Inside the Magic Mouse

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's new Magic Mouse brings multitouch technologies first exposed on the iPhone and MacBook touchpad to the venerable mouse.



The new design presents a solid acrylic surface on a low-profile body, lacking any physical buttons or the scroll ball of Apple's previous Mighty Mouse.



More significantly, it shifts the use of the mouse from sensing movement of the device itself over a surface, to one where the user's fingers are sensed as they move across the surface of the device. The new mouse still uses laser optical tracking to find its relative coordinates, but the new multitouch surface turns it into a closer cousin of the trackpad.



The multitouch features of the new Magic Mouse are more closely related to those on the MacBook trackpad than the iPhone. For example, both are designed to accommodate secondary clicks ("right clicking"), something that has no analog on the iPhone. Because finger position is sensed in software, the user can configure secondary clicking for contextual menus to respond to either right or left handed contentions. Like the earlier Mighty Mouse, users can also disable secondary clicking entirely.



The feature differences between the new Magic Mouse, the multitouch trackpads on the latest MacBooks, and the conventional trackpad on earlier notebook models are evident from the preferences presented for each (below).







Scrolling



The new Magic Mouse points and scrolls slightly differently than a MacBook trackpad: it points like a conventional mouse by begin moved over a surface, and can scroll within windows by using one finger on its top surface. The immobile trackpad interprets one finger as pointing, and two fingers as scrolling.



In contrast, the iPhone responds to touch directly as pointing, and scrolls with a single-fingered flick. This momentum-based flick scroll speed feature is adopted by the new Magic Mouse, allowing the user to scroll faster than real time. Trackpads currently don't support this; their existing behavior ties scrolling speed directly to finger speed. Momentum-based scrolling can be disabled as a preference.



Like both trackpads and the iPhone, the new Magic Mouse also supports "360 degree scrolling," allowing smooth up/down and left/right scrolling within a window at the same time.



Zooming



Zooming into the screen (blowing up the display on Mac OS X) works just like existing MacBook trackpad controls; it requires holding down a user selectable key while scrolling. This makes sense because zooming into the screen is not as natural on the Mac desktop as it is on the iPhone, where the small screen and lack of desktop controls or menu bar makes the iPhone's double tap or pinch to zoom features more of a necessary and common request. Zooming on the desktop is more of a fluff novelty feature for most users.



Differences from multitouch trackpads



The trackpad also differs from the Magic Mouse in providing clicking, dragging, drag lock, and two finger secondary clicking options. Performing these actions with a mouse involves moving the mouse itself; the trackpad can only respond to finger touches.



The Magic Mouse does respond to two-fingered swipe gestures for navigating back and forth through webpages or photos or Cover Flow items, similar to the multitouch trackpads (which use three fingers for this). It does not however currently support four-fingered Expose (up/down) or app switching (left/right) shortcuts, and pinch rotation or pinch zooming.



These differences in scrolling behavior are likely based on the limited surface area available on the new mouse. It's also possible that Apple will expand upon the gestures supported by the device's software.







To boldly go where other vendors wouldn't dare



In typical Apple fashion, the new Magic Mouse now only comes in one form: a wireless Bluetooth version. If you want a USB-attached version, the only option is the old Mighty Mouse, which has been renamed Apple Mouse to avoid conflict with another vendor's trademark claim on the former name.



The new wireless Magic Mouse is $69, while the old wired model is $49, which makes it perhaps the most ridiculously priced product in Apple's store. Clearly, Apple doesn't want to monopolize the Mac mouse business, but only wants to provide a differentiated high-end offering. That should appease the third party market for mice and mouse alternatives.







Buyers of new iMac computers will find that the new Magic Mouse wireless keyboard and are now standard equipment; users can still opt for the USB-attached keyboard (which supplies a full numeric keypad) and (separately) a conventional wired Apple Mouse with the old scroll ball design, but this option doesn't make the package any cheaper as it formerly did. Or more precisely, the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse option is no longer a premium-priced extra.



The Mac mini and all notebook models ship without a keyboard or mouse, so adding either version costs extra. Mac Pro systems continue to ship with the standard Apple Mouse and keyboard with numeric keypad, so upgrading to the Magic Mouse costs $20 extra, and opting for the Bluetooth keyboard costs another $20.



