Alternate Option
Thoughts from me.
Monday, October 31, 2005 12:04 pm
Apple Mighty Mouse: thumbs up, but don’t buy one
The new iMac G5comes bundled with a Mighty Mouse: It looks like Apple plans to ditch the single button mouse, and bundle this newly released mouse with all new computers.

I was quite dubious about the Mighty Mouse when it was first released. And quite amused about the way it flew off shelves soon after. One of those buyers was my cousin, who bought one for my dad. Unfortunately my dad hadn’t upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4. Tiger, and was unable to install the Mighty Mouse software.

Not one to pass up on trying out new Apple technology, I happily installed the software and the mouse on my own Macintosh, with exceedingly low expectations.

Surprisingly, the nipple (scroll ball) on top of the mouse is quite functional. It’s small, but the sensitivity is sufficient that I can scroll through pages of text in single “strokes” i.e. before having to lift my finger off the ball.

I’m not sure diagonal scrolling actually works—not in Safari anyway. Left/right scrolling does, and quite nicely too. I like the scrolling nipple—it works well, but is also out of the way if someone decides not to use it.

Yes, the left finger needs to be raised when doing a right-click. And yes, that is annoying.

Apple has chosen to make only one physical clicking mechanism on the top of the mouse—the detection between the left, right mouse buttons, and the mouse ball clicks are totally electrical. Therefore if one’s finger is on the left and right mouse buttons when the clicking mechanism (“right mouse button”) is clicked, then the click registers as a left click. The same goes for clicking the ball itself.

For someone who uses a 8 button mouse (Logitech MX700), this is quite painful. Because, simply put: I can’t activate Exposé using the “ball button” while I’m dragging and dropping. Oop. I can use the keyboard, but… that’s a step backward.

However, I still am quite pleased that Apple made this approach. There are people out there (my mum) for whom 2 mouse buttons is one too many. And I was worried that Apple’s move towards multi-button mice meant that one-button mice would be forever off the market.

Not the case: by configuring the System Preferences, the Mighty Mouse still feels like, and functions as a one-button mouse + a bonus scroll ball.

I haven’t seen this being mentioned anywhere else, but I think Apple has made the best of its unique position as being the only mainstream one-button mouse maker on the planet. For anyone who buys a new Macintosh, the Mighty Mouse offers more than the earlier optical mouse did. And for those who crave a real “power mouse”, they can still get whatever 3rd party mouse they want from the shops—no change there. Value is added, features have not been removed, and Apple doesn’t compete head-on with hardcore mouse makers like Logitech. Very smart.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy one off the shelves though. Once this mouse replaces the old optical mouse, you’ll find all those power users eager to get rid of the Mighty Mouse on the cheap.

[posted with ecto]

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