The Mouse That Roared

True story

I was at the Seattle Apple Store just yesterday scooping up some iMacs, Powerbooks, and Cinema Displays for my new company, and as I was about to pay, Jason — the Apple Store Business Consultant — asked me if I wanted the “wireless versions” of my iMacs.

Me: “You mean with wireless mouse and keyboard?”

Apple Store Jason: “Yes. For $60 more, there is a version with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.”

Me: “Well if you guys would finally put out a mouse that was of any use to me, I’d probably take you up on that, but for now, I’ll stick with aftermarket mice.”

Apple Store Jason: You mean you want a multi-button mouse?

Me: Yeah. If you don’t want to give in on the whole “multi-button” thing, how about at least making a mouse that could sense where you push it and act accordingly?

Apple Store Jason: “Yeah, that would be nice.”

Later on that day…

After setting our Macs up at the new office, we were paid a visit from a personal friend of Steve Jobs (or PFOSJ)… a person who is also involved in the formation of our company. Here is the conversation which followed:

PFOSJ: “Alright! You guys are going all Apple!”

Me: “Yeah, totally.”

PFOSJ: “These iMacs are really nice machines, aren’t they?”

Me: “Yes. Can you tell Steve to kill this one-button mouse nonsense already though? It’s getting ridiculous.”

Great day in the mornin’!

Fast-forward about 16 hours to this morning and we now have news of the Mighty Mouse! A multi-function mouse which can sense where you press it and act accordingly! Not only that, but there’s an omni-directional scroll-wheel as well, and pressure-sensitive side buttons.

I know you PC people out there are going to laugh at how happy this makes us Mac people (being that you’ve had multi-button mice for years), but it really is a momentous occasion. The one-button mouse was the last indisputable disadvantage of Apple hardware, and also the last vestige of stubbornness left over from the pre OS X days.

The one-button mouse is dead. Long live the Mighty Mouse!

UPDATE: Jason, the Apple Store Business Consultant, just called to tell us the Mighty Mouse sold out in 30 minutes this morning, but he set aside three of them for us! Alright! Thanks Jason! You are the man!
UPDATE #2: The mouse is in the house! I was skeptical right up until the moment I plugged it in, but this thing is actually pretty nice. Contrary to a couple of comments above, there actually *is* tactile feedback upon clicks and scrolls and it feels really good. The scrollwheel is amongst the best I’ve used as well. My advice is: if you like the general shape and feel of the stock Apple mouse but just wish it had more functionality, you will love this mouse. If you just don’t like the Apple mouse much to begin with though, you probably won’t like this either. Head on down to your local Apple Store and give it a try.
60 comments on “The Mouse That Roared”. Leave your own?
  1. Chris K says:

    About time! I’m hoping to get a new box in a couple of months and looking forward to the Mighty Mouse. ANy reason you went with iMacs instead of G5s? I’ve gone back and forth between the two on which to get, but have slightly been leaning toward the G5 due to the dual processor.

  2. Jeff Croft says:

    I think the Mighty Mouse (despite having a really lame name) looks great — but I really wish there was a Bluetooth version. For my PowerBook I love having the wireless mouse and keyboard so I can just pick the lappy up and go whenever I please with minimal hooking and unhooking.

    The Mighty Mouse (do I have to call it that?) will be great for my Mac mini, though (which, I’ll have you know, I got for free).

  3. marshall says:

    Damn. Now all you guys need is a useful operating system and you’ll be rocking.

  4. Tim Murtaugh says:

    In defense of the single-button mouse: I’m on my PB all day, and the single button mouse has saved me from carpal tunnel, I’m convinced. After using a PC for any length of time, my wrist kills me (from the scroll wheel, to be sure).

    That having been said, I’m looking forward to test-driving the new mouse to see how it feels.

  5. Scott says:

    No Mighty Mouses up here at the only Canadian Apple Store. They don’t have any yet – and, according to the sales rep I spoke to, didn’t know about them until this morning (and don’t know much about it now).

    He was reading up on the Apple website when I asked him if they had any in. Typical Apple Canada. Lousy buggers.

  6. Tony says:

    Funny story!

