Apple Mighty Mouse 02 Aug 2005

60 comments Latest by porn

Here’s one the rumor sites didn’t catch… Apple introduces a “two-button” mouse. And, in usual Apple style, they have to innovate: There aren’t two buttons, there are two touch-sensitive planes. There isn’t a scroll wheel, there’s a scroll ball (for 360 degree/horizontal scrolling). And the sides are “squeeze sensitive.” Looks like it may have been worth the wait.

But the real innovation is concealed: It’s both a 4-button mouse and a 1-button mouse. It’s the first multi-button one-button mouse. If you want it all, you got it all, but if you just want the basics then the all doesn’t get in your way. It’s complexity without compromising simplicity for people who prefer just the basics. It’s a mouse with a magic touch. That’s design at its best.

However, here’s a question: Is this design too elegant for its own good? Shouldn’t designs imply their usage? Apple claims “you get the programability of a four-button mouse in a single-button design” but how do you know that just looking at it? How do you know there are four buttons? Should full function be more obvious?

60 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dan H 02 Aug 05


M Ceezy the Rap Pundit 02 Aug 05

Should full function be more obvious
I’m not sure if this is a rhetorical question, nor should it be. As Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I think Apple is starting to move in the right direction.

dmr 02 Aug 05

A two-button world? No way. I stopped using the 2-button scroll wheel mouse once I switched to the Mac; the one button is simplicity at its best. Apple’s interfaces are designed around one button (while Windows are for two) and the space bar is the ultimate scroll wheel.

And it’s hard to judge functionality from pictures; we should likely USE the interface before making judgments about it.

Jeff Koke 02 Aug 05

I’m pretty impressed. I agree with Jason that some subtle visual cue that the left and right sides of the mouse have different functions would be better design. Even a thin groove that intersected the scroll ball and faded away halfway up the mouse would provide enough feedback. Or light grey patches beneath the plastic cover showing the “live” areas.

Another thing I couldn’t quite glean from the photos… is the scroll ball an actual ball? Are we going back to the days of “mouse balls” again? That will really limit the useful life as it gets dirty and the rollers stop working.

Dave Fayram 02 Aug 05

Apple claims �you get the programability of a four-button mouse in a single-button design� but how do you know that just looking at it? How do you know there are four buttons? Should full function be more obvious?

Usually, yes, but consider that this mouse, while cool, is actually a migration strategy for most Apple users. Apple doesn’t want you to think about if the mouse has more than one button, as it might intimidate some users.

Instead, they have a mouse that grows with the user. It masquerades as a normal one button mouse until the user gets curios, and suddenly the mouse is subtly transformed for them.

Anthony Morales 02 Aug 05

Isn’t hidden power Apple’s “thing”? The name implies this mouse is more than meets the eye, making users who *want* advanced features curious enough to dig beneath the surface. They’re inviting folks to play around with the mouse to come up with very personal ways of using it.

Chris 02 Aug 05

Is it 1979?

whoopy-doo… now Macs are just like what everyone else has had for 20 years.

Next… maybe a CD-rom drive?

Stefan Seiz 02 Aug 05

During WWDC, after Steve had announced the Interl switch, one of the most asked questions was: “Does this mean we’ll get a two-button mouse too”? I thought that was a funny question, but here you go, we have it. Nicely done though!

PS: why doesn’t your MT remember my contact details and i have to type them in over and over again? My installation of MT offers a checkbox to “Remember me”.

John Lam 02 Aug 05

Remember Scotty from Star Trek 3(4?) picking up that mouse and speaking to it? A mouse is supposed to be idiomatic, not intuitive.

The fact that it’s not obvious how to use it shouldn’t detract from its usability. Now - the question is how well does it work in practice vs. my 4 button IntelliMouse Explorer?

Jason G 02 Aug 05

They took a cue from their solid state scroll wheel on the iPod as well. They use sound to simulate the ‘feel’ of acutal moving parts:

Mighty Mouse even sounds as good as it feels. The audio feedback built into Mighty Mouse provides an aural sensation that responds to your movements. A tiny speaker inside Mighty Mouse produces button-clicking and Scroll Ball-rolling sound effects.

