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They finally did it

02 Aug 2005

Today I received a very, very pleasant surprise after I checked my email this morning. It looks as though Apple has dropped another bomb on the industry and created what, at first glance, looks to be the be all and end all solution for any mac user looking for a 2-button mouse.

I've heard the complaints and I've heard the rumors. In the past there have been some very adamant discussions on the 2-button mouse and the necessity for an Apple branded one. The rumor sites have also been “predicting” such a mouse for a few years now but it has never seen the light of day.

Plugging the leaks

Apparently Apple is getting much better at pluging their leaks these days because I haven't heard mention of the Apple mouse for a very long time. I'm sure that all the rumor sites will suddenly remind us all where and when they were when they each broke the story about the 2-button Apple mouse. I'm also sure I'll choke and laugh when they do because I'll be none of them thought it would be announced today.

Mighty Mouse

The mouse itself takes on the familiar Apple mouse form factor. Very non-descript, white, with a small Apple logo underneath where your palm rests. The beauty of the mouse is that instead of the entire mouse being one button as it has been previously, there are now 4, for lack of a better term, “click areas.”

Although there are no visual definitions, the top of the mouse — where your fingers rest — can detect both a right click and a left click. There are also two small buttons on the sides of the mouse that can also detect pressure and will activate user defined programs — more on this in a bit.

The genius that is held by this mouse is the totally relevant consideration for both right- and left-handed people. There is an area in the mouse control panel in the software preferences that allows you to determine which button is the primary (left click) and which is the secondary (right click) button. It may not be ergonomics at its best but it certainly is usability at its best.

On the sides of the mouse there are two more buttons. These particular areas can activate either the dashboard, exposé all windows, exposé application windows, exposé desktop, spotlight, the application switcher, or any user defined application. Perfect if you find yourself using one application a lot more than others. I'd also venture a guess that even though the application may already be open, if you switch to another app, clicking on these side buttons on the mouse would bring the programmed application to the front.

And one more thing

Did I forget to mention that it's got a scroll wheel too? Oops, silly me, it looks as though I did. This is unlike any scroll wheel on any other mouse I've seen. It actually resembles the mouse on IBM Thinkpads moreso than it does a wheel of any type. The true beauty behind it is the functionality of the scroll. Not only does the scroll wheel work for vertical scrolling and act as a third mouse button but it can also scroll horizontally and at angles. It's about time someone put this feature on a mouse.

Mighty mouse comes in both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 flavors and weighs in at $49US ($65CDN) as of this writting. Of course all of this information is all based on my excitment for new Apple gear and some very light reading of the product page. Feel free to shed some more light on the subject if you have it or visit www.apple.com/mightymouse/.

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