Apple’s Pro Mouse is truly a joy to use… for about five minutes

“I think it’s safe to say that Apple Computer, Inc. makes the best one-button mouse in the world. Yes indeed, Apple’s Pro Mouse is truly a joy to use … for about five minutes. After that, most folks over the age of five unplug the thing, put it in a drawer and hook up a two-, three-, four-, or five-button mouse so that they can get some real work done,” Steven Disbrow writes for MacDevCenter.

“Given Apple’s recent attempts to woo Windows users to the Mac platform, it’s a wonder that Apple still doesn’t offer a mouse with two (or more) buttons, not even as an option for ‘switchers.’ This would be a very smart move because if there’s one thing that Window users love, it’s right-clicking on things,” Disbrow writes. “You see, in Windows, clicking the second (also called the ‘right’) mouse button on an object almost always brings up a special menu containing options directly related to the object on which you are right-clicking. For example, right-clicking on a disk will bring up a menu allowing you to format the disk, eject the disk (if it’s a removable disk), or rename the disk, among other options. These special menus are called contextual menus because their contents depend on the context in which they were invoked. (For example, you get a slightly different menu if you right-click on a folder rather than a disk.)”

Disbrow writes, “Now, it’s true that the Mac OS has had the ability to pull up a contextual menu or two for a while now. (I believe it was Mac OS 8 that introduced this ability.) But with Apple selling us nothing but one-button mice and forcing us to hold down the Control key when clicking (called “control-clicking”) to invoke a contextual menu, or to install special drivers to use a two-button mouse, it’s always seemed more of a “Me too!” implementation than a real attempt to catch up with this very cool Windows feature. Fortunately, with the release of Mac OS X, that changed in a big way!”

Disbrow goes into Mac OS X Contextual Menus in some depth here and, in Part 2 of the article coming Tuesday, he’ll show you how to create your own contextual menu items using Apple’s Xcode.


  1. Apple should “unbundle” the worthless unimouse from Mac hardware. I have a collection of these worthless things. The man hit the nail on the head.

  2. Bowing to overwhelming whingers, I propose a compromise mouse: add one button on both sides (let’s not forget lefties) which when pressed while the pro-mouse is clicked-down serves as the control key does — instant contextual menu.

    Then, as you’ll whinge about the lack of a scroll wheel, make that button a wheel which can also roll. There you go, full Windoze function with the appearance of having no buttons [on top]. Call it the “Less is More” mouse — you heard it first here. �2004 (hehheh)

    Me, I likes the pro mouse.

  3. “Hit the nail on the head” is right. Apple is YEARS overdue in offering a multi-button mouse! Pretending that control-click is an equitable solution is just asinine. The multi-button mouse is yet another casualty of Steve Jobs’ arrogance and of his apparent “if it suits me, it suits you” attitude towards Apple’s products. I often wonder what amazing products we’d see from Apple if it’s employees were free to create without having to fear a prima donna leader.

  4. I think for some, the uni-mouse would still suffice. However, for “pro” users, a multi-button mouse is needed. On that note, they should bundle an Apple designed multi-button (either 3, or 2 with scroll….or maybe the rumored scroll wheel mouse) with the powerbooks and G5s. Uni-mice with the eMacs, iMacs, and iBooks. It’ll be available separately as well, of course. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  5. Yes, somethings are really screwed up with Apple. They don’t offer an option of changing the mouse. They introduced a bluetooth keyboard, but when you order any machine (Power Mac G5), you cannot substitute the regular keyboard and mouse with bluetooth enabled ones, even if you configure your PowerMac to have built-in bluetooth.

    They want you to buy the bluetooth keyboard and mouse as additional items. Go figure.

  6. >I often wonder what amazing products we’d see from Apple if it’s employees were free to create without having to fear a prima donna leader.


  7. I dunno. If Apple were to introduce a two-button mouse now, years after the PC world, there would be much made of it from wintel users. “See! We’re better than Apple! Look, we had two-button mice before…they’re COPYING us!!!”

    I think they should just keep it as is. Or maybe introduce one, but very quietly, none of the usual fanfare.

  8. IT guy.. on the bluetooth thing.. you need to set up a new computer with a usb mouse and keyboard because bluetooth ones would need to be installed first. you can’t set up a new mac with bluetooth peripherals. i think i read it in a knowledge base file once.

  9. So all the issue for the mouse is having a Apple branded multi button mouse?

    I still do not get it. For the majority of Mac users the one-button and using the keyboard is enough. Users *truly* needing a multi-button configurable one still go for specialized multi-button (5+ and scroll-wheel) programmable mouse. So a basic two-button or three button (a retail value of $19 in some cases) is all people is talking about?

    It is not the case that having an Apple branded two/three button mouse suddenly new functionality would be available so what is the deal for Apple?
    Just because a small percentage of users would like it just for the heck of it?
    As I said, a two/three button mouse is not enough for pro work (media work) and adds nothing to functionality. I believe Apple has this very clear in perspective: pro-users, to whom the multi-button would be targeted, would buy a special one anyhow. Hence, the case rests on vacuum.

  10. And seems the point on the mouse issue is still missed. The FUD is: Apple does not support multi-button mouse, Windows does.

    False: Apple supports out of the box anything, Apple simply does not manufacture a multi-button mouse. It gives you for free a one-button mouse.

    Windows has instead hardwired OS NEEDS for a 3 button mouse. It does not support keyboard multi-button emulation and without 3-butts a user cannot work. They have been shrewed enough to turn a limitation into a feature.

  11. mind, I am not saying Apple will never do, I am saying the issue is discussing about Angels’ sex. The real issue is: people would like to have a free three-button mouse or be able to order one on the Apple site at time of ordering their computer. So it is matter of *free one* or *Apple branded*.
    Apple marketing surveys show them that a slim % of its users would care.
    For Windows switchers, they have already their multibutton mouse: they just need to plug it in in order to use it.

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