Will Apple Ever Quit Mousing Around?
Will Apple Ever Quit Mousing Around?
by , 10:00 AM EST, November 5th, 2001
I was one of the hold outs, one of the crazy ones. I'd continued using Apple's one button mouse, and liked it, even though my wife and daughter both gave up their mice for models from Logitech and (horror of horrors) Microsoft.
"See Dad? You can get contextual menus simply by clicking the right button," my daughter would say.
"Look Vern," my wife would call. "The little wheel thingy makes the window scroll!"
I flatly refused to look. "My crystalline beauty is all the mouse I need, " I would retort. " If Jobs had wanted me to scroll..."
And that's when it hit me. Since when did I do anything, buy anything, use anything because someone told me I had to? I'm not a sheep. I'm an independent thinker. I have my own will, I use whatever the hell I want! So, why was I still using that one button Apple mouse?
Vanity, my friends, pure and simple. My Cube looked great with that crystalline lozenge sitting next to it. I was willing to be less productive so that my Cube would keep looking cool. Then I thought, "Hey, wait a mouse clicking minute! Apple listens to us from time to time. Maybe if we started demanding a nice 3 button mouse, perhaps if we started yelling loud enough, maybe they'll hear us. Even better, maybe they'll make one for us."
Then I thought, "Nahhh," and proceeded to the closest CompUSA for a replacement for my Apple mouse.
Apple has had a strange history with the mouse. They didn't invent it, but they made it popular. I've heard it said that reason Apple has stuck so steadfastly with the one button since the days of the first Mac is that the one button epitomize the notion of ease of use. Since it only takes one button to do anything on a Mac why bother giving you more? In the meantime, however, other computer makers have moved on to two buttons, then three button mice, and people have come to realize that they can make use of those extra buttons. Third party mouse makers have come up with all sorts of variations, increasing the number of buttons and adding or taking away this or that. All the while, Apple continued to offer the one button, only changing the shape. (We all shudder at the thought of the infamous hockey puck mouse.)
There are signs, however, that point to Apple giving up its traditional one button rodent. The most obvious indicator can be seen by anyone who has OS X and a third party 3 button wheel mouse. It works. No driver necessary. Just plug that little boy in and you are mousing and wheel scrolling like nobody's business. And let me tell you, you have not lived until you've scrolled through a long Stickie Note using that little wheel thingy. OS 9.2.1 even supports the little wheel thingy for scrolling with no additional drivers.
Ok, so one has to ask, what gives, Apple? You give us the ability to scroll but don't give us a mouse to scroll with? That's like giving a thirsty man an empty canteen.
I'll tell you what I believe gives, Apple is looking out for the guy that sells 3 button mice, the Logitechs, and the Kensingtons, and, yes, even the Microsofts of the world. You've got to believe those guys are doing a strong business selling mice to Mac owners. (That's sounds oddly like someone selling a refrigerator to an Eskimo.) That Apple supplies us with a one button optical mouse with our computers still leaves room for others to earn a buck. Maybe that's why I had refused to drop the one button, because I'm cheap. I didn't want to give another $30 for something Apple should have given me in the first place. But the sounds of mousing pleasure from the other members of my family overcame my stranglehold on my wallet, and I feel better for it. All day long I've been trying out different apps in OS X to see what does and doesn't work with the mouse. I was surprised to find that a majority of the apps work just fine in OS X using a Logictech Wheel Mouse. I would imagine mice from other vendors would operate the same. In fact, the only app that I found that did not scroll was Appleworks 6.2. It did seem to like the right mouse button, however. Odd.
The obvious question is; if Apple does give us a 3 button mouse, what would it look like? Will it include laser guided manicuring, a fourth button that activates a built in aroma therapy module, or will it just pulse in time with iTunes? (Actually, that would be kinda cool.) I've been known to do a little speculating now and again. If I were to speculate, I'd say that Apple will likely make the new mouse look like the crystal lozenge we have now, except it will have two buttons and a wheel. Not earth shattering, definitely not ground breaking, but it'll do Apple, it'll do.
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