What it is: The latest Apple input devices now come with built-in, rechargeable batteries instead of relying on AA batteries that need constant replacing.
One of the most disappointing experiences occurs when you get a toy and want to play with it right away, only to see the dreaded words on the side “Batteries no included.” That means your anticipation using the toy immediately gets put on hold, disappointing you right away. This sour customer experience is the reason why Apple now includes built-in, rechargeable batteries in their latest input devices, the Magic Trackpad 2, the Magic Mouse 2, and the Magic Keyboard.
All three of these devices can connect to your computer’s USB port using an included USB to Lightning connector. The Magic Trackpad 2 and the Magic Keyboard let you use the devices while it’s plugged in and being recharged. The Magic Mouse 2 requires plugging the cable into the bottom of the mouse, making it impossible to use when recharging.
Prior to built-in batteries, Apple required you to use AA batteries in the Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and wireless keyboard. This meant constantly replacing batteries whenever their charge wore off. The typical solution was to keep a pair of fresh AA batteries around at all times so you could replace the worn out ones when needed. If you used rechargeable batteries, you could constantly recharge one pair of AA batteries while using another pair.
The problem with this solution was that it was still a pain in the neck to use AA batteries. If you failed to recharge a pair of AA batteries or keep a spare pair of AA batteries around, then you’d have to wait around and not use your input device, which is just a nuisance you don’t need.
That’s why something as simple as built-in batteries is such a trivial but major innovation. The AA batteries worked just fine, but they made using Apple’s input devices less convenient. By removing this minor irritation, Apple’s latest input devices are far simpler to use with much less annoying problems like constantly changing out AA batteries.
This constant attention to detail is what makes fans so loyal to Apple. Other companies may make rechargeable keyboards with built-in batteries, but you’d have to plug them in a dock overnight, which means if you forget, you can’t use a dead keyboard.
Apple’s solution allowing the Lightning connector to recharge their input devices simply gives you the ability to recharge a device while using it at the same time (except for the Magic Mouse 2). If you want to use a wireless input device, Apple just made their keyboard and trackpad far more appealing. In the PC world, PCs typically come with cheap keyboards and mice, so people often buy better ones. With a Macintosh, you are more likely to keep and use the input devices that come with your computer.
The Magic Trackpad 2 is even more important because it uses Force Touch, which lets you press on its surface to control your Macintosh. While not crucial, it’s just one more way to give you control over your computer that ordinary trackpads can’t offer. This separates the Magic Trackpad 2 from ordinary trackpads and makes those ordinary trackpads obsolete.
By themselves, Apple’s latest input devices aren’t revolutionary, but they are important because they make the user experience just a little bit better. With such steady improvements, the Macintosh is even more appealing. Look in the PC world to see how little low-cost PCs try to improve on the user experience. Microsoft and other companies are now offering premium PCs in an attempt to reverse this cheap perception of PCs, but it’s probably too late. PCs have long been known for their low cost so the majority of PC users will simply accept cheap prices in return for substandard equipment. Macintosh users often appreciate quality, so the Magic Trackpad 2, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Keyboard just give them one more reason to stay with a Macintosh.