Interestingly, Apple now also offers a new USB compact keyboard without the numeric keypad as a no-cost alternative to the regular USB keyboard on all of its systems.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 140
    It does not however currently support four-fingered Expose (up/down) or app switching (left/right) shortcuts, and pinch rotation or pinch zooming.





    this is a deal breaker for me
  • Reply 2 of 140
    Yet another AppleInsider article taking forever to say what's obvious to everyone, and passing it off as "analysis." I doubt you actually used the mouse. I could have gleaned this from reading the reviews on Gizmodo and other places



    You do a great job on rumors and wrapups, but leave the insight to Ars Technica and others.
  • Reply 3 of 140
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post


    It does not however currently support four-fingered Expose (up/down) or app switching (left/right) shortcuts, and pinch rotation or pinch zooming.





    this is a deal breaker for me



    hahaha.....there isn't enough real estate to swipe 4 fingers on this mouse, unless you're a 4-year-old. What do you expect?!?
  • Reply 4 of 140
    The thing that worries me most about the new mouse (without having used it yet) is that there appear to be no middle click?which some people would regard as almost essential.



    Unless I'm missing something, it would also be difficult to add this functionality later as it lacks physical markings to indicate where the middle button would be (i.e. you could easily right click instead of middle click by mistake).
  • Reply 5 of 140
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    hahaha.....there isn't enough real estate to swipe 4 fingers on this mouse, unless you're a 4-year-old. What do you expect?!?



    i know, but don't you think they should have included this feature?

    coming from the macbook pro trackpad, i'd feel this as a handicap
  • Reply 6 of 140
    Well, I respect Apple for swinging for the fences and trying to reinvent the wheel, but it's still a single-button mouse. No center click is a drawback, and also sensitivity of the click surface might be dodgy for people with big hands when they're using the scrolling function (lots of unwanted clicks). Having to lift or move my hand around on the mouse to scroll, and use the keyboard to get more than 2 different click types doesn't interest me.



    I love my Logitech MX1100 with it's 8 buttons, and multiple action scroll/click wheel. Very intuitive and functional. Also, I don't have to change hand position to scroll.



    At least Apple will finally (hopefully) ditch the worst mouse of all time.
  • Reply 7 of 140
    anyaanya Posts: 14member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post


    It does not however currently support four-fingered Expose (up/down) or app switching (left/right) shortcuts, and pinch rotation or pinch zooming.





    this is a deal breaker for me



    I find it hard to believe that anyone would want four finger and pinching gestures on a mouse like this.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    Well, I respect Apple for swinging for the fences and trying to reinvent the wheel, but it's still a single-button mouse. The fact that "right clicking" is accomplished by having 2 fingers down worries me, since both my fingers are usually on the top of the mouse anyways. Having to lift my middle finger when I click to achieve "left click" doesn't really interest me at all.



    My thoughts exactly.
  • Reply 8 of 140
    Does Magic Mouse work in Windows?
  • Reply 9 of 140
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    Well, I respect Apple for swinging for the fences and trying to reinvent the wheel, but it's still a single-button mouse. The fact that "right clicking" is accomplished by having 2 fingers down worries me, since both my fingers are usually on the top of the mouse anyways. Having to lift my middle finger when I click to achieve "left click" doesn't really interest me at all.



    I love my Logitech MX1100 with it's 8 buttons, and multiple action scroll/click wheel. Very intuitive and functional. Also, I don't have to change hand position to scroll.



    At least Apple will finally (hopefully) ditch the worst mouse of all time.



    It's obviously not a mouse for you if you own an 8-button mouse. Sorry but this mouse isn't supposed to replace mouses that act like keyboards.



