Jonathan Takiff: Accesories make Apple sweeter

Posted: March 01, 2013

WHAT MAKES Apple so hot - and the envy of all other electronics brands? Its ecosystem, largely. Apple-branded products don't just work well together; the goodies play even nicer when enhanced with accessories made by third-party vendors.

Nowhere is this synergy demonstrated better than with the new Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard ($99.99) and matching Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac ($79.99), which Gizmo Guy has deployed to compose this piece.

Apple users like to line up several of the maker's devices on a desk. For me, there's an iMac computer dead center, an iPad tablet off to the right side propped up on a nice, Griffin-brand easel, and an iPhone resting nearby.

When writing a column or blog, I find myself composing on the big computer while doing research on the iPad. Plus, I'm checking email and news alerts and making/taking calls and texts on the iPhone.

Now, this multitasking interplay gets even better with the Logitech Easy-Switch keyboard.

In the top left corner of the keyboard are three dedicated buttons to pair (via Bluetooth wireless technology) with your Apple products. For me, tapping button 1 sends keystrokes to the computer. Tapping button 2, I'm now entering text - say a URL or Google search term - onto the iPad.

Gotta respond fast to a text message on the iPhone? Activate button 3 and, like me, you'll be sending missives with much more accuracy and speed than is possible on the smartphone's virtual keyboard.

The Easy-Switch Keyboard also does triple duty controlling music sources on Apple devices, with shareable volume, mute and pause/play buttons.

Switching keyboard control among Apple devices isn't always instantaneous, though. The balkiest iMac needed about five seconds of Bluetooth "handshaking" before reconnecting to the wireless keyboard.

Logitech's keyboard variant has other strong advantages over the standard issue, Apple-branded Bluetooth keyboard, such as its curved, backlit, white-on-black keys, only about 500 percent easier to see and use than Apple's flat, slippery, faintly lettered keys.

And for those who like to think green, the Logitech keyboard uses rechargeable batteries, not alkaline throwaways.

A matched set: The Easy-Switch keyboard doesn't line up perfectly with an Apple MagicTrackpad, that square, aluminum touch pad that replaces or enhances a mouse and aims to emulate the swipe-and-tap finger controls of touch-screen tablets. But you can be sure the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad for Macs lines up perfectly with the brand's Easy-Switch keyboard and outperforms the Apple issue.

Tapping on the Logitech Trackpad's thermal glass surface requires far less finger pressure and connects with far better consistency - once you've dug up and loaded the right software from Logitech's website. Oddly, the software for the Windows 7 and 8 PC version of the same Trackpad is much easier to find on the site than its Mac counterpart.


Blog: philly.com/GizmoGuy

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