Apple Magic Mouse
Ergonomics, we've heard of it
Review For a company that pioneered the widespread use of the mouse as a computer controller, Apple has a surprisingly bad record at making good ones, particularly since the return of Steve Jobs and, with him, industrial design as the prime driver of product creation.
Magic Mouse: Apple gets it right at last?
Past Apple mice have either been ergonomic non-starters or have tripped up before even reaching the longevity hurdle. Who can forget the finger-crimping nightmare that was the circular 'hockey puck' mouse that shipped with the first iMac and the blue'n'white Power Mac G3?
Even its more hand-friendly successor was never entirely comfortable, thanks to its oddly pivoted button, which filled the entire upper surface of the mouse. That complete-surface button design was maintained when Apple introduced the Mighty Mouse. While adding the ability to - at long, long last - detect secondary, 'right button' clicks, this mouse also sported a tiny trackball that, initially useful, later stopped working properly as its mechanism filled with grease and dust.
Unwilling to do anything so... well... Windows as add a scrollwheel, Apple has thought different again. And this time it might finally have a mouse that stands the test of time and doesn't herald a new era for RSI lawyers.
Launched this week, the Magic Mouse - daft name - drops the Mighty Mouse's touchball in favour of a multi-touch surface like a kind of gently curved, shiny white trackpad. The single, total-surface button is still there, but it's easier to trigger than the one used in past Apple mice. And by flipping a switch in the new Mouse control panel - it's not enabled by default - it easily picks up right clicks.
Its record is not good...
The Magic is less oblong that the Mighty. Looking down on it, you can see no straight lines at all. Once again, it's horizontally symmetrical so it should suit the sinistral as well as the right-handed. It doesn't feel as thick as the Mighty and it's certainly more narrow, maybe too narrow for some. Anyone who likes to grasp their mouse tightly within the palm of their hand or has stubby digits isn't going to like the Magic's long design, but folk who steer mice with the tips of their long, thin fingers will.
Oh come on, it's been 35 years
We are still getting all moist between the legs over a slightly different shape mouse?
We've been using the wretched things for around 35 years - the same time difference as between the Wright brothers and the Spitfire. The damn things should be obsolete by now, like keyboards.
Where are the brain implants that let me type at 560wpm?, the data gloves or triangulation cameras that interpret my finger movements, or the flicks of my eyes?
Where is the matt black hemisphere that we can think at?
It's a joystick on wheels, (perhaps wthout the wheels) not a major technological breakthrough.
last year VW, having fitted 'start' buttons to some cars instead of an extra position on the key, started to talk about 'transferring the technology' to their other marques. My Morris Minor had a 'start' button, and that was built in 1955. Same with computer rodents. For glod's sake, lads, invent something new instead of obsesively tiddling about with what we have and then squealing like some airhead on 'America's next top muddle' about how it looks.
I've got mine...
All this talk of ergonomics and 'fitting in your hand' is utter claptrap. It is not meant to fit in your hand. It is not hand-shaped. It is meant to fit on your mouse mat, which it does perfectly. You slide it around your mouse mat with a thumb and finger, there is no need to grip it or surround it with a hand. Your forefinger and middle finger can lie on top in a natural position or you can let go completely. Stroking front to back scrolls down a web page and stroking back to front scrolls up. If you are on a wide page, you can scroll from side to side. A two finger swipe left is the same as the back button in your browser and swiping right gives the effect of the next page button. There is no visible light from the bottom apart from a tiny 'ON' led. It is much better for pixel accurate editing in Photoshop than any other mouse I've used. It seems to work on any surface including my shiny white desktop and trouser leg but a spongy mouse mat makes a more comfortable rest for the ball of the hand.
"Best mouse ever [...] Logitech MX700."
I have one of these (and have used it for about 6 years now without any problem). I can see your point (it is a good mouse). But I can guarantee that my other mouse (a Logitech MXRevolution) is superior in just about every way. Apart from the AA batteries, it has all the features you describe above and some cool extra buttons and and a much better scroll wheel. It's also much more comfortable to hold.
Interesting point on the RSI thing. I've never found scrolling ona normal mouse to be at all uncomfortable, but I guess for some people it might be...
It's a winner for me
The ergonomics of the new mouse are going to be different depending on the size of your hand. I finally got to play with a Magic Mouse yesterday. I have quite a large hand (well, OK actually I have two large hands - octave plus two notes on a piano) and small mice give me RSI because I have to scrunch my hand up to work the buttons. The Microsoft 'basic optical mouse' shape is a perfect fit for me whereas Dell mice and most of the cheep and cheerful ones are too small.
I have a Mighty Mouse and again its just the right size. When I saw the Magic Mouse I was concerned that it would be a problem but it isn't. Other than they're not shipping until Sunday at the earliest.
Anyway it made me appreciate one reason it is so much flatter. If you have a 'normal' mouse shape then you will have to arch your hand unnaturally to perform the scrolling gesture, and this will cause RSI. Try it on your current mouse and you'll see what I mean. Then try it with your hand flat on the desk.
I know the ergonomics won't suit everybody but I do believe that Apple has got it right for the majority of people; and incidentally I had no problem with the finger swipe gesture. The trick is not to try too hard, and to play with the sensitivity settings so that you are making a gesture that you find comfortable and that the driver software can interpret as a swipe...
Best mouse ever
* Takes two AA batteries..
* ..which can be rechargeable..
* ..and comes with its own docking cradle with built in charger..
* ..but if you forget then not to worry - a single charge will last several days.
* It's a nice large chunky size.
I've owned three since they came out several years ago. I had one fail last year and the charging cradles sometimes don't make contact and need a wipe but that's all.