A new mouse from Apple?

Apple introduced Mighty Mouse this month! After years and years of pleading and begging from the Macintosh community, Apple finally shipped a mouse with more than one button. We’ve waited for so long that it was almost anticlimactic. As you know, any mouse that comes with a Mac has a single button on it. Even when Apple got away from the awful hockey-puck mouse that first shipped with the original iMac, they dubbed their new sleek USB optical mouse the Apple Pro Mouse. I consider myself to be a pro, and a mouse with only one button and no scroll capability is not very pro-like. However, it was a night and day improvement over every other mouse that Apple had shipped up to that date.

Apple then took it up a notch when they came out with the Bluetooth wireless version of the Apple Pro Mouse. The Apple Bluetooth mouse was basically the same design as the Apple Pro Mouse—it just worked wirelessly. As a matter of fact, it’s still the best Bluetooth mouse for the Mac in terms of problem-free connectivity and smooth tracking. This is all great; however, most pros that I know have gone out and bought third-party mice with multiple buttons and scroll wheels. Why? Mac OS X and almost every application that I use have functionality in them that takes advantage of a right click. With a single-button mouse you have to hold down the Control key and click to bring up a contextual menu. I have a whole drawer full of them. Why so many? It’s because I haven’t found the perfect mouse yet. Sure there are some that I like a lot, and some that function quite well. None of them had it all, though. What I mean is that no other mouse had the right feel, problem-free connectivity, and smooth tracking. Each mouse that I’ve tried has had some of these things but not everything. So I finally conceded and started using the Apple Bluetooth mouse with my PowerBook. It just works!

Then I woke up one morning and checked my RSS feeds in Safari to see that Apple had announced Mighty Mouse.

Wow! Apple finally did it. They created a mouse with multiple buttons (sensors) and a scroll button. Great. I want it. One problem, it’s not wireless! Dang. Sure I have four systems here in my house that have wired mice, and the Mighty Mouse is going to work perfectly in those locations; however, for my PowerBook and other systems, I use Bluetooth wireless mice. I was shocked and disappointed that Apple didn’t announce the Bluetooth version of this mouse even if it was coming at a later date. I’m sure they’re working on it, but it would have been nice to have it on the day Mighty Mouse was announced.

Nonetheless, I ordered a few of the Mighty Mice from the online Apple store. They showed up and I plugged one in and installed the driver. Driver, you ask? Yes, you need to install the driver (which only works in Tiger) if you want to be able to program the buttons. Otherwise, the mouse will function in its default mode of left side=primary click, right side=secondary click (Control-click), and scroll button=scrolling. Once I installed the driver and went into the System Preferences I got my second disappointment. The Mighty Mouse has two programmable side buttons; however, the buttons work as one. In other words, you can press either the left or right side or squeeze them together but either method can only be programmed to do one thing. I had hopes that I would be able to program the left side button for the Back feature in Safari and the right side button for the Forward function in Safari. It appears that this can’t be done. Although the mouse currently requires you to install a driver, I’m sure that Apple will build this driver into a future update of Tiger.

It may seem like I’m giving Apple a hard time about this mouse, and as much as I love Apple products, I am. Why? I’ve come to expect great things from Apple. If you’re going to call something “Mighty” or “Pro” then it should be mighty or professional.

On the positive side, the mouse performs as smooth as silk. It has the kind of precision that I’ve come to expect from an Apple-branded mouse. This is something that Apple gets better than any other manufacturer. I also absolutely love the scroll button (as some are calling it the “nipple”—no comment). Being able to scroll in 360° is simply genius. It’s also a button and can be programmed to do something. I have mine set to open Dashboard. Apple also did something extremely clever and Apple-like: Although there is a distinct left and right side of the mouse, the mouse appears as one single smooth surface just like the Pro mouse. Instead of making clickable buttons cut into the plastic, they have installed sensors under the left and right side of the mouse. So if you wanted, you could make both sides the primary click and it would act just like a one-button Apple Pro mouse with a scroll button. For left-handed users, they could program the sides to be opposite of the default so that the right side becomes the primary click and the left side becomes the secondary click. Since these settings are user specific, each person with a User account on your Mac could work the way they wanted.

The Bottom Line
The Mighty Mouse is cool! It would be a lot cooler if it came in a Bluetooth version and the side buttons could be programmed separately. Is it worth $49? Yes, if you want an Apple-branded mouse with multiple button and scrolling functionality. However, if you’re happy with your current mouse, then you could probably pass on this one. If you think you want it, you’re not alone. Apparently there has been some pent up demand for this mouse, as the Apple stores sold out of their initial shipment the first day. I think the Mighty Mouse will give Switchers one more reason to like Apple, and as soon as they ship a Bluetooth version, I’ll like Apple even more.

PRICE: $49.00
FOR: Mac
FROM: Apple Computer, Inc.
PHONE: 800-692-7753
WEB: www.apple.com/mightymouse
RATING: 4.0

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