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. Click and hold takes time — how about a detent in the clicking action — click and press down further through the detent to act like a control-click? Still has the no-button look. Call it the “Less is Less” mouse — � 2004 (heheh). Now add a contoured trackpad on the pointer and mid finger areas to act like a scrollwheel — slide your finger up and down as you require…and maybe even sideways.

    Ewww! Back after a cold shower.

  2. Less, you may have that trackpad already. Just a matter of visiting versiontracker, get the driver and configure which area you want to use as scroll in the trackpad.

  3. I have nothing to add to this topic… Microsoft has nothing better on us. It’s the PC manufacturers that choose what mouse they want to put on their systems. If anything, Apple is giving 3rd. party vendors a break (like Logitech, Kensington, MacAlly & etc.) This is such a non-issue.

    Steven Disbrow, SHUT UP! But a mouse and SHUT UP!

  4. So what? Buy a multi-button mouse if you want one and shut up, you whiner. Or maybe buy a PC and dance like Ballmer when it arrives. If your only gripe in this world is the mouse that you use you are indeed a loser.

  5. I personally feel that the best mice on the market are made under the Microsoft label/brand. I have used Intellimouse Explorers for years. The two buttons on the left side for the thumb are great for back/forward shortcuts, along with the wheel acting as a button. And the shape is an excellent fit for my hand.

    It’s the only Microsoft product that I recommend to other people.

    Mind you, I’d still like to see Apple attempt a multi-button mouse as an accessory – like the wireless keyboard and mouse.

    btw, I’m actaully left handed and find using a mouse in my right hand more comfortable as I can continue to write at the same time if need be. It’s one of the reasons I find it strange that rigth handed people don’t use the mouse with their left hand actually.

  6. For me I find moving my finger left and right all the time unpleasent (at least in this context) and a strain on my finger joint and wrist ligaments- over years this will tell take my word. As for buttons on the side I found I was nudging artwork all over trhe place with these things and trying to contort fingers to avoid it. I prefer control clicking cpompared to any present alternative I have tried, simply getting used to it isnt a good option I feel. However I can’t deny that on occasions scroll wheels and contextual menu buttons do make sense. So what we need is a better option that has the advantages of both without real compromise. Apple I believe are working on that, the iPod scroll wheel concept I suspect will evolve. Whether it will work we shall see. Otherwise an altenative multi button mouse should in all common sense be made available for those who prefer it.

  7. I guess I’m dating myself, but I was a developer for Mac in 1985. Anyone remember Lisa/Pascal? Apple spent $10 mil back then in user interface research with actual people before introducing the Mac. They found that new users were confused by multiple mouse buttons. I suspect that still applies. Unless, of course, you’re a windoze type going in…

  8. yeah.. i’m getting tired of compromise.. give us better mice damn it..

    i’m serious..

    i’m tired of clicking and holding.. for like 5 seconds for Mac oS x to context menu me…

    apple… come on…you’re already embracing context menus.. just give us option of 2 btn mouse already..

  9. Actually, a pen and tablet makes all mice seem crude and awkward.

    Besides, how many hands does it take to operate a mouse? One hand on the mouse one on the keyboard and control clicking is just as fast. Oh, wait, maybe, you’ve got your ah, hm, ya know, in the other hand. Oy.

  10. This is stupid, most mac users don’t need a 2 button mouse. All you have to do to use the option key as a modifier for a right click. I have used macs and pcs and I think the benifit of the one button mouse is simplicity. I always find myself hitting the wrong button with a 2+ button mouse so I prefer a single button model. If you really need a multibutton mouse then buy one and it will work nativeley with osx. As for the author(s) of this article; the apple pro mouse is in fact the best mouse in the world apple bundles it with macintosh computers for a very good reason. Macs are not pcs so stop trying to hold them to the same archaic, clunky and ungainly user interface standards pcs adhear to. Mac users wan’t a straightforward way of dealing with there computers, another good example of this design specification is the powerbook and ibook; these computers have no special lights and buttons like so many pc laptops do, this keeps things from being to ‘biusy’. From an industrial design standpoint these things make way more sense than adding a special button or light when the same thing can be done with software, giving the user a choice. I think the best thing about macs is that the user has a choice how simple or complicated the user wants the experence to be, as I always say: the same mac is just at home in a server room as in a kindergarden classroom or workplace.

  11. One button is just fine. Although I like a scroll wheel for the internet.

    It’s the design of the stupid Apple mouse that bad. I got a Mac Pro Mouse for my iBook, but the cable is too short to connect on the left and use on the right of the computer. Hey Apple, most people are right handed.

    What idot designed this piece of sh*T.

    I bought a Macally mini mouse, but it’s software makes the Mac crash.

  12. At my university, I help to oversee 10 computer labs, five of which are Mac labs, and whenever we replenish the Mac labs, we incur the additional expense of ordering two-button mice. Such mice aren’t “archaic, clunky, and ungainly”; they help get things done in the world, cleanly and efficiently. In Apple’s relatively long history, there are hundreds of successes and few stains; sadly, the one-button mouse continues to be one of the latter.

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