But there is really nothing truly revolutionary about this mouse. There have been mice with as many buttons and horizontal and vertical scrolling for some time now.

What differentiates the Mighty Mouse is how Apple has executed it. As usual it is Apple’s attention to detail that wins the day.

And seriously - what company other than Apple could make news releasing something as mundane as a mouse.

Dave Simon 02 Aug 05

To Chris:

Yeah, Apple finally has a multi-button mouse. But I don’t think anyone was using multi-button mice in 1979.

And it’s certainly not like they are copying anyone. They are innovating while allowing their users the choice of the single button mouse (which is all you really need) and a multi-button one, for people who like that option.

Lets see what Apple did lead the way on. 3.5” floppy drives. Check. GUIs for the masses. Check. Mice for the masses. Check. Beautiful design. Check. (Most other companies are still trying to figure that out.) Standardizing on USB, which actually brought USB to the masses. Check. Firewire. Check. Circular, symmetrical mice that never knew what direction you were going in? Oh, forget that last one. The puck is dead. ;) Need I continue?

I’m thinking that the Mighty Mouse would be a great replacement for my Microsoft Intellimouse. I like the idea of scrolling diagonally in Photoshop.

A couple of concerns I’ve had about it though. These things are unanswered in skimming the Apple info on Mighty Mouse.

First, does the software provide any way of chording? That effectively multimplies your available options. For instance, clicking on both the right and left buttons at the same time has a function of its own.

Second, if the mouse is symmetrical, won’t it be difficult to press one of the side buttons without pressing the other? By that, I mean you have to have the right side of your hand provide counter-pressure for your thumb to press the left side button, right?

What they have considered is that many people (especially in their main market of designers) mouse with their left hand. Microsoft’s mice ignore these folks.

Tony 02 Aug 05

Am I the only one who thinks it is kind of pricey? Looks nice though.

Darrel 02 Aug 05

Interesting question. Interesting mouse.

I agree that a device should hint at it’s functionality. That said, this mouse does do that. It’s just that the ‘enhanced’ functionality is hidden. And maybe that’s a good thing. Let a person get using it intuitively, and then as they find the enhanced features, they can add that to their knowledge set.

If the mouse literally had 4 buttons, that’d maybe just be too much to comprehend at first glance.

For me, I won’t like it though…I need my ‘clicks’ on my mice. ;o)

Also, what does the squeezing do?

Chris 02 Aug 05

@ Dave Simon

lol… Apple did none of those things. With a 3% market share how can anything they do be considered “to the masses”?

Unearthed Ruminator 02 Aug 05

According to the specs, it will work with Windows as well (so yes, for the masses).

Michael Heilemann 02 Aug 05

Actually I did read a couple of rumors a few months ago, about a multi-buttoned mouse, but recently they haven’t mentioned it.

Scott 02 Aug 05


After the PC manufacturers copied it.

choonkeat 02 Aug 05

A confusion of priorities of learnability and usability. I agree with dmr on using it first.

pwb 02 Aug 05

Has anyone used it yet? How does it perform?

Brad 02 Aug 05

The Mac interface actually was designed with a two-button mouse in mind (in OSX you get contextual menus with a right-click just as in Windows, and I think you could get contextual menus in OS 9 too, I haven’t used it in so long that I don’t remember anymore).

The thing I’m most interested in with this mouse is the use of touch-sensitive areas instead of buttons. Clicking on mouse buttons is one factor that contributes to mouse-related repetitive strain injuries, and it would be interesting to see if this mouse will help avoid that risk by allowing people to just make a light tap instead of a click.

Ryan Schroeder 02 Aug 05

ugh, ugly. sorry.

Jeff Hartman 02 Aug 05

@ Chris:

Really man, the Mac vs. PC debate was mid-90’s and is pretty long in the tooth.

ed fladung 02 Aug 05

also, shouldn’t it come with some rechargeable batteries and a bluetooth chip? i love cords as much as the next guy but where’s the wireless version? coming soon i hope.

