Why, Exactly, is Apple’s New Magic Trackpad So Expensive?

I got Apple’s new Magic Trackpad and Magic Keyboard yesterday, and I wrote my first impressions. I like the keyboard a lot, but I really don’t like the trackpad, and I’m planning to return it. It’s too wide, the Force Touch feature is useless, and it’s way too expensive. ($129 in the US; £109 here.) That’s 11% of the price of the base iMac ($1099).

But why, exactly, is it so expensive? What’s so special about it? Part of the cost is clearly the large rechargeable battery the device contains, but paying twice the price to avoid using my own replaceable batteries makes no sense. Yes, trackpads eat up batteries very quickly; I generally get 3-4 weeks of use with mine, compared to several months with the wireless keyboard.

Is it the Force Touch technology? If so, then it’s simply wasted. I quickly found that Force Touch gets invoked when I manipulate items in the Finder (Command-click one item, then the next, and drag them; Quick Look pops up). If I were to keep this trackpad, I’d have to turn that feature off, since I often click and drag items in the Finder.

So why is it expensive? I really don’t know. Some people will like the larger surface; I’ve found that even with the previous model, I only use about half of the surface. (I use the trackpad by manipulating with my first two fingers on the right side of the pad, so my third and fourth fingers can rest on my desk. Otherwise, those fingers cause confusion on the trackpad.)

I do appreciate the trackpad not being as deep; it matches the depth of the new keyboard, which is more than enough to perform almost any gesture on the device. But the width is just overkill.

Unless there’s some hidden feature in the new Magic Trackpad, it’s an overpriced device, poorly designed, which isn’t at all practical.

Note: As my friend Rob Griffiths has pointed out, the Magic Trackpad – as well as the new Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard – comes with a lightning cable, which Apple sells for $19. (You can, of course, get third-party cables much cheaper). But this does explain part of the price difference between the original Magic Trackpad and the new model. The battery is also part of the price, but it’s still a big jump to go from $79 to $129.