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Manufacturer: Apple
Min OS X: 10.3    Requires: USB Port

Mighty Mouse
September 14, 2005 | Galen Wiley

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Two years ago Apple Computer made computer hardware history with the release of the Power Mac G5, hailed as the "supercomputer for everyone". It was only a month ago that Apple CEO Steve Jobs shocked the world with the announcement that Apple would be switching processors once more: not to a G6, but to Intel. Hell had frozen over. To many Macintosh enthusiasts, this bit of news seemed to spell the end of the "Think Different" motto Apple had embraced for over a decade. Many believed that it would only be a short time before Apple would lift the restrictions for running Mac OS X on standard PCs and throw in the hardware towel forever.

Hell didn't even get a chance to warm up afterwards. A few weeks later, Apple wowed the community once more with the release of Mighty Mouse, the Mac's first official multi-button mouse. The skeptics can deny it no longer: the Macintosh is changing, and it's changing in a big way.

All speculation aside, the Mighty Mouse is a worthy release in its own right. After all, ever since Apple released the single-button Pro Mouse, they've been fairly keen on keeping it as the standard and have continued to package the product with every new Mac (oddly enough, this still holds true at the time this was written). PC users often use this as evidence that the Mac is somehow an "inferior platform", neglecting the fact that many users often purchase third-party peripherals only a short while after the purchase of a new system. I, for one, was quite content with my Logitech MX310 which had served my needs for well over a year, before I decided to try out Apple's latest offering.

For all its aesthetic charm, the Mighty Mouse is a surprisingly shallow piece of hardware with a disappointing amount of features and unacceptably poor functionality. Read more to find out why.

Design and Functionality
At first glance, the Mighty Mouse could easily be mistaken for an old Apple Pro mouse with a scroll-ball modification. Apple has done very little to change the look of the Mighty Mouse from its single-button predecessor. Technically, the Mighty Mouse doesn't even have a left or right button; these functions are handled by advanced touch sensing technology that detects where the user is clicking on the mouse and then tells the computer to behave accordingly. While impressive on paper, the Mighty Mouse's trick "two-button" design creates a few problems when in use. For example, in order to successfully use the right-click function, users must first remove all pressure from the left-side of the mouse. Unless the user's fingers are weightless, this effectively means having to hover your index finger awkwardly in the air whenever you need to right-click. On rare occasions, I found that even doing this would not always guarantee success. Make no mistake; the technology inside Mighty Mouse is truly an engineering feat in today's consumer computer mice. Alas, the technology is simply too critical and unreliable in its function to warrant everyday use.

Veteran Pro mouse users rejoiced upon hearing the news that the infamous side buttons would finally become useful with the Mighty Mouse. Unfortunately, due to awkward placement and limited functionality, usefulness is not always the case. With my personal handling setup, I found moving my hand up every time I wanted to use the side-click buttons quite troublesome, to say the least. Also, in order to use the side-buttons a certain amount of strength in the fingers is required; a strength that I found myself sorely lacking. Personal issues aside, the Mighty Mouse's side buttons are simply not functional enough to warrant frequent usage. The side-buttons function as one entire unit, which means, quite bluntly, that users are only getting one extra button, not two. If Apple can simulate left and right clicking using advanced touch-sensing technology, surely they could have made the side-buttons multi-functional. In their current state, the Mighty Mouse's side-buttons lack the functionality and ease of use that Apple consumers have grown accustomed to in their products.


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