Darrel 02 Aug 05

“With a 3% market share”

Depends on what you are calling the market. Apple doesn’t bother with the commodity market of beige boxes in cubicles to run MS Word and Minesweeper.

Dave Fayram 02 Aug 05

@ Chris & Jeff Hartman:

No kidding it’s long in the tooth. It’s also decided. Go to any non-linux software/hardware/webware convention, look at how many glowing apples you see. Developers and designers are not stupid people. Heck, even at linux conventions you see a lot of PPC linux users.

If they’re switching en masse, and Apple Sales are rising faster than the market average, la revolution has already begun.

Of course, it isn’t certain.

Anthony Baker 02 Aug 05

It looks pretty sweet, but I’ll have to wait until they come out with a Bluetooth version — no more wires!

Wonder if they’ve got that version in a box somewhere (off the desk)…

Caleb 02 Aug 05


Why not simultaneously release the bluetooth version?

You know, to help support the now standard bluetooth module in all your laptops and iMacs?

I’d love to buy this mouse but I haven’t used a wired mouse for 3 years.

Stefan Seiz 02 Aug 05

Well, how much does a buttle opener hint to its usage. It is just obvious. So is this mouse, if you can’t figure out the additional buttons, you probably don’t need them anyway.
I like the design and would not want any coloured indication of the active button areas or such.

Actualy if you’ve never used a mouse at all and never seen someone use one, it is not obvious at all how to use it no matter how many buttons it may haver (yeah, scotty).

David 02 Aug 05

I’m a little skeptic about how this thing functions in real life. Since it does have audio feedback, I’m a little less worried, but the fact that it took them this long to deliver a multi-button mouse doesn’t give me any reason to believe that this is, in fact, *that* much better.

Alex 02 Aug 05

Re: Obvious function.

Like your web apps, this should be something that “degrades gracefully.” That is, even if you’re not aware of the four button function, it still works as a standard (for Apple) one button mouse. That truly is great design.

So, no, I don’t think it needs to be obvious.

Dan H 02 Aug 05

The Mac interface actually was designed with a two-button mouse in mind …I don’t think so. It might seem that way, because right-click is the same as control+click… other key + click operations include shift+click to select an area of text, and there are probably more. Apple always wants people to design for a one-click mouse, because context menus are not supposed to store functionality, just “extras”.

USB? Why not simultaneously release the bluetooth version? …Yeah, I haven’t used a wired mouse forever either, but that whole “speaker makes the click noise” thing probably needs USB-power. I change my mouse batteries way too often already.

sloan 02 Aug 05

Needs to have hints to its right button. Needs physical feedback, not just audio. Did they learn nothing from the 3G iPod? Make the whole body click like the old mouse, but have a pressure sensor to see which side you are applying the greater pressure to. Like the idea of the ball IF it is done correctly and doesn’t start sliding me diagonally when i want straight down. Seriously, such a small ball? Makes it a really difficult motion doesn’t it?

sloan 02 Aug 05

Oh, and Xeorex had a 3 button mouse when Apple engineers took a look. But they found through testing that it was too complicated. Ever see a kid try to right-click or double-click without moving the target by mistake?

Tony 02 Aug 05

I have no first-hand experience with this, but my understanding is that the Xerox PARC mouse didn’t operate the way a three button mouse of today does.

Brian 02 Aug 05

I didn’t buy a 3G iPod because it lacked tactile feedback. Same reason I won’t be buying one of these monstrosities. And doesn’t that scroll ball look a liiittle bit tiny? I can hear my fingers cramping already.

Ouch, Apple. Ouch.

Bob 02 Aug 05

I note the lack of bluetooth and I’m encouraged by it. I’m curious of the lot of you: does Apple’s bluetooth mouse irritate you as much as it does me? My wireless Apple keyboard is responsive and comfortable but the mouse has such a lag that it is unusable. The lag is the equivalent of half-an-icon worth of motion before the cursor starts moving. In a related topic, I’ve got a hardly-used, Apple one-button, bluetooth mouse to sell.

