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October 21, 2009

Apple's new multi-touch Magic Mouse

Posted: 11:15 AM ET

Riding the wave of new Apple products announced yesterday is a new gesture-based, multi-touch mouse.

The Magic Mouse continues Apple's war on buttons by removing all those pesky clickers. What's left is an aluminum base topped by a smooth white touch-sensitive polycarbonate panel.

Apple was criticized for the single button hamburger shaped mouse that shipped with the original iMac. Many Mac and PC users favor the greater control that a dual-button mouse with scroll wheel provides. In response, Apple released the Mighty Mouse in 2006 that incorporates four functional buttons and a trackball.

The new button-free Magic Mouse signals a return to minimalism while including all the functionality of multiple buttons. Gizmodo thinks it's a welcome change:

The Magic Mouse is undoubtedly the best mouse Apple's made in years. They've taken their knowledge in trackpad finger gestures and one-piece manufacturing and made this delicate, yet sturdy, bridge-shaped mouse.

The Magic Mouse will be included with new iMacs or can be purchased alone for $69. Currently the Magic Mouse is only compatible with Mac OS X, but broad support, including PCs, is likely to happen soon.

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Filed under: Apple • consumer tech • gadgets • technology

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Patrick   October 21st, 2009 3:33 pm ET

I hope this mouse is nothing at all like a Laptop trackpad as suggested in the text of the article.

I stopped by an Apple Store once and tried a laptop but the Apple trackpad was just non-intuitive to use and none of the sales people offerred to show me how to use it – I guess they only want customers who already own Apples. I do hope though, that I get a chance to try out this new "Magic Mouse".

Matej   October 21st, 2009 5:56 pm ET

This is ridiculous. The Ares I-X rolled out to the pad yesterday, the first time something other than a shuttle has been on that pad since the 1970s, and you don't even have a blurb about it. Come on, folks, there's more to technology than Twitter and Steve Jobs. Y'all should go back to having a dedicated science team.

Franko   October 21st, 2009 6:10 pm ET

All this touchy-feely is just unsanitary !
How many will die from infections passed on by touching ?
Wipe or lick off the peanut butter and jam off the touch screen ?
Apple get real - evict the worm of infection.

Nathan   October 21st, 2009 10:16 pm ET

It looks very interesting I want to try it really badly cause it operates like the ipod touch I'm game.

Nathan Sokalski   October 21st, 2009 10:49 pm ET

Saying that

"The Magic Mouse is undoubtedly the best mouse Apple's made in years"

isn't saying very much, since they've never made a very good mouse to begin with. But here is my main question:

Why can't they just make a multi-button mouse like people use with PCs?

Also, paying $69 for a mouse that you need to change your whole familiar input technique to use is just stupid (but is that really surprising? the mouse is made by Apple). So here's a word of advice to anybody buying a mouse (if you're stupid enough to use a Mac to begin with): Just stick with using buttons!

Norm Johnson   October 22nd, 2009 4:22 pm ET

Or maybe Nathan Sokalski you could give newer technology a chance and evolve with the rest of the world instead of using decades old technology for the rest of your existence.

To answer this question: "Why can't they just make a multi-button mouse like people use with PCs?"

Because these type of mice make it much easier to use a computer quickly and are developed upon natural human movements.

Bill Banks   October 22nd, 2009 10:24 pm ET

Wow. Nicely said Nathan. "Familiar" input technique does not mean there isn't room for improvement. People were "familiar" with keyboard input until the mouse was introduced. And don't forget who offered a mouse first. Heaven forbid new functionality makes you more productive.

Saying someone us stupid enough to own a Mac might have, a decade ago, been a keen observation of some sort. Now, it's just ignorant. Many people use them to make a living, a licing that wouldn't be possible with a traditional PC.

Have fun upgrading to Win7.

Frank Burgos   October 23rd, 2009 12:40 pm ET


When you upgrade to Win 7, do not forget the patch to address the 34 critical securities flaws released last week.

Ken Gooch   October 23rd, 2009 1:08 pm ET

Nathan I was a PC user for years and once I gave the Mac a try I was hooked. I now own three and have shown many others the way. I can tell you that I haven't spent a minute fixing any problems with the software, printers or anything else for that matter.

Windows Vista, oh forgot they gave it a new name, Windows 7 will just further drive Mac sales through the roof.


Dan   October 23rd, 2009 5:08 pm ET

Pffft. A mouse with gestures. Meanwhile, Windows 7 has multitouch support, built into the OS, for use with a the *screen*. Isn't that what you Macophiles have been doing with your iPhones?

And like OS X doesn't have fault. Please Google "OS X vulnerabilities" - you'll be surprised at how many you will find. But OS X probably robbed you of 30 points out of your IQ, so you probably aren't smart enough to do so.

