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iMac trackpad option aimed at notebook users

Apple has made its Magic Trackpad peripheral a pack-in option on the newly refreshed iMacs, signaling that it's on equal footing with the mouse.

Apple's new peripheral option puts the Magic Mouse and the Magic Trackpad on equal footing.
Apple's new peripheral option puts the Magic Mouse and the Magic Trackpad on equal footing. Apple

As expected, Apple updated its iMac line this morning. While the move to Intel's Sandybridge processors and Thunderbolt I/O ports were expected, one interesting change is in how Apple is bundling the peripherals that come with the machine.

Now users can choose between either the company's Magic Mouse, or the Magic Trackpad, a piece of hardware that was previously a standalone purchase on top of the mouse that comes with the machine.

"If the customer is more comfortable with Trackpad, there's a good chance they have a Macbook Pro or a MacBook Air, and we now give them the option," said David Moody, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Mac Product Marketing, in a phone interview with CNET.

While a small adjustment, it does send the signal that the two peripherals are now considered to be equals in Apple's eyes, even if some diehard mouse users would scoff at the idea of traversing the desktop computing landscape with their fingertips. Apple's next version of Mac OS X, dubbed "Lion" will also include expanded gesture support to take advantage of trackpads, making something like the Magic Trackpad a more natural fit for navigation shortcuts.

The Magic Trackpad made its debut alongside the iMac as part of a product refresh in July. The $69 peripheral is effectively the same trackpad that comes on the company's notebook line, but with more surface area and in a wireless form factor, giving people who are more used to it on laptops a similar control experience with multi-finger gestures.

Apple continues to offer the Magic Trackpad as part of a $69 bundle on its Mac Pro desktop line.