Apple working on a new type of mouse with iPod-style click-wheel?

“Apple’s strict position on one-button mice could be set to change, as it has published a patent application

38 Comments

  1. This is a really cool idea. If the window can work in all directions, OSX could be taught to recognise gestures. For example, to launch e-mail, gesture an e, to launch safari, an s. Scroll back in Safari, just move your finger anti-clockwise. All done with one finger without having to move the main part of the mouse at all, and the entire mouse contains no moving parts.

    Nice one, Jonathan.

  2. It would kinda take the shape of grafiti in Palm OSs. Maybe not to the extent of typing with it, but bringing up programs, navigating menus, etc. This could prove to be a real sweet and innovative device for Apple. If they could somehow integrate it into one mouse that’d be awesome, rather than having two devices for navigation, because the keyboard works real well for shortcuts IMO but one device for all would be great.

    Then everyone could atke bets on how quickly M$ will create a crappy, not even close, “innovative” device for windows.

  3. They claim that they one-button mouse is easier for beginners to use. Their computers fully support two-button mice though, so I don’t understand why people complain about this all the time. Buy a two-button mouse and be happy.

  4. I have never figured out why so many people complain about this. If you want an ergonomic or multimedia keyboard you go out and get one. So if you want a two button mouse, go get one.

    In many ways, Apple’s argument makes perfect sense. Most new users have no idea how to use a two button mouse. I’ve worked with novice users, who with ten or more years of basic computer, still don’t know what a right click is. For ease of use, for new users a one button mouse makes sense.

    In my experience, former PC users, who actually used the right-button, want its return. But even more so, former PC users want the scroll wheel, and could oddly care-a-less about a second button. Power Users of Mac, Windows, Linux, and Unix orientation often want a two button mouse. But of those Power users I would say a good 15% or more use something other than a two-button mouse anyway. From 3-4 button mouses, to track pads, to tablets and pens to track balls.

    So if we say 50% of Apple users are ‘novice’ and or ‘intermediate’ level users with no desire for a two button mouse, and another 15% will use something other than a two button mouse, and than we have some percentage of the remaining 45% of the people who could use the two button mouse, but are perfectly content with a single button mouse. Why should Apple cater to the remainder. Especially when a two-button mouse is cheaper to purchase than the Apple optical or wireless mouse.

    I’ve seen Microsoft 2-button standard mouse for as low as $20. Microsoft, Kensington, and Logitech all make 2 button mice with scroll wheels for under $40, whereas the standard Apple mouse is $50, and the wireless is under $70. At those rates, a two-button mouse from Apple would cost near a $100.

    That’s not to say I wouldn’t buy it, because I’d assume it would be fully functional and stylish as iPod. And let’s face it for years, I’ve replaced my Apple mouse with other Apple mice, even when I could just go to Office Depot and pick-up something cheaper. I do have a Logitech USB mouse that I use with my PowerBook, but ONLY when I purely focused on programming. Otherwise, it stays in my desk drawer and I never give it a second thought. My trackpad or Apple wireless mouse offer more than enough power and convenience for day to day use.

  5. I use a 2 Button USB scroll mouse on my iBook. It’s just easier and faster to use when I’m doing my work. But I’ve also gotten used to CTRL+clicking too while just using the iBook by itself. I find they both have their uses.

  6. I use the Turbo Mouse Pro Trackball from Kensington. It has 10 different buttons and a clickable scroll wheel that with combination clicks can delivery 13 different clicks. I think the world could handle a two button Mac mouse with a scroll wheel. But this new mouse concept is way cool and typical Apple thinking outside the box. Take us up to the next quantum level, please!!!

  7. hello? anyone there?

    I second all those who suggest just getting your own mouse, but you’ve all forgotten one thing: the second mouse button is just an excuse for poor UI or programming! The fact that Apple sticks to one button mouse is also pressure for themselves to reduce the complexity of interaction, like a single key on the keyboard producing a single action on the computer. Having a mouse with multiple button just means the software can get away with more and more. Just look at windows! See how much shows up when you right click. That’s where they put the detritus of everything that should be in a command bar – which they don’t have! Think of the action button in the new Panther windows – all possible actions are listed in a consistent manner, and operable with the one button.

    I second including the two button mouse capability, even for third parties. But it’s amazing to me Apple still understands UI enough to know that the optimum configuration is, indeed, a single button. Whether or not it works well enough is another question, but it seems like they’re still trying!

  8. Sure, you can go buy a third party two button mouse, but I haven’t used one yet that had the quality or style of Apple’s Pro Mouse (“The Mouse” from macmice.com looks great but I haven’t had an opportunity to use one). I don’t have any problem with them shipping the one button mouse with every computer but I just wish they would offer a two button scroll wheel mouse as an option.

  9. Without having read the full patent application, is it a fact that this ‘device’ is indeed a mouse? From the brief descriptions it seems that it is vague enough to simply refer to the iPod Mini scroll wheel which ‘translates finger movements onto a display screen’?

  10. This is why none of you work for Apple. Going from 1 to 2 buttons is backwards in simplicity. At Apple, they are going from 1 to none.

    Have you noticed the menu items are more multi-syllabic and none sound like each other when spoken? This makes spoken commands much easier to distinguish.

    With the one-button mouse, Apple has kept all commands easily accessible, unhidden, in one consistent location. This makes programming them and learning them much easier.

    Also, have you seen an AppleScript program recently? Look at this…

    say “Are you ready?” using “Bruce” saving to “ready.aiff”

    …your Mac already knows how to understand complex English commands. (for more examples, see http://www.xvsxp.com/scriptability/ )

    This all leads Apple to creating a set of commands that are easily adaptable to speaking and listening. My vote: No buttons!

  11. I was just thinking about the same thing. On the iPod Mini box, it says that the clickable scrollwhell is a patent pending technology. It could very well be the patent for iPod Clickable Scrollwheel.

    Sometimes, the analysits and others think way out of the box and probably miss some obvious options.

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