    This mouse is for people that don't expect to use more than two buttons and still want an easy way to scroll content in a window. It also won't have buttons and scrollwheels that will gum up over time or cracks and crevices that will harbor bacteria. Don't get me wrong, I love those kinds of mouses too...I also own an 8-button Logitech mouse. They're comfortable and utilitarian...but, man, the printed logo and the printed back and forward arrows on the thumb buttons are faded, the scrollwheel is gummed beyond repair and the edges of the buttons are filthy.
  • Reply 10 of 140
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,272member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post


    It does not however currently support four-fingered Expose (up/down) or app switching (left/right) shortcuts, and pinch rotation or pinch zooming.





    this is a deal breaker for me



    Keep in mind that AI hasn't actually tested this mouse, so I wouldn't call it a broken deal just yet.
  • Reply 11 of 140
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,272member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    It's obviously not a mouse for you if you own an 8-button mouse. Sorry but this mouse isn't supposed to replace mouses that act like keyboards.



    There you go again using logic...
  • Reply 12 of 140
    and now we need to keep spending money on batteries??
  • Reply 13 of 140
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    The fact that "right clicking" is accomplished by having 2 fingers down worries me



    It isn't, you right click by clicking the top tight part of the mouse; it doesn't matter whether your other finger is on the mouse or not. They cover this in the video on the Apple website.
  • Reply 14 of 140
    am i the only one who thinks this mouse is amazing? ergonomic low profile.. aesthetically perfect.. simple intuitive gestures.. as is typical for mac, it doesnt try to do everything (no superfluous features), but what it does it does perfectly. this mouse epitomizes why i love apple products.



    as usual there are whiners afraid of change, who lack vision, and who like to complain, but this is always the case, even with apple's best products. i think apple hit a home run with this one, and same goes for the rest of the products released today IMHO.
  • Reply 15 of 140
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Sounds interesting but I think I'll test drive one before I buy. I didn't care for the mighty mouse so it might be the same deal here.



    Anyone love the mighty mouse?
  • Reply 16 of 140
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,272member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JSmith View Post


    and now we need to keep spending money on batteries??



    Does your current wireless mouse use solar panels?
  • Reply 17 of 140
    No middle click is a big deal for me too.



    As a 3D artist, middle click is essential and excluding this from the mouse's functionality is a huge problem. Apple needs to address this soon.
  • Reply 18 of 140
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post


    It does not however currently support four-fingered Expose (up/down) or app switching (left/right) shortcuts, and pinch rotation or pinch zooming.





    this is a deal breaker for me



    How you going to keep the mouse in place while doing the four-fingered shortcut?!



    It might not be as convenient but every new Apple keyboard contains Expose and Dashboard shortcut. It might require less effort to use these that to try to keep the mouse in place to perform the four-fingered action on the mouse itself.
  • Reply 19 of 140
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    It's obviously not a mouse for you if you own an 8-button mouse. Sorry but this mouse isn't supposed to replace mouses that act like keyboards.



    An 8 button mouse isn't a keyboard replacement.



    I use a keyboard for inputting text, and a mouse for controlling all aspects of the work environment. Needing one hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse to get right-click or centre-click functionality is ridiculous, not to mention needing to juggle the mouse around to scroll.



    The mighty mouse was an attempt at being unique that resulted in epic fail, and rather than address the fundamental issue of what people want/need in a pointing device, Apple has again decided to try and slap their notebook pointer onto the back of a mouse. It's a great image/branding move though, just like the mighty mouse was, since it sets apple apart and looks really cool. Hell, check out Steve Jobs and "The Worlds Coolest Mouse" on YouTube when he launched the original iMac, and the shittiest mouse of all time (the hockey puck mouse). Nobody thought that mouse was remotely functional, but the company trumpeted it as some sort of marvelous gift to humanity.



    While I think the new Macbook touchpad is very functional (although practically speaking not much more functional than the previous design) in addition to being flashy, I don't think this mouse will work very well, but I guess we'll see once it get released.
  • Reply 20 of 140
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Postulant View Post


    Does your current wireless mouse use solar panels?



    Lots of modern mouses have a dock and a rechargeable battery.



    I'd be interested in the battery life of the bluetooth mouse vs. an RF one, though. My logitech is RF and gets 10-12 months per pair of batteries, and I never turn it off...



    On the bright side, the apple mouse, keyboard and remote are now the only Apple products with user-replaceable batteries, so I guess we can consider ourselves lucky that that hasn't changed.
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