Dan Boland 02 Aug 05

Hey, if you go to Yahoo! right now, you’ll see the headline for this mouse’s release. Not bad for a company with such a small market share, eh?

As for the mouse, I’m with dmr, I kissed the multi-button, scroll-wheel world goodbye when I switched to the Mac. It looks intriguing, but I won’t be purchasing one.

Jesper 02 Aug 05

It seems that Mighty Mouse *does* have tactile feedback. It has one actual button, and the sensors are just there to know if it’s a left or right click.

Not everything needs to be obvious from the get-go.

Steve O 02 Aug 05

Looks cool, but I hope it isn’t a case of Apple trying to over-innovate something that is so simple already. Remember the original iMac mouse that was a little different? What a pain.

Matt 02 Aug 05

It seems that you should be able to scroll horizontally and vertically by using the two-finger method directly on the touch-sensitive area of the mouse. This is how the trackpads on the new iBooks work. It would seem to be a more elegant solution that the ball and increase consistency across the desktops and laptops.

Lanny Heidbreder 02 Aug 05

Regarding the scroll ball,

I don’t think you roll the ball itself. I think you start with your finger on the ball, then move it where you want over the rest of the touch-sensitive area. That’s what the figures (and, to an extent, the text) seems to indicate.


Do you know that from someone who’s actually used it? Because I can’t imagine that it would have a speaker-click in addition to a physical-click.


Mark 02 Aug 05

I don’t think figuring out the functionality of the mouse will be all that much a challenge. I mean, couldn’t it be assumed that most folks use 2 fingers on the one-button mouse?

Given that it’s highly unlikely that both fingers actually hit the mouse simultaneously, the functionality (at least for the right and left top buttons) of the new mouse should be revealed quickly after first use.

As far as the thumb and pinky buttons and the counterbalance issue, light pressure applied with the palm (also something I think would be pretty intuitive - even for lifelong Mac users) solves that issue.

Also, I think it could be safely assumed that Apple users are computer savvy, so the average user is not going to be afraid of clicking around the new mouse to check all the bells and whistles.

Jesper 02 Aug 05

Lanny: Quoth the page, “On Mighty Mouse, the entire top shell is the actual button. As with previous versions of the Apple mouse, simply press on the upper surface to click � the body pivots up and down to actuate the clever click mechanism.”

I’ve used the previous versions, and they did indeed both make a click sound and ‘depress’, ie make tactile feedback so you actually feel that you’re clicking - why there’s a need for a speaker for the click, I do not know. Perhaps right and left clicks sound different with the speaker? The speaker reportedly outputs noise when one is using the scroll ball, which seems nice - most scroll wheels have ridges that make these noises by construction, but the scroll ball looks smooth.

Ryan Schroeder 02 Aug 05

Interesting, Macworld notes that the Mighty Mouse defaults to a one button config (left & right act as left) and you need to turn on the right click in the prefs.

Cool! 03 Aug 05

Another post about Apple’s new mouse!

Mark 03 Aug 05

Should full function be more obvious?
I don’t think so. Basic function should be obvious, perhaps, just to sell the thing, but for anything beyond that, a decent manual will do.

pwb 03 Aug 05

So has *anyone* actually tried it out? Seems like a lot of speculation which could easily be sorted out by some experience.

And let’s be honest…the mice that Apple has been marketing for the last few years have been horrible. Making the whole top side a button with just two small patches to place your thumb and finger is just ludicrous. Never mind the lack of buttons and a scroll wheel.

Dan Boland 03 Aug 05

Making the whole top side a button with just two small patches to place your thumb and finger is just ludicrous. Never mind the lack of buttons and a scroll wheel.

