The company's continuous iteration, however, has also paid dividends. Capacitive glass and hidden buttons may not be ideal in a standalone device, but they have made the trackpad on my MacBook Pro my favorite pointing device and all but eliminated the need for an external mouse—which, in turn, has freed me to work just about anywhere.
Skating to where the puck should have never gone
One aspect of mice that Apple hasn't quite mastered—at least so far—is its shape. Even discounting the complete left turn that was the infamous "puck"-shaped USB Mouse, the company's pointing devices have never really felt quite that good in your hand. Even the current Magic Mouse, sleek though it may be, is rather awkward to hold, and eventually gives me cramps.
Ironically, this is one issue that many of the company's competitors have tackled quite successfully. Microsoft's own line of mice, for example, includes many models that are extremely comfortable, even when held for extremely long periods of time, and Logitech has been manufacturing ergonomically sound devices for many years.
As good as Apple's design philosophy is, this issues exemplifies its dark side: The quest for industrial beauty sometimes causes the company to sacrifice usability and practicality in the name of better-looking devices.
The once mighty mouse
Apple hasn't introduced a new mouse since the Magic Mouse, which came out in 2009; it was followed by the Magic Trackpad in 2010. This could indicate that the company considers these two devices to definitively encompass its current industrial design language of glass and metal—or perhaps it's simply a sign that it has been otherwise busy, making money hand over fist with its mobile devices.
Either way, if history is any indication, we can expect that the next pointing device to come out of Cupertino's labs will once again demonstrate how much attention Apple's designers and engineers place on reinventing something that pretty much everyone else takes for granted.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.