Drew   October 23rd, 2009 6:37 pm ET

Just upgraded to the new 27" iMac from my pre-Intel G5 tower. Have never owned a PC and never will. Had a virus (non threatening and without any anti-virus installed) ONCE in 12 or so years! This mouse came with the system for free. I've been loving it all week. I'm not keen on wireless devices since they require battery replacement or charging when applicable, but the keyboard shuts down between keystrokes and this glass-coated mouse is VERY intuitive and responsive. Much better right-click control over the previous Mighty Mouse IMHO. Feels nice in the hand while working too. I think it's more ergonomic and streamlined.

Anyway not sure you should run out and snag one if you're happy with the one you have, but since it came with the system I was upgrading to anyway I'm VERY pleased with the new design and functionality. While I am a die-hard Mac guy I also admit to failures like the round iMac mouse "puck" and the Mac Cube. All-in-all though Steve and his team are still geniuses and have a strong track record. For folks looking to upgrade to the new iMac BTW the screen is huge! AND the speakers beat the hell out of the tinny little thing that I'm used to getting in the towers.

jp   October 23rd, 2009 11:46 pm ET

well for the comment on decade old technology, look at your keyboard... the QWERTY keyboard is ancient! in fact, the order of the letters was designed to actually slow typing down. QWERTY came about because people became to fast on their typewriters with an alphabetical keyboard that the keys were getting stuck... so QWERTY was designed, but as usual, we are slow to accept change so we have been using this old technology and no one wants to re-learn something like typing... Dvorak, would be the way to go.

leah1026   October 24th, 2009 2:34 pm ET

The video I saw demonstrating the new Magic Mouse was amazing. I'm definitely interested in getting one. The mouse that came with my iMac has issues with the mini track ball working correctly. The Magic Mouse doesn't have moving parts that can wear out or malfunction. I think I see a Magic Mouse under my Christmas tree this year!

DC   October 24th, 2009 3:41 pm ET

Dan, why so much anger?

The only two posts here that directly insult others are from two PC users. Why is that? If you like your computer and mouse. Great! Don't want to try anything Mac? Fine! But to come on to here and be mean says something about your personal issues – and they're not tech related.

Charles   October 24th, 2009 4:08 pm ET

I bought a MAC Pro just over a year ago. The supplied Apple mouse was crap. I went with a tried and true Microsoft mouse. Thirteen months after purchasing it the video card failed. For some unknown reason the HD became corrupted at the same time. The local 'authorized' Apple repair station was clueless. I wound up driving 500 miles (two 250 mile RTs) to an Apple store in Las Vegas where I was met with mostly arrogance while they attended to customers with iPhone and iTouch questions. I finally repaired my unit myself.
Programs, especially Adobe PhotoShop, crash on my Mac just as often as on my PC. I hate not being able to hot plug/unplug USB devices. If I don't ask permission to eject a USB device, my cursor freezes.
I have a large format printer by Canon. The drivers don't function well on the Mac and Canon/Mac blame each other. I gave up, I still use my old PC as a spooler for my ipf8000.
I've come to the conclusion that Apple is mostly a dog and pony show with lots of emphasis on aesthetics and industrial design but when the skin is peeled back their machines are not any more reliable than comparably equipped Dells, HPs, or Lenovos. But Apple fans look cool with their Apple laptops sipping lattes at a Starbucks.

George   October 24th, 2009 9:09 pm ET

I like the idea, and I almost bought one, but I don't like how thin it is. It makes it harder to hold and will hurt your wrist after a while. Good idea overall, but they should have made it bigger...I won't be getting one

Michael   October 24th, 2009 10:14 pm ET

There is no magic in this mouse. It is a straight up use of technology designed to make a computer easier to use. It has been up to Apple to drive the combination of style with function to make computers and phones, and let us not forget music players, easier, intuitive and desirable. All of the things we look used to look for from an American institution and now depend on a few to deliver. Want to continue to lead the world? Then do some leading. Take the risk, and make tomorrow a better day in a better world.

Wolf   October 26th, 2009 5:46 am ET

"A mouse with gestures. Meanwhile, Windows 7 has multitouch support, built into the OS, for use with a the *screen*."

Yes. A mouse.. with gestures. Quite ingenious I would say.. and for 69$.. a touch pricey, but, my new PC MX revolution mouse was almost 100$.

As for multitouch -screen- support.. While perhaps useful for POS systems and kiosks, and the nearly non-existent tablet computers.. it is poorly ergonomic for a desktop, and, does your screen support it? no? any? not really. Those few that do are small POS ones and excessively expensive specialty ones. And no, I do not doubt that eventually it will be utilized by more tablet style portables... I think that's great. Though, do think of the greasy fingers.

Alas, the rabid zealots just love to chime in and nay-say the non-MS products.

CJW in Korea   October 26th, 2009 10:24 am ET

I was a PC user a few years ago, but when Apple released the Intel line model computers and saw how stable the OS was I was hooked.
Charles, I too do a lot of wide format printing and use the Canon EOS 7D as my camera. I have yet to experience any difficulties with drivers for wide format printers. I have never once had any printer drivers fail.
..btw, what version of Photoshop are you using? Creative Suite 4 seems to run flawlessly on my MBP 17"! Suite 3 did have a few problems with running on the Intel cores.

