Given how much Apple products have become reliant on touch-surfaces, the Magic Trackpad was introduced with little fanfare since the product is, essentially, an extension of the way of we have controlled MacBooks and even iPhone's/iPod's now for years. This is very interesting in itself - the product has transformed the way I control my computer, and yet the technology has been around for years. This makes one wonder why Apple didn't introduce the Magic Trackpad earlier!
Yes, like most Apple accessories it is on the pricey side, but at least this is one product where the value is not only present, but indefinitely redeemed. It is presented in a small card box with pretty much the same dimensions of the Trackpad itself, including some simple instructions and a reminder you will need *at least* Mac OS X 10.6.4. This is because 10.6.4 includes the necessary software to recognise the Trackpad.
Heres why I believe the Magic Trackpad trumps the Magic Mouse [bought either separately or found with iMacs]:
+ The product can be used anywhere, not just one a desk surface like the Magic Mouse. You could be sitting crossed legged with the Trackpad in your lap, curled up on the sofa, on your bed, anywhere. Whats more, the Trackpad spans nicely across the palm of your hand, meaning you can hold it comfortable in your right, and control with your left.
+ Battery life is an improvement. I can guess this is because, whereas the Magic Mouse combines both a touch surface and a laser-tracker, the Magic Trackpad has only a touch surface. It also requires 2 x AA batteries.
+ This is the 'biggie' - the gestures are unbelievably easier to perform, and of course, there are more of them. Everything seems far more natural than holding the Magic Mouse in a way that is totally un-ergoronmic. You could hide all the windows on your screen by simply using your fingers and swiping upwards. To activate Expose (see all the windows), just swipe upwards. There are plenty more examples, but these are the two basic actions that become second nature.
+ Better build quality, and in the long run, I imagine better reliability. The Magic Mouse seems to wear on the sides (where the thumb and finger grip) leaving dark aluminum, almost 'corrosive' marks. and the 'bars' on the bottom of the mouse wear quickly too.
+ You can get very creative with the Magic Trackpad and even use it in programs such as Adobe Photoshop/Aperture for 'pointing' and making actions with a single finger. Obviously these aren't primary uses for the Trackpad, but the product opens up plenty of possibilities.
I certainly agree with a previous reviewer who suggested that the Magic Trackpad wasn't "a requirement", but what it does offer is an excellent upgrade over a mouse. I was fed up of leaving my computer with a sore hand and wrist after using the Magic Mouse for months, but the Magic Trackpad is completely painless. I just wish I had ordered one earlier.