    I sense a “make a Mighty Mouse out of food” contest coming on… ;)

  7. Mike D. says:

    Chris K.: To me, there is really only one compelling reason to buy a PowerMac G5 over an iMac G5 at this point and that is if you are doing video editing. A 20 inch screen is plenty big enough for me and the iMac’s processor is plenty fast enough. It saves me almost $1000 over the PowerMac, so it makes sense for me.

  8. I was shocked when I heard the news this morning. I guess hell finally froze over.

    Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the mouse design. The oval shape has never felt comfortable in my hands. I also don’t like the idea of sound effects rather than tactile effects; I need the tactile feedback I get from clicking a mouse.

    I’m probably going to cave in and buy one, just to try it out. I’ve always been a fan of Apple’s hardware design

  9. Miko says:

    From Apple’s site:

    you get the programability of a four-button mouse in a single-button design.

    Steve’s holding onto the one-button idea just a …little …longer.

  10. Brian Rose says:

    marshall: Wow. what an insightful post.

    Mike: Once you get a while to play with the new mouse, let us know what you think. I’ve not seen any reviews of it yet and am leary to order one when I have absolutely nothing to go on. I’m curious about how the buttons work (a lot has been said by Apple naysayers about the potential problems with with touch sensitivity).

    If only there were an Apple Store within a half hour drive…

  11. Tony says:

    In defense of the single-button mouse, I think it’s important to understand *why* Apple has been so reluctant to change: programmers.

    You see, Apple has never believed programmers would do the right thing. Apple doesn’t want programmers to program *specifically* for a 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) mouse button, without making an alternative option readily available for those without multi-button mice. By sticking to the one-button mouse, Apple has been forcing programmers to thing about the UI, and program their app accordingly. You’ll notice, as most every Mac user has, multi-button mice (like my trusty Logitech) work just fine on the Mac…the right-button brings up context-sensitive menus just like it should. But, you can get those same menus without a multi-button mouse. Heck, you can get them without a mouse, period. That’s smart UI design, and it’s been enforced, in a way, by Apple sticking to the 1-button mouse in every box strategy.

    All that being said, I’m glad they finally have a multi-button mouse. I just wish it didn’t cost twice as much as other mice…and it’s not even bluetooth or IR!!!

  12. Faruk Ateş says:

    Dude, it’s like Apple went “Hey, that’s a good idea. Okay, tech guys, develop this in less than 5 hours and you get a cookie.”

    And guess what? They got their cookie.

    That’s a seriously nice mouse right there, though. Like… omg.

  13. Guido says:

    the real question is if you get the money for the idea?

  14. Kevin says:

    Personally I think the mouse looks awful. And what is that thing coming out fro the top? Is that a cord? What?

    I know Apple has the ability to design a decent mouse, problem is it will take a little pride swallowing to make it happen. Yes, it’s going to need two real buttons. Yes, it’s going to need a scroll wheel – not a mini Torn track ball. Yes it should use the laser or dual optical technology developed by Logitech. And No – squeezing is not a good alternative to a thumb button.

    This is a step in the right direction, but it is far from a good solution.

  15. M.e. says:

    As a single button mouse fan, I really appreciate the ability to program the left and right buttons the same. My hands cramp up pretty badly when I have to click with fingers, rather than my whole hand. The scroll wheel makes this a nice mouse for even me. I’m anxious to try it. So far this seems like the best possible way Apple could have implemented a multi button design.

  16. Faruk Ateş says:


    No offense, but I suggest waiting to see how people think about actually using the Mighty Mouse after having done so for a while.

    A lot of people said the same about Nintendo’s Gamecube controller when it was announced. “Ugly!”, “too odd”, “not enough buttons!” — and after they used it for a while, most of them shut up and started loving it. Sure, there’ll always be people that don’t like it, but there’s plenty of people that hate Logitech mice, too.

  17. Scott says:

    The only thing cooler than that would be a mouse with 2 separate buttons. :)

    When do we get to see pics of the new office? I love looking at clean rooms with new hardware, and you know it’s never going to look as good as it does the first time you get everything set up. Hide any bits that give away too much about the company and snap a few shots.

