In addition to introducing a new 21.5" iMac with 4K Retina display and an upgraded 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, Apple also announced some interesting improvements to their computer peripherals that will begin shipping with the new iMac models.

First up is the Magic Mouse 2. There's not a ton of changes here, and as you can see from the image above the form factor of the mouse is relatively unchanged from the last model. It now comes with a built in battery which should last a month between charges, and can be recharged using the built in lightning port. Apple claims they have also improved the design of the feet so tracking with be smoother. The use of AA batteries in the old magic mouse was definitely the biggest annoyance, and although I'm not a fan of it for ergonomic reasons, the Magic Mouse 2 seems like a worthwhile upgrade to anyone who uses one often and has to keep replacing or recharging their batteries.

Next is the new Magic Trackpad 2. This is arguably the biggest improvement of the three updates, although one could argue that the Magic Keyboard 2 takes that title. I personally think the new trackpad is the biggest improvement because it includes the Force Touch technology from Apple's MacBook trackpads. Like the MacBook, the Magic Trackpad 2 uses force sensors and an electromagnet to simulate the feeling of a traditional trackpad. This allows you to click anywhere, which was a problem with the diving board design of the previous version. The new Magic Trackpad 2 also has a 30% larger touch surface than the last model, and like the Magic Mouse 2 it has a rechargeable internal battery which can be recharged via a lightning cable.

Last, but not least, is the the Magic Keyboard. For me the biggest upgrade here is actually an aesthetic one, as the previous keyboard was a strange marriage of aluminum and plastic along with a barrel running along one side to elevate it and fit in batteries. The new design with its internal rechargeable battery pack looks much nicer and fits well with the upgraded Magic Trackpad. Apple claims they've improved key stability by 33% via the use of a new scissor switch.

If you're not a Mac user you probably won't be any more interested in these new accessories than the last generation, but they all represent notable upgrades for users who do use any of the existing Magic accessories. The new Magic Keyboard will cost $99, while the Magic Trackpad 2 is $129 and the Magic Mouse 2 is $79. What's interesting is that the higher price of the Magic Trackpad 2 also means that swapping it in for the Magic Mouse 2 with the new iMacs requires a $50 fee, which used to be a free swap with the previous models.

Like the iMacs announced today, Apple's new peripherals are already available for sale on the Apple Online Store and will begin shipping this week.

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  • name99 - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    "Stand alone trackpads are crap because they are more limiting than a mouse, pretty much any mouse"
    This is an exceptionally silly statement. I don't know if you've never used an Apple MagicPad but I consider it far superior to a mouse. When I buy my next iMac, I will absolutely spend the extra $50 to get the trackpad, and will move my current MagicPad (1st gen) down to one of my older computers, thereby replacing the mouse.

    Regarding touch screens, you may think I lack credibility; but you realize that means you also lack credibility... All I am doing is reporting Apple's reasoning (which I happen to agree with, based on experience). But sure, I'll try the random guy on the internet over the company that has a track record of actually testing different UI modalities aggressively...

    <<While Microsoft and others now believe that multi-touch should extend to the desktop display, Apple believes this is dead wrong. “From the ergonomic standpoint we have studied this pretty extensively and we believe that on a desktop scenario where you have a fixed keyboard, having to reach up to do touch interfaces is uncomfortable,” says Schiller. >>
  • jimbo2779 - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    Can you touch a specific point on a display with a single tap on a magicpad? You cannot do that so it absolutely it's not a replacement for a touch screen, it might be all they have in place of a touch screen but is not a good for lots of use cases.

    And there is lots you cannot do with a great trackpad that you can do with almost any mouse.

    One obvious example is gaming, fast scrolling with a free wheel is another. With more time I could come up with plenty more examples but simply using both it is very clear that a trackpad it's no replacement for a real mouse.

    Apple marketing will never change that.
  • robinthakur - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    If you had used a Mac trackpad, you'd know that scrolling is accomplished using two finger gestures, and that's actually more precise than using a mousewheel. Perhaps you're basing your 'experience' on using Windows machines' broken implementations. I doubt that anybody is suggesting that a trackpad (Apple or otherwise) is a good tool for gaming however where the mouse clearly wins.
  • robinthakur - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    Sorry but no, I don't think that's accurate. On paper obviously, a touch screen looks like a much better proposition than a track pad. However, I use a MS Surface Pro 3 as my daily laptop and my Macbook Pro at home. On the Surface, the trackpad is barely usable with only a scroling gesture and this means that you HAVE to either connect up a mouse or use the touchscreen which is (horribly imprecise on such a high res screen for finger input and for things like long touches)

    On the Macbook Pro, the trackpad is the best I've ever used and really does negate the need for a touchscreen for 99% of tasks. It just feels far more intuitive and instinctive with the accurate gesture detection and I'm correspondingly more efficient when using it. If MS could fix the shambolic trackpad on the Surface and make it even 50% as good as Apple's have been for the last 10 years, this would speed Surface adoption no end. Having to reach out and touch a touchscreen in a standard laptop configuration is a recipe for RSI and mucky screens. Nobody I've ever met actually touches a touch screen laptop, they all use the trackpad or a mouse, which tells you how important the feature is for everything other than tablets, which are used in a different, and far more intuitive configuration.
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I can understand that laptops (small ones) have size constraint but they are god damn DESKTOP peripherals. We have enough desk space to use a good tenkey-ed keyboard with enough travel and tactile feedback, and a proper mouse with wheels and buttons. Why windows user don't prefer trackpad? Because they are inferior and expensive.

    And trackpad is Apple's equivalent of a touch screen? ROTFL. Good luck with your 'productive' device, iPad pro, which only has a touchscreen with fixed angle and no mouse/trackpad support.
  • blackcrayon - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    "Trackpad is the equivalent of a touchscreen"
    And your reply is that the iPad Pro, which features a touch screen, has no trackpad support.
    Expert argument there. I'm not sure you even know what it's like to use a properly made trackpad that's properly supported in the OS with gestures, etc. In any case they're still optional peripherals, I mean why not whine about something that isn't changeable, I'm sure you can if you try.

    And other than for first person games, I think a trackpad is a superior control device for a desktop computer. It's just that Apple makes the best trackpads, and this one should be even better with pressure sensitivity and more surface area.
  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    A trackpad can be decent for navigating your way around a UI with swiping gestures and such but physically moving the cursor around is miserable on even a great trackpad.

    A mouse with a scroll wheel (preferably a free wheel) can do pretty much everything a trackpad can do without any of the downsides of having to use one.
  • osxandwindows - Saturday, October 17, 2015 - link

    yeah I like my trackpad for playing games.
  • osxandwindows - Saturday, October 17, 2015 - link

    But you said windows users don't need a trackpad.
  • kamper - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    "I don't like the need for a lightning cable (don't own an iPhone, don't have one) versus the standard AAs."

    To be fair, all 3 components come with such a cable, so you don't have to supply your own. And I'm sure there'd be at least one included with the iMac. Though it would still be better if it was an industry standard like usb-c of course...

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