I’ve been waiting for Apple to update the 2007-vintage Apple Wireless Keyboard and 2010 Magic Trackpad since the first time OS X displayed a “low battery” notification — since then, I’ve had years of near-daily pop-up reminders that either my keyboard or my trackpad (both fueled by Apple’s official Battery Charger, no less) were supposedly running low on power. Although I preferred the minimalism of a wire-free desk, I reluctantly switched back to Apple’s old but still excellent Wired Keyboard to cut “low battery” notices in half, hoping that Apple would leverage 5+ years of Bluetooth and battery improvements to produce better wireless input accessories.
Last week, Apple finally released sequels to its three major input devices: the new Magic Keyboard ($99) replaces the $69 Wireless Keyboard, the Magic Mouse 2 ($79) updates the $59 Magic Mouse, and the Magic Trackpad 2 ($129) vaults over the $69 Magic Trackpad. The signature improvement to each is the replacement of AA batteries with integrated Lithium-Ion rechargeable cells, refueled once per month with an included Lightning cable — previously only used for iPad, iPhone, and iPod accessories. Apple also tweaked each of the accessory designs, one more significantly than the others.
Having given up mice five years ago (and radically improved a carpal tunnel-damaged wrist in the process), I opted not to test the Magic Mouse 2, but my colleague Dom Esposito discusses it and the other Magic accessories in the video below. My review is focused on the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2, neither of which I’d call “must-have” accessories, though each has a couple of worthwhile assets, and at least one surprising Apple device compatibility limitation. Should you buy Apple’s latest accessories, or go with excellent third-party alternatives such as Logitech’s K811 Keyboard and Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac instead?… (Updated November 2015 and December 2015 with new battery testing results.)