  18. Vladimir says:

    Well, seeing as how I’m a PC person, I don’t have the same perspective and thus see this as “congratulations on finding your fingers useful.” I guess it should be interesting to see how this “new” tech is received by the mac community.

  19. Ryan Guill says:

    heres a question: can you use this new apple two button mouse on windows? I am about to get a new mouse for my laptop, and I really like the style… I know I can use pc mice with macs, can I use apple mice with pcs?

  20. Scott says:


    According to the spec page, the mouse is compatible with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Yet another reach into the Windows world by Jobs.

    I actually think this mouse is a very cool concept and would order one right now if there were a wireless version available. As tempting as it is, it doesn’t make much sense since my primary computer is a Powerbook which gets moved to and from my desk often. Hopefully in due time we’ll see one …

  21. Sean S says:

    Ah, so you’re one of the early birds who nabbed the local stores’ Mighty Mouse … mouses? Mighty Mice? Whatever.

    I had to call all four stores until I found one (at the Alderwood locale). They have it on hold for me as well. :)

  22. Kevin Tamura says:

    This beats the Stark mouse hands down and twice on Sunday for design. Another good excuse to go to the Apple Store and play with the new toys.

  23. Jon B. says:

    Looks great and I want one. But if you’re into the wireless thing, wait a few months and there will be one for sure. Heck its probably already finished they just want to make double profits off of you :)

    With that said I’ll probably be getting one for the new desk setup. Good luck with the office. I wish I could go into the Apple store and buy multiple iMacs, Powerbooks and Cinema displays! That would be fantastic.

  24. The mouse looks good and all, but how cool would it have been if Apple had used Synaptics’ trackpad technology on the top of the mouse to control the scroll motions instead of just that little ball?

  25. Chris says:

    Apple have the WORST advertising on the planet… NONE!

    why not advertise something in advance so people can preorder it or wait for it and not go and buy old stuff like Mike did?

    Apple is just plain rude.

    (Editor’s Note: What do you mean? I needed computers this week and the new mice won’t be shipping standard with them for awhile. I don’t mind spending $49 for an upgraded mouse although I do agree that Macs should have shipped with better mice from the beginning.)

  26. Yannick L. says:

    I saw a link to the “Mighty Mouse” today and was in awe when I saw it. It looks really nice.

  27. Am I the only one who finished the article thinking “to hell with the mouse, I want to hear about Mike’s new company”?

  28. Faruk Ateş says:

    @Christopher Hawkins: I know! Seriously, I was thinking the same, but given the fact that he’s silent about all the details, I figured he wouldn’t tell us if we asked, either…

    “Apple have the WORST advertising on the planet… NONE!”

    — in the Netherlands, Apple has done little to no advertising of any kind, really, and yet, the iPod is extremely popular around here. It’s all through the web, baby, Apple knows how connected the world is these days; word-of-mouth through the Internet is an increasingly large factor on sales, and the Netherlands has an extremely high percentage of “online people” (people who daily use the ‘Net).

  29. Lin says:

    i know u can’t understand Chinese…..haha >.(Editor’s Note: Damn! Someone tell me what this means!)

  30. Is the built in software able to assign different actions depending on which application you are using? If not can anyone say if USB Overdrive is able to control this mouse? This is a big deal for me since I routinely use the extra buttons on my MX310 to do things like open Actions Panel, UnSharp Mask, etc.

  31. Brad says:

    Sorry if this has already been settled, but has it been said yet if these will soon be included with all Mac purchases, or atleast higher end Mac purchases?

    Also, I’m with everyone else, pictures of your new company’s setup would be a real treat. If you’re feeling really generous, something like what Mr. Bowman did would be nice :)

  32. ViB says:

    Just two things:
    – Too bad that there is no way to get one of those Mighty Mouse (what a awfull name!..come on Steve! what are your marketing wizards thinking on?)
    before three o maybe four months from now. Chile is definitelly to far away to be consider a mac users stronghole…:(
    – Ok Mike, half of the world is wondering what is your new company about…curious we are – Yoda said :)
    Fixing some minors details in the Spanish sIFR tute now. Thanks for your response and the link in your site.

