Why no Apple two-button mouse?

Back on June 9th of this year, SteveJack wrote, “The time has come for Apple to ship a two-button scroll mouse standard.” Now that Apple has announced their newest mouse, the Apple Wireless Mouse, complete with one button (again), we revisit SteveJack’s opinion article.

“I have been a Mac user since The Beginning. I have used a one-button mouse, as per Steve Jobs’ decree, until mid May 2003. That’s a long time. Then, while in Best Buy, of all places, I picked up a Kensington Pocket Mouse Pro because I wanted an inexpensive mouse that would travel well in my backpack. And, of course, I liked the retractable cord that winds into mouse’s body via its “garage door.” After three weeks with it, I can safely say, the time has come for Apple to ship a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel standard,” SteveJack writes.

Full article in the MacDailyNews Opinion section here.


  1. I like the single-button mouse, but I’ll admit that I was hoping the Bluetooth would have two butttons and a scroll wheel. Actually, the scroll wheel is the big thing. And I know that there are several 3rd party vendors who make them, but no other mouse feels like an Apple mouse. I don’t necessarily want them to make it standard but I wish they’d offer the choice to upgrade. I won’t part with my Pro Mouse until Apple comes out with one but I do wish they would. Of course then everyone would jump all over them for crushing the business of third party developers.

  2. Any debate about the two-button mouse is silly. Apple should offer a two-button mouse (with scroll wheel) as an OPTION. This either-or question is a red herring. Apple doesn’t sell only one computer model; why should it have only a single mouse model in its product line?

    Those individuals who like the “elegance” of a single-button mouse can get one. Apple can even continue to use this as the default shipping product. But consumers should not be stuck with the one-button mouse as the only option. Computers are tools — and as such they should be about letting people get work done in the most efficient way. I find that a two-button mouse can still employ an elegant design and that it (along with a scroll wheel) is indeed a great aid in screen navigation and access to common commands.

    There is simply no good reason for Apple not to offer the OPTION of a two-button mouse. And while we’re at it, how about an ergonomic keyboard — again, as an OPTION?

  3. Long live the Apple one button mouse! It’s functional, it’s good looking, it’s more efficient and it drives home the point that the Mac is different and better and easier to use.

  4. The rumors are that a 2 button mouse is on it’s way (macosrumors).

    Having said that I’ve been using a 2 button mouse witha scroll wheel for about 4 years now, I can’t do without it.

    Programming the wheel click for cmd-h to hide an application instantly must save me hours of time a week.

    I could understand a one-button mouse pre-contetxual menu days, but now? Come Steve, bite the bullet, swallow your pride an join the rest of us in using a 2 buton mouse, or at least give it us a build to order option.

  5. Apple should stay out of the mouse buisness, it’s a slippery slope, you can’t please everyone and the profits are just not there.

    Third party companies can out compete Apple because they provide mice for all platforms, means higher quantity, reduced costs and more profit.

  6. I don’t under stand you. You do have an option.
    When you are at Apple Store you have more then enough choices for buying Different mouse. Again this is up to the buyer, if they are experienced with two button mouse, they know they should get one.

    Also how are you “stuck” with the one button mouse, are you stuck with Apple stickers that they put in with all the computers they sell? Don’t use it.

    Obviously you are not a novice to computer, so when you are ready to buy a computer, should you try to get what you want? and doesn’t the Apple Online Store have different choices of popular USB mouse? And what would you rather have, a high quality One-button mouse or cheap-o crap-o, low end 3rd party mouse?

    All of my relatives who bought Mac for the first time, never said “where is the two button mouse?” Only people who complain about this is people who have used a computer before so you people should be savvy enough to buy your own mouse.

  7. This two button causing confusion has to be a joke. If it has two buttons, then it obviously has two functions. If it has one button then it obviously has one function. Stuff like contextual menus are made obscure rather than simple by having a one button mouse.

    To say “if you want a 2-button mouse get a PC you f**king loser”.

    A two button mouse makes it easier.

    Now I have a pro mouse because I think it looks nice, but a 2 button jobbie would be better. It wouldn’t make simple tasks harder, but it would make difficult tasks easier.

  8. The minute the OS supported contextual menus as standard, they should have shipped an optional two-button (plus scrollwheel) mouse. And make two buttons standard on professional (Powerbook, Powermac) systems. Heck, how about a beginner setting where both buttons do the same thing – a standard click?

    I love my Macs. The new clear buttonless mouse (button in the case) looks lovely; it sits in the shipping container, while I use this crummy Macally two button scrollwheel mouse ’cause it’s got the goods.

  9. The mouse and keyboard that ship with a new mac are not free. You pay for them. There isn’t an option to NOT buy them though, for people who want a new 3rd party mouse or already have a 3rd party mouse you want to carry on using.

    I already have two keyboards and two mice (one puck, one pro), but I’ll be getting another set with my G5. It’s nice to have a spare, but I’d rather have �100 knocked off the price.

  10. Originally, Steve Jobs opposed to having cursor/arrow keys on the keyboard (saw them as useless if you have a mouse) as he attempts to put fewer and fewer confusing options (keys) in front of the user, but his staff convinced him otherwise. I think he’ll stick to his guns on the issue of a single-button mouse.

    Having a single-button mouse directs the future designing of the Apple GUI to continue to be simpler than the ones preceding it. If a multibutton/scroll-wheel mouse were “standard” then the GUI designers would tend to utilize it; left click, left click-hold, right click, right click hold, left double-click, right double-click, left drag, right drag….etc. You may say “That’ll never happen”, but just look at Windows. There are some functions that are difficult (perhaps a few that are impossible) to access if you don’t have a right mouse button. This is a very slippery road that leads only in the wrong direction.

    BTW: 1 in 20 people are left-handed. At least 1 child in each classroom is made to feel that MS computer’s were not designed for them. They must learn to constantly translate computer instructions and adapt to public-use systems. These are unnecessary road blocks to learning.


  11. -continued-

    For the physically challenged, the large surface of the Apple mouse is all the difference between being a dream and the nightmare of trying to right and left click those small buttons. You don’t even need fingers to use an Apple effectively.

    I am quite sure Steve is striving towards a simple mouseless/keyboardless GUI (“Think Different”) so even more people are comfortable. But, by adding a multibutton device would be traveling in the exact opposite direction in the eventual creation of a computer GUI that everyone can innately use.

    Although you may not be comfortable with a single-button mouse, you are able to use it. Much fewer people can use a multi-button mouse as easily as you use a single-button mouse. Why insist on inconveniencing the majority for your own preferences and desires to be more MS-like; dragging the computing world backwards from simplicity, and further isolating the weaker users? What could compel someone to be so uncaring?

    – Winston S. Churchill: “Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilisation.”
    Letter to Home Secretary 21. Nov. 1943, reprinted in, Churchill W.S.,
    Closing the Ring. Houghton Mifflin, 1951. p. 679

  12. If you think 2-button mice aren’t confusing, you’ve obviously never done tech support. It is probably the single thing more people have trouble with than any other aspect of using computers.

    I don’t understand complaining that a Mac “doesn’t even come with a 2-button mouse”. So what? You don’t need one. It makes about as much sense as an old-school X11 user complaining that Windows machines don’t even come with a 3-button mouse.


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