There’s touchpads, trackpoints, those weird roller balls that never really took off and – of course – the venerable mouse. The Wheel was probably the last great addition to this icon of modern computing, so Apple has decided it would be a good idea to take it off.
What it has done with the “Mighty Mouse” (yes, we’re sure there must be trademark issues too) is essentially slap a track point in place of the wheel. This is a crude description (I’m a master of them), but it more or less gives you an idea of what we’re talking about. Yet, instead of moving the pointer like a trackpoint would, it scrolls the contents of the window.
Now the obvious benefit to this approach is it provides 360 degree movement, but that is not the Mighty Mouse’s only trick. Like a scroll wheel, the button can also be depressed, yet instead of being a command in its own right it acts a little like the “Fn” key on a notebook allowing alternative commands to be issued with the existing buttons (left and right click, and buttons on the left and right sides).
One downside to the Mighty Mouse, however, is that you’ll need Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4.2) installed to get the full functionality as earlier versions do not allow users to reprogram the buttons. That said, I’m a PC user and the biggest envy I have of Macs is just how good their latest operating system is, so if you don’t have it already go get it now!
The Mighty Mouse flies into stores immediately and you can pick it up for £35 including VAT (which would be fine if it was not so much more expensive than the $49 US price).
Incidentally, I reckon they make a cute couple… (although don’t you think MM – the original one – looks a little camp?!)