  33. Adarsh Dilip says:

    I think what Lin meant to say was:

    Now I need to go get me one of them white mice.

  34. Lin says:

    I dot know English…@_@

    But.. I not have hostility

    Those Chinese is ordinary comment on

    @_@ Faint…

  35. Lin says:

    Adarsh Dilip , you are wrong @_@

  36. Khoi Vinh says:

    Real quick, tell me again what that new business is?

  37. Ken Deifik says:

    I’m a PC guy who came to work at an all Mac installation two years ago. I had never used a Mac before, but have certainly found them useful, and very easy to learn because, at least as of System X, Macs and PCs do not really work so differently.

    The one thing I did not like was the one button mouse: two buttons and a wheel make work easier. Nearly every mouse at Fry’s claims to be compatible to both platforms, so I picked up a USB mouse with two buttons and a wheel, plugged it into the Mac and just like that my Mac had no more cross-platform gotchas.

    Now, you’re one of the most talented and knowlegable computerists I am aware of, and I feel certain that you knew you could plug in a three-button mouse before Apple made one available. You obviously knew there were advantages to two and a wheel. So I am curious – what stopped you from trying the generic approach?

  38. Mike D. says:

    Everyone: Alright, alright… I’ll post pictures of the new digs sometime this week. Can’t talk too much about the company yet though.

    Ken: Yep, I’ve been buying aftermarket multi-button mice for years now. I definitely didn’t wait until now to try them. I just really like the fact that now I can get one with the legendary Apple design sense about it. Before today, my favorite mouse was probably Logitech, but this one is really quite nice.

  39. Ross says:

    I’d be tempted to buy one if I used my Powerbook for more than web browsing and chat, but I would never consider going back to wires – a bluetooth version should have been simultaneously released, or maybe the cat is just out of the bag and they will ship a wireless version when they start actually shipping normal ones? But that would just annoy people more I guess.

  40. I’ve just one doubt: the sensor technology. That, it means: will keep it up with Logitech optical sensors?

    However, I wondered one thing. We’ve got two side buttons. Think about how those are displaced: you are “grabbing” the mouse, right?
    So… it will be interesting if they add a feature to “physically” grab the mouse with a “grab” also on the desktop… I mean: push->a windows is taken and can be moved, without going on the top bar. Something like this. It’s natural and easy. :)

  41. AJ Kandy says:

    Can’t wait to try one up here Canada way… I’m currently alternating between a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer optical and the MS optical trackball for wrist-related reasons.

    Personally, I think there are better options nowadays beyond the mouse – ergonomically, most game console controllers are better because you use them with your hands in their natural resting position (i.e. in your lap). And I’m still waiting for Apple to really make a UI leap forwards – with an iSight for gesture recognition, some Newton-derived simple AI, and beefed-up speech recognition, maybe in a year or so we could be controlling our machines Minority Report style.

  42. Michael Ward says:

    Folletto Malefico: That would rock. Drag ‘n drop, moving windows, icons, etc. should all be done b y grabbing the mouse and then moving. It just makes so much sense!

  43. DanD says:

    Lin wrote something like:

    “The force mouse in childhood has looked an animated cartoon, is that spot likes above the IBM notebook the operation mouse small button to be same?”

    Which I guess means: “It looks cartoonish–does the mini-track ball work like a thinkpad nubbin?”

    Finally! A chance to actually use the Dashboard. Too bad you need a Translator translator…

  44. sienafrost says:

    What Lin was trying to say is:

    “Don’t I know Mighty Mouse from a cartoon I watched as a child?”

    DanD’s part about the comparison of the scroll ball with the Thinkpad nubbin is spot-on.

  45. Conánn says:

    OO exciting stuff! After biting the bullet and switching from PC to Mac it really makes me mad to look to the right of this lovely iMac G5 and see the yuk gray metallic of my Microsoft 5 button intellimouse.

  46. Kevin M. says:


    Question, how are the side buttons? I read a review and they felt the side buttons were a little low. I have large but slender finger hands and button placement is so crucial.

    Now I can’t wait till the Pentium Apple laptops. I will then make a conversion to Apple from PC for some of my day-to-day work.

    Apple is finally starting to turn around, now if they would only license the Intel OSX for non Apple machines.

