2006/08/08

New Apple Mouse Crippled By Design

The brand new wireless Apple mouse is innovative and cool, nontheless it also is crippled by design, thanks to Apple still pervasive rather close platform mentality.

The most stricking feature of the new mouse are its invisible touch sensitive "buttons" that allows the thing to look like a regular toilette soap except for a round grey spot, a tiny trackball that functions as vertical and horizontal scroll wheel.

At first thought, the idea of a trackball looks better than a regular scroll wheel, but a trackball is certainly cumbersome to operate with one finger, as a scroll whell regularly is. I guess the trackball is supposed to be rolled using the palm of your hand without moving the mouse, which seems to be a cool idea but while doing this, your fingers get distant from the mouse buttons, so you end up engaging in more hand movement than with a regular scroll wheel.

The toilette soap shape can not be said to be the least ergonomic of designs. My trusty 10 year-old Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer is itself an example of ergonomic design, though its scroll wheel lacks horizontal scrolling funcionality.

Moreover, the touch sensitive solid state buttons of Apple's new mouse deprives you from the primal feedback sensation of button clicks. It could take a while to get used to that button tactil unresponsiveness, if ever.

The worst of it all, beside the regular Apple premium price "for cool design sake" is that the wireless version of this new mouse model is just compatible with MacOS X, so for now you could use it only in Apple's hardware, that untill some hacker gets to program some Windows or Linux drivers, or untill some other company takes the lead and designs a really cool and ergonomic wireless mouse.

I am looking for a cool, ergonomic and functional, wireless mouse myself, but so far, it does not convice me the idea of taking up a USB slot for a propietary wireless receiver. I think the ideal wireless mouse should be able to communicate with the PC through a regular Bluetooth USB adapter shared concurrently with other wireless devices as a keyboard or hands free speakerphone.