Apple User Interface

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One of the trends I have been noticing with Apple user interface (for its hardware) in the recent years that the basic usability of these devices has been going downhill on a consistent basis.

Here are some of my observations (though some with older hardware):

  • I have several Mighty Mouse versions, bluetooth and otherwise. All of them have problems with their rollers. Earlier versions tend to jump across the screen when they are off the mouse pad.
  • Bought many alternative mice (i.e. Logitech) over the years. All with jumping/skipping problems. Only to find out recently that Apple has been goofing around with their mice all along due to some polling rate ‘bug’. (See Mouse cursor skipping (jumping) bug in Mac OS X). I don’t know about you, I am particularly disappointed in Apple with this one.
  • I own many recent Apple keyboards, bluetooth and otherwise. About 50% of the keyboards display an issue with not registering keystrokes first press occasionally, especially when they are quickly pressed. One of my earlier C2D MacBook Pros also demonstrated this close to a year until Apple fixed it with a firmware update. Even after the update, it left something to be desired.
  • Touchpads are now becoming the worst example. First blow was the disappearance of “ignore accidental trackpad input” selection in the “Keyboard and Mouse” System Pref in 2008. At that point in time, it became impossible to turn off the tablet second guessing what you were trying to do. When you move small amounts, the pointer does not move. When you are moving, the pointer stops earlier than it should, etc. Like any other user, after a while, I adapted to it.

Unfortunately now, with the addition of numerous more gestures, the lack of a separate touchpad button which requires your thumb to be on the tablet almost all the time, and an overbearing error correction program, I am continuously fighting the touchpad. I am undershooting menu options, check boxes, buttons all the time, all day long, because the pointer does not seem to end up where you think it should end up. And this is on a 2010 17″ MBP, which is about 12 months old.

To me, that is where the rubber meets the road and Apple can not afford to drop the ball in usability. But, unfortunately, it appears that it already has.

UPDATE: I am not alone either. There are a few others noticing the same thing. Yet no solution. TrackPad Erratic After Upgrade to OS X 10.7 Lion.

UPDATE 2: We cannot turn it off according to this Apple document, Apple Portables: About the “Ignoring accidental trackpad input” option on computers with the Multi-Touch trackpad, it is enabled automatically, by default.

UPDATE 3: Apple released confirmation that this is indeed happening. It does not explain, however, why this has become so much of an annoyance with Lion. Portables and Magic Trackpad: Jumpy or Erratic Trackpad Operation.

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