  47. Mike D. says:

    Kevin M.: To be honest, the side buttons are probably the only awkward things about the mouse. They really aren’t that great. They are what provide the “audio feedback” instead of tactile feedback and their position on the mouse makes them tough to use. I personally doubt I’ll be using them much. It might be best to assign a super-long-but-commonly-used keystroke to them. Something like Command-Shift-Option-4 (capture selection to clipboard).

  48. Kevin M. says:


    Kinda what I expected. Oh well. Funny thing other than the iPod I can think of any small peripheral Apple has designed (kybrd, mouse,etc..) that is really that great.

    Then again I’m a PC user.

  49. I can’t possibly see how you can think the one button mouse has been a problem, and definetely not a “hardware” “disadvantage”. I’m a PC person myself that have just recently started the migration to Mac, and I will never use a mac without a two button mouse. I think it’s annoying and hurts my productivity. But let’s face it, they’ve actually done TESTS that show that the one button mouse is superior for most users. Arguing against those tests is like arguing that the earth is flat. The truth is the truth. Further, there has always been third party two button mice for the powerusers. Always. That Apple themselves didn’t put out a two button mouse (which they kinda sorta don’t still, since the default is one button behavior on the mighty mouse), can’t possibly be seen as relevant to PC users, who buy third party hardware all the time.

  50. Mike D. says:

    Anders: I don’t necessarily disagree, but the timeliness of those tests is very important. Ten years ago was there much of a need for two-buttons? Nope. People were generally a lot less adept at computing and the operating systems just didn’t have that many contextual hooks in them to begin with. Now we are getting smarter and more efficient with computers and we can do things like “right click to copy” or “right click to look up on Google”. I just feel like the days of the one-button mouse truly being better for most people are probably over. Is it *necessary* for most people? Maybe not. Better though? I think so.

  51. Ali Owen says:

    I saw this yesterday, and I am so glad that Apple finally decided to go with a multibutton mouse. I mean who can be bothered to keep ctrl + clicking all the time to access context menus. It also means that I can use a decent mouse with Maya, rather than my nasty MS one that clashes with my shiny Powerbook :D

    It’s just a shame there’s no bluetooth yet, but I’m sure that’ll follow presently.

  52. sienafrost says:

    Well if indeed they expect the Mighty Mouse to have a halo effect much like the iPod, R&D should have introduced a cord waaay longer than 27 inches. Who’s gonna wanna stick a Mighty Mouse on a PC tower with that kinda length?

  53. Tintin says:

    Someone took apart the Mighty Mouse and posted images of what’s inside:

  54. Dave says:

    Hmm not sure whether this was good or not, i mean it’s good but the delay it took them to release this is beyond a joke.. time will see

  55. Bryan says:

    Mike – I’m curious, did you happen to read Walter Mossberg’s piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on the new Apple mouse? He stated that in his test use of the Mighty Mouse between him and his assistant (on multiple machines), the right-clicking was still clunky and unpredictable, and still inferior to the MS and Logitech models used w/Macs.

    Any signs of this so far on your end? Is the tactile feedback you mentioned equally responsive from left to right? I REALLY hope so – oherwise, in my opinion they’ve blown it here…

  56. Mike D. says:

    Bryan: I’m 99% sure Mossberg wrote that column before he installed the Mighty Mouse driver which is on the CD. It’s tempting to just plug the mouse in and start playing with it, as that’s what I and everyone in our office did as well. Within minutes, we all noticed that the right-clicking didn’t seem to be working well, but then after installing the proper software, it worked like a charm.

    As for the tactile feedback, yep, it’s equal on both sides.

  57. Bryan says:

    What a major oversight on his part of that is the case, which it sounds like it is.

    Good to know – sounds like we’ve got a winner….

    Cheers Mike.

  58. Sunny Uday Shankar says:

    ADARSH DILIP from Sharjah, UAE….????

  59. 75th Weblog says:

    Mighty Mouse

    We should've known that Apple would never release a two-button mouse that required less than two paragraphs' qualification and explanation. For $49, you can have Apple's oddly-named [Mighty Mouse][mm], the first mouse to combi…

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