I think it’s all a matter of personal preference. I’ve been having this argument with my best friend for years — I say the one-button mouse as you’ve just described is the most comfortable mouse I’ve ever used, and I wouldn’t go back to a multi-button, scroll-wheel setup. His perspective is the opposite; he loves his trackball and loathes the one-button mouse (and somehow says that the Apple mouse isn’t ergonomic… but the trackball is? LOL). He’ll never convince me otherwise, nor I him.

DSiv 03 Aug 05

A question for the one-button mouse advocates:

Doesn’ the lack of a scroll-wheel bug you? Do you actually have to pull the scrollbars on a document in order to scroll, or is there something I am missing?

Just curious…

Stefan Seiz 04 Aug 05

@DSIv. We one buttoners simply hit the SPACEBAR to scroll. Much healthier. A friend of mine had to switch to windows because of a special CAD Software. Since he switched he has this back pain. He directly relates this to the 2 Button mouse…

Now to the Mighty Mouse. Here’s my Reviev:
mine just arrived and i must say. Very well done. The nipple works perfectly fine - much better than trad. scroll wheels. It is actualy a moving part, not just a sensor. The mouse also has a “real” mechanical click like the previous one. The sensors sense if you intended a right or left click.

Only the side buttons are not perfect for me if i am in nipple mode. Since when my hand is in the scroll posigion on the nipple, my thumb is way to far back on the mouse to reach the left side button. Apple should have made the side buttons wider (almost double the width).

Minor grief also with the scrolling speed. Prior to installing the Mighty Mouse Drivers, i could adjust scrolling to a decent speed of my liking. After installing the driver, it got a little slower. Especially horizontal scrolling could be faster.

Even with the normal mouse (is that tiny mouse now), i would have always preferred to adjust the mouse (pointer) speed bejond the limit the OS offered me. Same now with the scrolling speed.

pwb 04 Aug 05

Puh-leaze! A billion people use a two-button mouse without getting back pain.

The space bar is hardly a replacement as it only goes down and jumps a full page at a time.

A one button mouse without scroll wheel literally feels like you’re in a straight-jacket.

Saying it’s a “personal preference” is a cop-out and dangerous since that lousy sentiment has caused Apple to offer a miserable mouse for a decade too long.

Mathew 05 Aug 05

A one button mouse without scroll wheel literally feels like you�re in a straight-jacket.

I don’t think ‘literally’ means what you think it means…

Dan Boland 05 Aug 05

Saying it�s a �personal preference� is a cop-out and dangerous since that lousy sentiment has caused Apple to offer a miserable mouse for a decade too long.

Wow, I didn’t know it was dangerous to have a personal preference, nor was I aware that the actions I prefer to take regarding what frickin’ mouse I use was somehow a “cop-out.” I’ve read some dumb shit on this blog (written some of it, too), but this might take the cake.

pwb 05 Aug 05

Sounds like you need a little trip to the dictionary.

“personal preference” is a complete cop-out and adds nothing to the discussion. You like it cuz it’s worse. Whatever.

Dan Boland 06 Aug 05

Sounds like you need a little trip to the dictionary.

Spoken by someone who writes things like “You like it cuz it�s worse.”

mocax 09 Aug 05

I’d like to see an Apple-designed trackball though.
The thumb variety please.

Logitech’s Trackman Wheel is getting rather rare, hope I’m not the only one in the universe to use a thumb-operated trackball :D

rw 27 Aug 05

I have tried it out, though more expensive than I care to pay for. I do like it - especially the multi-way scrolling. (Hopefully, some one will be able to enhance the Linux mouse driver to handle the horizontal part.)

The left and right “buttons” work just fine for me, and I have no problem with the “squeeze buttons”. (FYI, though the squeeze buttons function as one button, I have found you don’t have to squeeze both buttons for the function to work.)

Like wheel mice, I suspect I would only ever use the scroll ball for scrolling and not as a button, so for me, this is only a 3 button mouse, but with multi-way scrolling, I might pay $30 for one. (Given I can get a 2/3 button, scrollwheel, optical mouse for $15, $25 would be a fair price.)