Quick thoughts about the Apple 'Mighty Mouse'…

I managed to sneak Mr Hammond over to the Apple Store after work today to have a fiddle with the new Apple Mighty Mouse. I have to confess I was disappointed with it. Of course it looks amazing, a beautiful shiny pebble of a device – but frankly it felt really weird and not at all how I expected. I must have misread the specs because my understanding of the mouse was that it didn’t have physical buttons – and that sensors under the tips of the mouse figured out if you were pressing them or not. I couldn’t figure out how else they’d handle the ability to do right-button clicks without two separate hinged areas. But this isn’t the case. In fact the mouse feels like a normal one-button Apple mouse, with a click action that moves the whole top. It simply acts differently if it knows you have a finger on the right or the left space. Very odd.

The trackball on top similarly looks really elegant, but didn’t feel great. it had a strange grainy feel – which could be just a consequence of being overused in a shop, but even that must be a bit of a warning sign. It’s very small as well, so you can’t get too much of a swoop with it. It does have a satisfying click action though which triggers the Dashboard.

But the two things that I couldn’t get used to in my brief play with the mouse – and I have to accept that I could get used to at least one of them – were that (1) I kept trying to click too far towards the back of the mouse and got no response and (2) I found the squeezing motion that triggers some form of Exposé extremely awkward, unpleasant and even actually painful. I’m sure this is to do with my overuse of trackpads and laptops – I find full-sized keyboards effortful and tiring to use as well – but it certainly put me off the little bugger.

I’m interested in other people’s reactions. Anyone else had a go?

12 replies on “Quick thoughts about the Apple 'Mighty Mouse'…”

I wish that I could right-click when my index finger was resting on the left button รณ it’s extremely bothersome that my normal mousing turns it back into a one-button device.
I like the scroll ball, though. It’s about the right size for me, and while it’s harder than expected to go sideways (motor memory or something) it works quite well. Wish it looked like the standard clear & white mouse, though.

I bought one – partly because I needed another mouse, and partly because I bought into the hype.
It’s OK. You get used to not resting your fingers on the left side when you want to right click, and I find the scroll ball quite nice.
Side buttons – pretty useless, can’t find them without looking, and then have to reposition my hand to press them.
All in all – nothing special.

I’ll preface this all by saying that I’ve not actually used the Mighty Mouse yet, but my major turn-off is the button/ball at the top. Any moving object like this will get dirty, right? I stopped using mice that had balls in the bottom because I hated how they could get “clogged up” with debris and other gunk. Why would I want a new ball in constant proximity to my hand? I mean, I know where my hand has been, and I don’t want to think about what’s growing in the space the ball occupies. ๐Ÿ™‚

If your fingers are high enough for the clicks not to register, you’re definitely not using the mouse in an ergonomic way. I did find the squeeze buttons rather difficult to use, but I was relieved that the mouse still generally worked like a clicking mouse. If it was a stationary touch-sensitive sensor, it would be awekward to have to tap the mouse all day (and have your fingers in the air the whole time you’re not clicking?) rather than gently pressing down. The only thing is that I usually rest my fingers on my two-button mouse’s buttons and press down on the button I want to use, but with the Mighty Mouse if my fingers were resting on the left and right sides and I pressed down on the right side to right-click, it had no idea what click I wanted so it often didn’t register a click at all. But I think that’s something I could get used to (lifting my left finger if I want to right-click). My only concern at this point is the one Patrick brought up about the ball staying clean. I used trackballs for a long time and had to regularly clean even an optical trackball. I still think the Mighty Mouse is fun and want one of my own, though.

I have learned to like the scroll button. Works well, but I have to be careful not to actually click it, because it will act as a clickable button, usually triggering the “BACK” response in Firefox. The two sides buttons are nearly unusable. Great idea, poor execution.

There’s an in depth review of the Mighty Mouse at Ars Technica, which suggests Apple were a bit misleading in their marketing material. So it probably wasn’t that you misread anything.
Since the classic design the original Macintosh mouse, I really don’t think the ergonomics of Apple mice has been very good, the ‘hockey puck’ being a good example. For me, the lozenge shaped mice aren’t much better. I’ve spent some time teaching in a classroom of Macs, and I’ve found that students who aren’t used to them keep accidentally pressing the mouse button when they lift the mouse off the desk to move the pointer across the screen. You shouldn’t have to learn how to use a mouse, it should be intuitive.
To remind yourself of what things used to be like, take a look at at this archived 1984 episode of Computer Chronicles, in which Jerry Manock and Susan Kare are interviewed about the ergonomics of Macintosh (they appear just before half way through)

I also nipped down to the Apple store to give it a test drive and had similar problems to those mentioned above. One of the things I really like about my 2 button mouse is the ‘gestural’ stuff it allows in Firefox and Opera right then left click to go back a page the reverse to go forwards again etc. The way the mighty mouse works doesn’t seem to allow this kind of easy switching between the different buttons without changing your hand position. The whole thing seemed to be designed to be different for the sake of difference e.g. the scroll ball; how often do you need to scroll a page any direction but up and down? I’ve been using Microsoft mice with my Mac for the last 4 years and I think I’ll stick with them.

I agree with Eric. The mouse felt really nice to use but the fact that you’ve got to lift your left finger off it to do a right click was very annoying. I’d hazard a guess that I’d stop using the right button after a while and be back to square 1 (where square 1 is occupied by a generic PC mouse)

I think your analogy about Powerbook keyboards to desktop keyboards is apt for the mouse as well. The Mighty Mouse isn’t quite like other mouses, but the problem is that it’s just similar enough that people who aren’t used to it don’t like the difference.
I always like Apple’s no button mouse. I like the click action you can activate with any part of your hand. The Mighty Mouse just extends in a fairly logical way, *if* you’re accustomed to their previous mouse. Since muscle memory doesn’t every go away, it just gets a little rusty, I was able to get used to the Mighty Mouse pretty fast, being that I had used their other kind before buying a Microsoft Intellimouse. (IMO the best product Microsoft makes, followed by the XBOX.)
As for the scroll nipple, it’s a little scary at first because it requires you to drag more of your finger across the mouse itself than you think you want to. Once I got used to that, I decided I liked it way better than scroll wheels. In Firefox somehow scrolling left and right in just the right way activates “back” and “forward”, which I love, but can’t seem to get working in Safari.
I don’t need instant access to my Dashboard, so I switched the scroll-push to CMD-Click (called Button 3 in their parlance), which I use to open new tabs in Safari/Firefox.
I agree that the side buttons are a little strange. I like having them bound to Exposé’s F9 “show all windows”, but I’m still mostly CMD-Tabbing between apps.

The grainy feel of the nippleball is definitely intentional. Back when scroll wheels first appeared, a handful of them were simply wheels with no resistance (no “bumps” or “clicking” as they were spun). Using those things is horrible, users need to actually feel the window scroll in order to guage how far they turn the wheel.
A ball can’t click or bump along like a good scroll wheel can, so the grainy resistance is kind of the next best thing. I think I could get used to it… but I prefer trackpads now!

i like the mighty mouse.
after a few weeks of using it now i can’t seem to imagine myself on a normal Pro Mouse. I do wish the side buttons were indepenent and easier to use because they feel a little to hard to press and a bit to far up to the front of the mouse.
i think this is a great buy, as a collector, because it is the first “two button” mouse introduced by Apple.

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