Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Latest Apple Gadget....

Is not an iPhone 4. I walked down George Street yesterday, and there were literally hundreds of people queuing outside the Apple store, and more large crowds outside each of the various telco outlets between my car park and my office. Some of those people must have spent most of the day queuing. Good lord, some of them had set up camp on Thursday, with sleeping bags and chairs! Don't they have jobs? How on earth does someone with nothing better to do with their time than wait in the street to buy a mobile phone afford a mobile phone in the first place?

Any way, I have already have mobile phone, an iPhone 3G, which is running iOS 4.0.1 perfectly well (perhaps the display of SMS messages is a shade slower since the upgrade, but I have had no other issues/crashes/complaints, and I completely fail to understand all the gum flapping in the press about "iOS 4 rendering iPhone 3G's unusable". Poppycock, etc.). I'm sticking with my existing iPhone until (a) the furor dies down, and I can just walk into a store a get an iPhone 4 without having to queue; and (b) I have enough time to deal with changing phones and telcos (note to Optus: you're dumped). Yes, I know that iTunes will sync all my data and apps from the old phone to the new phone, but I'll still have to negotiating getting off Optus and onto Telstra (my current employer's preferred supplier) without losing my existing mobile number, and then I have to get the new phone re-paired with my car and blue tooth headset, and established as a sync client for various apps. No, it is not going to be a five minute job, and I have a proof of concept kicking off next week, and several other streams of activity that need my attention for at least two weeks. So later for the iPhone upgrade.

The new gadget is one that I bought on Thursday (when it was still safe to go into the Apple store): the new Apple Magic Trackpad.

First, I hate the name. Someone in Apple's marketing department has "magic" on the brain at the moment. Perchance too much exposure to Disney children's classics has induced some sort of overload in the fairy dust department? Whatever, the device itself is really working for me. I've hardly touched a mouse since I got it (well, them actually, there's one in my office as well), which is good, because I still have this wretched tendonitis in my right arm, and using a mouse isn't good for tendonitis. The action of using the Trackpad is quite different, because you don't have to "hold" anything. Just holding a mouse causes the muscles in your arm to tense slightly, and moving the mouse works both muscles and tendons quite a lot. Using the Trackpad requires much less movement, and it's a different movement to mouse movement. Yesterday was a completely mouse-free day, and my arm was better for it.

The Trackpad (I refuse to using the 'M' word) does take a little getting used to, but I've adjusted quite quickly. The only thing that I've had trouble with it is using the Marquee tool in Photoshop for large selections; a Wacom tablet will still be better in Photoshop, no question. Everything else - scrolling, clicking, right clicking, dragging - works perfectly. I do have to be careful not to rest my fingers against the pad by accident, because it does interpret a very light touch as a direct order, and does it's level best to act on that order. The result is usually annoying.

Right now, and until I can get the tendonitis fixed, this Trackpad is the perfect pointing device for me. I think I may find it difficult to go back to a mouse in the long run.

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