higher-end systems have a choice of quad-core Core i5 or i7. Dual-core CPUs are now rated up to 3.6GHz, whereas quad-core speeds have been boosted slightly to 2.93GHz.
Apple jumps to Xeon 5600 for new Mac Pro
Apple today launched its first update to the Mac Pro in a year and a half with a speed boost as well as a new display. The new pro workstation uses as much as two six-core, 2.93GHz Xeon 5600 chips for a total of 12 cores, or 50 percent more than the outgoing top-end model. They can Turbo Boost to 3.6GHz and have both lower memory lag and a larger 12MB of cache.
Apple expected to out new desktops, trackpad
Apple this morning has temporarily taken down the online Apple Store ahead of what's expected to be a major update to its desktop line. The company is expected to launch new iMacs and Mac Pros as well as a 27-inch Cinema Display. It may further bring out the Magic Trackpad as an optional input for desktops.
Apple gets closer to Magic Trackpad with filing
Apple's Magic Trackpad gained further credibility on Monday with an FCC filing for its approval. The document shows only the label location but does show a small, squared design that uses only Bluetooth for wireless. It also carries the same A1339 model name, consistent with Apple's naming schemes, and refers to the device as a trackpad.
Magic Trackpad may supplement
A possible component of Apple's WWDC unveilings may have been uncovered this morning as a leak has surfaced for what may be the Magic Trackpad. The design is a literal cross between the "no button" trackpad on MacBooks and the aesthetic of the Apple Wireless Keyboard that would serve as an alternative to a mouse for a desktop. Bluetooth would be certain, but the Engadget tipster didn't have any more details, including whether it the track would be unveiled today.