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Apple Mighty Mouse
Peripherals | First Looks
Sat 10 Sep 2005

Buttons In Disguise
  "Finally Apple has introduced a multi-button mouse, the Mighty Mouse."

A side view of the Mighty Mouse and its side button.

The underside of the mouse and its optical sensor,

The scroll ball is ideally located for the middle finger.

For 21 years, Apple Computer, Inc. has maintained their "one button is enough" mantra for the Apple mouse even though the Mac OS does support multi-button operations, until today that is. Succumbing to rising demand, Apple finally introduced a mouse with more than one button: meet the Apple Mighty Mouse.

Working out the Mighty Mouse

At a glance, the Mighty Mouse takes after the Apple Pro Mouse released back in 2000. Resembling the smooth, elliptical, single button mouse of old except for an addition of a tiny scroll ball on its opaque white body, one starts to wonder about the extra buttons Apple promised. Interestingly, the Mighty Mouse is physically still a single button mouse, but virtually detects left and right-clicks through its touch-sensitive sensors built on the top shell.

Beware however, as users will have to make sure that only one finger is resting on the sensors, else the Mighty Mouse will treat everything as a left-click. Being veteran multi-button mouse users, it took us a while to familiarize with the Mighty Mouse as our fingers are used to comfortably resting on the shell. We had to actively remember to lift up our index finger before right-clicking, which felt unnatural. We have no complaints about the middle button though, as a slight depression of the tiny scroll ball correctly initiates a middle-click.

Shabby Side Buttons

Besides the first three mouse buttons on the top shell, the Mighty Mouse has a fourth button built into its sides. To use it though, users will have to give both sides a hard squeeze, which can be quite difficult at times since this 'button' again, isn't a real button, but two hard force-sensitive plates on each side.
In Windows, the scroll ball and side squeeze buttons act as the third and fourth mouse buttons, but on OS X, they are short cut keys to call out the Dashboard and Expose.

Advantages of the Mighty Mouse

Despite the shortcomings of the main and side buttons, the advantage of the Mighty Mouse has to be its little scroll ball. Apple has ingeniously done away with the regular scroll wheel of conventional mice and given us a ball instead. The beauty of it is its ability to move in a non-linear fashion, vertically, horizontally and even diagonally. This must be making track-ball aficionados drooling at the moment, but hold your horses first.

Sadly, the horizontal and diagonal scrolling does not work in Windows despite installing Apple's drivers and software, so we're hoping that updated drivers will be available soon to properly enable this great feature.

Final words 

The Mighty Mouse definitely scores high in the design department, but less can be said about its usage. Sure, Mac users will readily take up the challenge of this gorgeous gadget, but for the rest of the Windows community who'd like to own a piece of Mac paraphernalia, we have but one advice. Before rushing to the Apple Store to purchase this mouse, we suggest that you observe your own finger habits and check if you lift your index finger while performing a right click. If you can adopt this unusual usage pattern easily, we would say go for it. The Mighty Mouse is available at a recommend retail price of US$45.


Product Specifications

  • Number of buttons: Four

  • Scroll ball: 360-degree scrolling

  • Designed for both left and right-handed use

  • Colors: White (were you expecting anything else?)

  • Connection: USB

  • System Requirements: Mac OS X (programmability requires Mac OS X v10.4.2 Tiger or later), Windows 2000 or Windows XP

  • Warranty: One year

  • Price: US$45