A “personal” computer does work for us on a personal basis. We make it fit our needs. Apple’s new Mighty Mouse for Mac and Windows gets personal. Good? Bad? Mixed?
I finally bought a Mighty Mouse. Apple “thought different”. As with any mouse, keyboard, display combo, your mileage may vary. Here’s why.
Apple shipped the first commercial “mouse” as we know it back in 1984 with the first Mac. It took a decade to catch on in the PC world. Apple continued to sell, in various shapes and sizes, a simple, single-button mouse.
The rest of the Windows world adapted to a two-button, or multi-button, and eventually scroll-wheel mice in every shape, size, color and “feel” you could imagine.
My favorite mouse the past few years has been the Microsoft Intellimouse. Why? Good feel, nice clicks, customization. It’s also the last Microsoft product I own and use.
Why Apple stuck with a single button mouse is open to argumentation and debate and speculation. A quick check of about two dozen Windows mouse users in an office in LA recently revealed what most of us already know. Most people have no clue what “right-click” means on a mouse, rendering the multi-button issue a moot point.
As usual, Apple thought different. Mac OS X has long had context sensitive capability built in. Control-click and you get pretty much the same as Windows PC users “right-click.”
Interestingly, most Mac users don’t know you can “control-click” and get extra menu selections. Again, the two-button, multi-button issue might be over blown as a point of contention among the clicking masses.
10 years after everyone else, Apple designs, develops, produces, and ships a multi-button mouse that pretty much looks exactly like their current single-button mouse. Why?
Let’s leave the argument for those who have more time and are so inclined. Is Mighty Mouse worth a look?
In a word, yes. Why? Just as Mac OS X, Macs in general, need a little extra time (think of those 125 Apple Stores) to explain the virtues vs. Windows-based PCs, the Mighty Mouse needs more than a cursory touch.
I walked into an Apple Store Friday night. I’d called earlier in the day but they had none in stock. This visit they had a dozen behind the counter and I bought one immediately.
Installation was a breeze. Install software on the included CD, reboot, plug in mouse. Following the restart, I went to System Preferences and looked around.
You’ll be greeted by an unfamiliar number of settings for the mouse. Left button, right button, scroll pea, left ‘squeeze’ button, right ‘squeeze’ button (these are the little buttons at the side of Mighty Mouse).
Otherwise, Mighty Mouse configures about the same as any multi-button mouse and not much different than my now-unused Microsoft Intellimouse. I set the left button and right button as normal (context sensitive on the right), and the “track pea” (I was partial to the term scroll “nipple,” myself) to Dashboard.
Both the left and right “squeeze” buttons were set to Expose’.
This past weekend was a busy one on the Mac as a number of web-based projects were due, so the Mighty Mouse got a mighty workout.
The first two days were not comfortable. Mighty Mouse scrolls very smoothly so point and click is actually enhanced over the Microsoft mouse. It took little time to get adjust to the fact that there’s no actual “button” on the top of the mouse. Just areas that your finger clicks. That’s nice as precise positioning isn’t required.
The scroll pea is a pleasure and very smooth. It’s an improvement over the Microsoft mouse scroll wheel as the Mighty Mouse pea scrolls left and right. In certain applications, it will scroll diagonally, too. That’s all very cool.
“The first couple of days were a bit painful. Movements were different, clicking was different, squeezing was different, the overall “feel” of the mouse was different. By Monday, I was in love with Mighty Mouse.”I had a major problem with the “feel” of Mighty Mouse. For two days. Then something interesting happened. First, I had a problem with how I held the mouse and moved the point around the screen. I squeezed.
In the Microsoft mouse that little extra “squeeze” as I physically moved the mouse caused no trouble. The small “squeeze” buttons were too high on the mouse to actually click, so nothing happened.
On Mighty Mouse, the squeeze buttons are more forward and lower. By the way, Mighty Mouse is lower and smaller than the Microsoft mouse.
That extra “squeeze” caused Expose’ to evacuate the screen a few dozen times when I least expected, or needed it. After two days of not changing my squeeze habit, I simply turned off the two squeeze buttons (I’d never used them even on the Microsoft mouse).
That ended my problems and started something else.
Mighty Mouse disappeared. No, I didn’t lose it and it wasn’t stolen. Just like Mac OS X, Mighty Mouse got out of my way. The track pea (or scroll pea or scroll nipple; you choose) just worked, left or right, up or down.
My hand became more relaxed on the fingers as the pressure to click wasn’t as obvious as on the Microsoft mouse.
The first couple of days were a bit painful. Movements were different, clicking was different, squeezing was different, the overall “feel” of the mouse was different. By Monday, I was in love with Mighty Mouse.
Why? It’s an improvement over the Microsoft mouse in just the right ways. Touch. Functions. Elegance. Scrolling. Feel. Any $10 mouse provides similar functions but usually feels like a brick that you’re expecting to explode any second.
The highly acclaimed Microsoft mouse feels huge and awkward and bulky and soooo 1998 after using Mighty Mouse for just a few days. That says something.
Mighty Mouse disappears and lets you do what you want a mouse to do without being obvious. That’s waaaaay cool. It’s also very much like the Mac, Mac OS X (and previous generations of Mac OS). It gets out of your way but is always there.
Maybe Apple is 10 years late to the multi-button mouse game with Mighty Mouse, but they’ve managed to raise the bar once again.
A mouse is a ‘personal’ thing and takes time to get the right ‘feel’ in your hand. If you give Mighty Mouse a few days of use, you’ll be impressed. I was. I am.