Next-gen Apple Mighty Mouse may drop ball in favor of touch-sensitive scrolling

Apple Store“One of the Apple fellows behind the company’s multi-touch iPhone interface has shifted his attention to a next-generation mouse design that will forego the use of buttons or a scroll ball in favor of a touch-sensitive housing, a recent company filing has revealed,” Katie Marsal reports for AppleInsider.

Marsal reports, “In a December 6, 2006 patent filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, iPhone interface designer Brian Huppi describes a next-generation Apple mouse design method that is capable of switching between operational modes based on the way a user holds or grips the device’s enclosures.”

“‘The method generally comprises first sensing in which hand position the mouse is being held, each hand position indicating a corresponding mode of operation of the mouse,’ Huppi wrote. ‘If the mouse is being held in a first hand position, the mouse performs according to a first mode of operation, whereas if the mouse is being held in a second hand position, the mouse performs according to a second mode of operation,'” Marsal reports.

Marsal reports, “The Apple interface designer said the first mode of operation may be a cursor control mode and the first operations on the display screen may be cursor movements on the display screen. The second mode, he continued, may be a pan and/or scroll control mode and the second operations on the display screen may be scrolling and/or panning movements on the display screen.”

Full article with patent illustrations here.

Related articles:
CNET review gives Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse ‘Good’ rating (6.6/10) – August 01, 2006
Apple debuts Wireless Mighty Mouse – July 25, 2006
Report: Apple to debut wireless Bluetooth Mighty Mouse soon – July 24, 2006
Apple’s Mighty Mouse Scroll Ball clogs too easily – July 18, 2006
ZDNet UK review gives Apple Mighty Mouse 6.6 out of 10 – August 31, 2005
Dr. Mac: ‘Mighty Mouse is the finest mouse Apple has ever produced’ – August 09, 2005
The Boston Globe: first shipments of Apple’s Mighty Mouse ‘sold out almost immediately’ – August 08, 2005
Mercury News: Apple’s Mighty Mouse looks ‘like the world’s most carefully crafted bar of soap’ – August 08, 2005
AnandTech: Apple’s Mighty Mouse ‘isn’t exactly perfect’ – August 05, 2005
NY Times’ Pogue: ‘I certainly prefer the Mighty Mouse’ to Apple’s standard one-button mouse – August 04, 2005
Apple’s Mighty Mouse dissected (with image) – August 04, 2005
The Motley Fool: ‘Mighty Mouse may be the next step in Apple’s quiet crusade to lure Windows users’ – August 04, 2005
Mossberg pans Apple Mighty Mouse, says Microsoft’s latest mouse is better – 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


  1. I’ve tried the Mighty Mouse. For a mouse, it’s okay, I guess. The trackpea is a nice idea, but the execution stinks. My buddies call it the clit!

    Why do people use mice when there are better alternatives? They’re the worst. Slow. Inaccurate. Wired or not, they’re still terribly clumsy things to use.

    I’ll stick with my tablet and trackball combo. The trackball is fast. comfortable, uses little space and stays in ONE place on my desk.

  2. Ever since the iPhone was shown I have known one thing – Apple will try to implement this feature in Leopard somehow to further the gap with Windows. However, almost nobody wants a touch screen monitor (unless they want an aching arm) but everyone want those features. The same features we saw on the iPhone could easily be placed on top of a mouse to offer the basic scrolling plus onscreen gestures. In typical Apple form they will start with some basic well-thought-out application and grow it from there, rather than confuse users by adding too many features.

  3. Man do I HATE the wireless Mighty Mouse. I even tried to pawn it off on some Mac friends and they returned it.

    1] Bluetooth implimentation sucks (unlike the keyboard which doesn’t).
    2] Left clicking doesn’t always work as planned. Great idea, but needs work. Tried using it in Photoshop, and couldn’t rely on it for bringing up contextual menus.

    I really like Apple products, and most work as advertised. But not this one.

  4. Mighty Mouse balls s*cks balls big time

    Also the optical is obsolete and jumpy.

    A real crappie mouse if I ever saw one, shame on Apple for producing this abortion.

    I’ve been through a couple, so I know this really doesn’t do a whole lot for Apple’s quality appearance.

    Look at the Logitech laser mice, really really impressive.

    Hope Apple improves things fast.

  5. *looks under the Mighty Mouse*

    I can’t see any balls, I do see a light though! Yes the ‘ball’ in question is the scroll ball on the top.

    I do agree the Mighty Mouse isn’t the best mouse on the market, but consider that as in most products included in the box with the rest of the computer the mouse usually isn’t that good. Dell is the same with their own branded mice included in the box. Most of them do have a ball underneath!

    As for the sudden jumpiness across the screen even the MS one I use with my PB does that, so I think that is more of failure of the overall optical technology used in mice.

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