The Mac Needs a Two Button Mouse -- Oh Wait!

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since the beginning of Macintosh time, the Mac has either had a single button mouse or a two button mouse with the default set to one button. That has to change.

When one lives on the Internet daily as I do, in the realm of Apple, it's impossible to avoid the continuing ritual of Switchers who must deal with what seems, at first, to be a single button mouse on the Mac. It's one of those myths that just won't go away, as in, "AppleTalk is chatty, a network nightmare" and "The Mac OS is a toy OS, not suitable for the enterprise."

Why Apple subjects itself to this perpetual whipping at the hands of the Switchers and the PC press who voice their frustration and ridicule respectively is beyond comprehension. Most recently, FOX News had to lecture Apple on this issue in an article that, in all fairness, pointed out some other Apple problems: Guy R. Briggs wrote, soberingly, "I can’t remember ever logging into a Windows Guest account, for example, only to have the OS erase all of the files in the Administrator account."

It's not that Apple can't change. Apple has, in the past, (and I use the word lovingly) ruthlessly propelled us forward. The original iMac dispensed with the 3.5-inch floppy. Apple abandoned SCSI to move to USB, a protocol that hogs the CPU and is intended mainly to sell more and faster Intel chips. Apple abandoned FireWire on the iPods to please the PC users. Apple dragged us, ruthlessly, into the Mini DisplayPort. Apple isn't afraid of change.

But when it comes to the sacred one button mouse, I suspect Mr. Jobs enforces that rule, and no one at Apple dares challenge him.

It's simple, Mr. Jobs. This an obsolete obsession. It's an out of the box experience that infuriates. At each earnings report, Mr. Cook likes to point out that 50 percent of the people buying Macs in the retail stores are new to Macs. Yet Apple insists on infuriating and befuddling them with a mouse whose default is one button.

The time for the one button mouse is long gone. It's an anachronism of the 1990s. Apple should make the default setting a two button mouse. Mac users replacing an older Mac will know what to do, and Switchers will have a better out of the box experience.

Isn't that what's really important?