BTW, I tried the new mouse, and it is very useful and of high quality design!!! ...... on another note the older mighty mouse was a multi-button mouse so having multi buttons is NOT a new concept to apple.
For those of you who are slamming apple for lack of multi-button support have never owned the mighty mouse I guess???

Wetfish   October 26th, 2009 8:01 pm ET

Beautiful mouse, but definitely not magic! I tried it out at my local Apple retail store and was very disappointed. It works well for pointing and clicking, but the two finger swipe is very difficult and will likely leave users with cramped hands. BTW, it is 100 times better than the Mighty Mouse...

Tom Hartman   October 27th, 2009 12:39 am ET

A couple decades ago PC users were still typing in COMMANDS to open an application;)

It took Apple to show them a different way, but once they found out it would cost more than a cheesy PC, they opted out for the menus with little lines under the vowels in the menu items. Ugh.

Now they just run around thinking in little box-think, trying to buy a computer as cheap as they possibly can, buying parts and video cards and assembling it all themselves while listening to Barry Manilow on their imitation iPods LOL

Sam   October 27th, 2009 8:22 am ET

I really am tired of the statement that the Mac does not have security problems because it is a superior machine. I used to own Macs and they are great, but they don't fit what I wanted to do. The reason that the Macs don't have security issues is because they have such a small market share that hacking into them is pointless. Hackers aren't going to waste time hacking into a machine with less than 12% of the market share. It makes no sense. I have never been hacked nor have I gotten trojans or worms on my PC because I don't click on anything stupid or let my guard down. I agree the Mac and PC are both good machines, but don't kid yourselves, if the Mac increased their market share they would be under increased attacks.

Just my 2 cents worth.

arnu   October 27th, 2009 10:43 pm ET

Mac rhymes with crap. I recently helped someone with a hard drive that failed on an Ibook. Because it was out of warranty Apple wanted $450 to replace it. For $150 I replaced the hard drive. This new spin on the Magic Mouse is amusing. Apple had maintained that only one button was needed, now they use touch technology to simulate the features of multi-button (aka Windows) mice. Some posters have said that it was Apple that first introduced the mouse; try again, it was Xerox. Apple tries to tout the iMac all-in one as a Apple idea; try Gateway. To repeat my opening sentence "Mac rhymes with crap." Oh excuse me, that should be iCrap in white.

Domenic   October 29th, 2009 2:27 pm ET

Apple is epic fail, the only good thing they have done is the Iphone which is the only apple product I will ever own. They do manage to corner the market when it comes to n00bs who have only been using computers for the past 5 years so I can see why they don't just give up. For the people complaining about windows 7 – I agree with you terrible operating system I've been testing it since last April but nobody is forcing you to upgrade. Wait a couple years then upgrade to 7. I won't be putting windows 7 back on my machine for at least 2 years. Before anyone responds to that statement yes I know MS is ending support for XP. Who cares they've worked out all the major problems already so stop being so helpless.

AGx   November 1st, 2009 8:00 pm ET

@Sam: Thank you for saying what I have been telling people since the first iMac became popular. PC's and the Windows platform is deeply rooted into the buisness infrastructure. You probably wouldnt be surprised at how many machines such as Xrays, metal detectors, tinting machines, etc., all have Windows running their primary applications. Hackers and such want to target these kinds of things. If Apple's OS's were behind everything, believe me they would be getting just as bad a rep as the PCs do. You want to point out how Microsoft had to patch 34 "critical security" issues, how about when all 34 of those and the dozens of others Microsoft has patched becomes a problem for those Mac's you so much adore. I'm gonna laugh my ass off when the media is bashing Apple for this huge 120+ "critical security" patch. Apple is not invincible people.

And for the topic, I think that this mouse is a very intuitive idea. Its not something for me because a lot of design work I do requires very precise mouse movement and clicking and touch-sensetive objects have never been very reliable in my experience for things like this. Not my taste and I can imagine a lot of people making a lot of mistakes with this thing.

Marlin Touton   February 8th, 2011 3:07 pm ET

It had been a while since I visited website with such high quality information. Thansk so much for the helpful information   April 19th, 2011 8:51 pm ET

Apples new multi touch magic mouse.. Very nice 🙂

John   June 24th, 2011 6:08 am ET

Apple really doe produce soem magic hardware. They have some great people working for them. The magic mouse is great a really accurate on screen.

I would not say its super ergonomic because you have to pronate your hand and forearm to use the mouse.

Apple do understand ergonomics though! If you design with with an angle or a thumb grip you can design out a certian percentage of the population. Thats why they keep it simple so everyone can use it even if it may cause discomfort to some people.

I use the DXT VErgonomic Mouse which is not as cool as the magic mouse but it allows me to fly around me screen in comfort.

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