Mossberg pans Apple Mighty Mouse, says Microsoft’s latest mouse is better

“Apple Computer is the design champion of the computer world. But the company has had one blind spot: the mouse. From January 1983, when it introduced the industry’s first mouse, through last month, Apple insisted on producing mice with just one button and no scroll wheel,” Walter S. Mossberg writes for The Wall Street Journal. “On Tuesday, Apple finally gave in — sort of. The company released an optional, add-on mouse called Mighty Mouse that allows right-clicking and scrolling. But in a stubborn homage to the old dogma, Apple designed the Mighty Mouse so it looks like, and can work like, a one-button mouse. Those clashing design goals make the Mighty Mouse harder to use than competing mice.”

“As with all of Apple’s mice in recent years, the Mighty Mouse has no visible buttons. The entire top surface of the shiny white mouse operates as a giant button. In single-button mice, this works fine and is kind of cool. But it makes it hard to do a right-click. So Apple built touch sensors into the Mighty Mouse that detect whether you are pressing its left or right side,” Mossberg writes. “Macintosh fan sites on the Web are already hailing this as another of Apple’s brilliant design coups. It’s not. In my tests, I found that the design makes right-clicking slower and clumsier than on a typical Microsoft or Logitech mouse with real buttons.”

“If you have Apple’s latest operating system, you can set up the Mighty Mouse so both sides act like a left mouse button, in effect turning it into a one-button mouse. Apple ships it that way so as not to shock one-button mouse lovers who have been living in a cave,” Mossberg writes. “The scrolling function on the Apple mouse is also somewhat compromised in the name of design. Instead of the tried and tested scroll wheel, Apple embedded a tiny ‘scroll ball’ in the top of the Mighty Mouse. It allows you to scroll vertically, horizontally and even diagonally. It looks cool, but I found it inferior to a scroll wheel and could never get it to work diagonally.”

Mossberg compares Apple’s Might Mouse with Microsoft’s Wireless Optical Mouse 5000 which he writes, “isn’t as slick-looking as Apple’s,” but nonetheless concludes, “Microsoft has beaten Apple on hardware design, at least in this one case.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Mossberg writes that he “found that right-clicking with the Mighty Mouse was unpredictable. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t,” but we’ve had no such problems with our Mighty Mouse units; our right-clicks work every time. Mossberg also writes that with his Mighty Mouse’s scroll ball, he “could never get it to work diagonally,” but our Mighty Mouse units scroll diagonally just fine with things that can be diagonally scrolled; you can’t scroll diagonally if there’s no point to which to scroll, of course. Mossberg also seems to think that the Microsoft mouse’s “magnifier” function is the best part of Microsoft’s mouse, but states that Windows-only function won’t work for Mac users anyway, so how is the Microsoft mouse really better for Mac users than Apple’s Mighty Mouse?

One-button mouse Mac users haven’t been living in a cave. They’ve been using the best personal computer operating systems and applications for over two decades; operating systems and applications, we might add, that don’t have functions and features destroying the user interface by being orphaned only to a second mouse button. The one-button mouse concept has proven to be very sound and it kept the Mac UI elegant and clean. The Mighty Mouse, because it comes as a one-button mouse by default, preserves the integrity of the UI and keeps developers from mucking things up for users as they’ve done with Windows.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
The Motley Fool: ‘Mighty Mouse may be the next step in Apple’s quiet crusade to lure Windows users’ – August 04, 2005
Review: Apple’s Mighty Mouse – Third-party USB mouse makers should be very afraid – August 03, 2005
Apple introduces multi-button ‘Mighty Mouse’ with ‘Scroll Ball’ for Mac and Windows – August 02, 2005
Apple’s new ‘Mighty Mouse’ provides audio feedback for clicking and scrolling – August 02, 2005
Apple’s mythical two-button mouse – March 19, 2005
RUMOR: Apple may soon debut two-button mouse – March 15, 2005
Apple’s Pro Mouse is truly a joy to use… for about five minutes – May 29, 2004
The time has come for Apple to ship a two-button scroll mouse standard – June 09, 2003
Should Apple reconsider the one-button mouse? – October 23, 2002


  1. I have no problem with the one button mouse and resent the notion I live in a cave. Whether Apple messed up or not, the use of a mouse is all what you’re used to and personal preference. I hate using the mult-button Windows mice. I always accidentally hit the wrong button.

  2. “Apple ships it that way so as not to shock one-button mouse lovers who have been living in a cave,”

    Yeah we are all dolts. I’ve been living under my pet rock from the 70’s.

    It would be just as easy for me to look at Walt and say “Mouse? You’re still using a mouse? What rock have you been living under? A USB tablet is far superior”. Because it is.

    MW “room” as in, using a mouse is like nudging a peanut around a room with your nose when compared to using a tablet.

  3. Furthermore, along the mutil button discussion, has anyone seen that Dell commercial where the 2 guy are sitting in a coffee shop? That has to be one of the ugliest laptops Ive ever seen.

    I love the “more is better” approach their designers take. Lets stick more buttons on these things because its so hard to launch a program without it. Ugly, just friggin ugly. The commercial goes on to show some guy looking at it with envy. Yeah, for that to be anything other than false advertising, he’d have to be using a Powerbook.

  4. I don’t want to get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. That means I don’t want to be clutching a mouse constantly, with my wrist basically in one position and positioned at an odd angle. That’s why I like the one-button mouse: a lot of stuff that I could do by clutching a multi-button mouse I have to use the keyboard to do. It’s faster to use keystrokes anyway instead of a mouse. Besides, a scroll wheel isn’t necessary: the page up/down keys and the arrow keys work for me.

    According to Mossberg, this makes me a cave-dweller. At least my cave has a nice view of the Pacific Ocean…

  5. Ditto on the flawless right-click operation. As far as diagonal scrolling is concerned, the resolution could be higher, but it works for me.

    I do agree that it is nice to have a tech reporter who is truly impartial. Imprtiality in reporting is becoming pretty rare these days.

  6. Excellent work. Mossberg may or may not be truthful here. I’ve not tried out the mouse yet, so I reserve judgement, but I still think it’s over-engineered for the sake of its looks, and Mossberg’s review seems to confirm that).

    But Walt has been in danger of looking like a fanboy for a while, so for him to slate an Apple product is probably a good thing. If people accuse him of being a fanboy when he bigs up the next OS release or Mac, he can point at this article as evidence that he’s being objective.

    I suspect that a lot of people will buy the mouse and think it’s great and will never even consider the competition, which may actually be better. I may get one of these, but I’m going to check out the competition first. (But I doubt I’ll be buying a Microsoft product).

  7. Just because Mossberg criticizes the Mighty Mouse doesn’t mean his review is anymore or less “honest” than SteveJack’s review. The mouse worked for SteveJack and he wrote that it did. Perhaps Mossberg had a defective unit or didn’t give it enough use? Perhaps they just have a difference of opinion. Don’t forget, SteveJack has criticized Apple harshly in the past over such things as lack of advertising, poor marketing and other things, too.

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