Magic Trackpad 2: Bigger, Rechargeable, With Force Touch for Any Mac

New rechargeable battery, larger tracking surface, and Force Touch capabilities

Magic Trackpad 2

Apple, Inc.

The Apple Magic Trackpad 2 is significantly different from the original Magic Trackpad. It has a larger touch surface and built-in Force Touch capabilities. However, it can be configured to mimic the original Magic Trackpad if you prefer. The reason for the change and the ability to mimic the original is Force Touch and the haptic engine that simulates the feel of mechanical clicking. However, the Magic Trackpad 2 includes other new features as well.

Magic Trackpad 2: New Look, New Battery

If there's a unifying theme for the 2nd generation of Magic peripherals—Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, and Magic Keyboard—it's the removal of the AA batteries that used to power the peripherals, and the addition of an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery to supply power to the devices.

In the case of the Magic Trackpad 2, the new internal battery allowed Apple to redesign the original trackpad and eliminate the battery bump that previously housed AA batteries. The tracking surface on the Magic Trackpad 2 extends from the bottom edge to the top. In the past, it stopped short of the top because of the battery compartment.

The result is a rectangular form factor rather than the square look of the original Magic Trackpad. The new form factor resembles the shape of a monitor connected to a Mac, allowing better precision in tracking finger movement and mapping it to the display cursor.

The other benefit of removing the old battery compartment is that the Magic Trackpad 2 now has a lower profile, matching that of the new Magic Keyboard. The keyboard and trackpad can be positioned next to each other without any change in height or angle.

Battery Charging

The new Magic Trackpad 2 may be a wireless Bluetooth device, but it comes equipped with a Lightning port and a Lightning to USB cable, which is used for initial setup and charging.

The lithium-ion battery lasts about a month between charges. Unlike the Magic Mouse 2, you can continue to use the Magic Trackpad 2 while charging the battery. You could even turn off the Bluetooth capabilities and use the new trackpad as a wired device, although there isn't much of a reason to do so.

Charging time ranges from two minutes to perform a quick charge that delivers around 9 hours of use to two hours to fully charge the battery for a month of use.

Bluetooth Pairing

The Lightning to USB cable connects the Trackpad to your Mac for the initial setup. If the Magic Trackpad 2 hasn't been paired to the Mac, the setup process performs the pairing for you. This eliminates the problem of over-the-air pairing when you're in a Bluetooth-rich environment, such as an office or a home gaming parlor.

Force Touch

The Magic Trackpad 2 incorporates Force Touch, bringing Force Touch capabilities to all Macs. The trackpad has four force sensors that detect the pressure with which you push the surface. The sensors allow the Magic Trackpad 2 to detect taps and deep clicks. In addition, because there's no mechanical switch for detecting clicks, the same amount of force can be used anywhere on the surface to register a click. This is unlike the original Magic Trackpad, where you needed to press a bit harder near the top than the bottom to register a click.

With the mechanical switch gone, Apple uses a haptic engine to simulate the feel and sound of clicking. The haptic engine is adjustable, so you can set up your Magic Touchpad 2 to feel like the original version, configure it for a light touch, or anything in between.

Gestures

The Magic Trackpad has no new gestures, although all the older ones are still present. This means there aren't any complicated new gestures to learn. On the downside, it seems like Apple isn't using the Magic Trackpad 2 to its full capabilities.

Mac trackpad preference pane

If you can't wait for Apple to add new gestures through an update, use an app like Better TouchTool to create custom gestures for your Magic Trackpad or Magic Mouse.

Final Thoughts

The Magic Trackpad 2 is a pleasant update with worthwhile new features that anyone who prefers a trackpad to a mouse should find appealing. Are the new features enough to warrant an upgrade from the older Magic Trackpad?

If you're a trackpad user, you may like the changes. A bigger surface area, a nice surface feel, and the Force Touch capabilities make the new Magic Trackpad 2 attractive. Also, you won't need to worry about replacing batteries anymore.