Wireless input devices

Introduction

Pity the wire makers. Everything’s going wireless. And now Apple has a wireless input duo to keep your desk cable-free. All you need is a Bluetooth-enabled Mac – either built-in or using a D-Link DBT-120 USB Bluetooth Adapter. Sadly, older D-Link DWB-120M adaptors aren’t supported, so many current Bluetooth users may have to fork out £35 again. The snow-white Wireless Keyboard boasts an extra Function Key (F16), but lacks any USB slots (this thing really hates wires!). A wireless keyboard is pretty useless to most of us. What’s the point of having your keyboard 10 metres away from your screen? Even my laser-enhanced eyes can’t read a Web page from that distance. It will help people giving presentations via projection, and trainers and teachers could pass it round a room to let pupils take charge of their system. Otherwise you’d have to have an allergy to cables to fork out the rather hefty £59 for this input device. Apple eases the fear of someone else intercepting your data by including 128-bit over-the-air encryption. The company also claims that it has removed any chance of interference with AirPort wireless networks. The Wireless Mouse is practically identical to Apple’s current mouse – except for the lack of a tail, of course. Because it’s mobile, cables can get in the way when you’re mousing around. My wife is left-handed, and the battle for at which side of the keyboard the mouse should be left became almost as contentious as the toilet-seat up or down question. Nowadays our wireless mouse – Logitech’s MX700 – has returned our home to domestic harmony. The £49 MX700 comes with a recharging cradle, keeping running costs down. Apple claims that its non-rechargeable AA batteries will last three months for the mouse, and nine for the keyboard. A power-management system automatically switches to low-power modes during periods of inactivity, and an Off switch is there for times when you’re away from your system for long periods. Cost is another point against these input devices. The pair will set you back £118 – that’s nearly a fifth of the price of an eMac (including wired keyboard and mouse). Microsoft and Logitech sell wireless keyboard and mouse sets that retail for around £70. Apple’s premium is further accentuated by the mouse’s continued lack of a scroll-wheel. I don’t mind the lack of more buttons, but anyone who’s used a scroll-wheel mouse will laugh at this dinosaur. Sometimes simple is just too basic.
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