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Apple's New Mouse is Magic, Has Multitouch

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 57 comments

Mouse doesn't have to be mighty with it's magic.

Multitouch seems to be the new hotness in the computing industry. Be it multitouch screens or trackpads, it's all about multi-fingering your computers. Apple's had multitouch on its notebooks and iPhones for years now, and now the company is bringing multitouch to the mouse.

Apple today introduced the new wireless Magic Mouse, which does away with mechanical buttons, scroll wheels or scroll balls. Instead, the entire top of the Magic Mouse is a multitouch surface.

Magic Mouse features a seamless touch-sensitive enclosure that allows it to be a single or multi-button mouse with advanced gesture support. The single click is done with the index finger, and the right click is done with the middle finger (at the top corner of the mouse, depending on handedness). The mouse also supports gestures for scrolling, panning, and swipes for page navigation.

Lastly, the new mouse has very thick glide feet--much thicker and longer lasting than many, if not all other mice on the market.

Like most Apple input peripherals, it's Bluetooth only, but it does have a battery life of around four months and range of 10 meters. Magic Mouse comes standard with the new iMac and is available at the end of October for a suggested retail price of $69 (US).

For those wondering, yes, the mouse is indeed a 2 button mouse with a real right click. It just has the appearance of a button-less mouse.

Discuss
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  • 8 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , October 20, 2009 9:07 PM
    I've ordered one of these to see what they're like. The multitouch on the laptops works so well that I miss it on my desktops. I just hope this mouse works out better than the Mighty Mouse which just didn't work. The scroll ball killed the Mighty Mouse.
    I'm guessing it won't have dedicated sensors for right and left clicks like the Mighty Mouse had so it won't be much good for gaming but I'll keep my trusty Microsoft mouse around for stuff like that. For general OS use, if it can work as well as their touchpads do then it could be a seriously great device.
  • 1 Hide
    jebbadiah , October 20, 2009 9:15 PM
    yeah, battery life: 4 months, after that you'll have to pay 20 bucks to get a reloading-device i bet!
  • 2 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , October 20, 2009 10:05 PM
    jebbadiahyeah, battery life: 4 months, after that you'll have to pay 20 bucks to get a reloading-device i bet!


    I'm pretty sure it runs off AA batteries. That's what the Mighty Mouse used and looking at the underneath pic of the device it looks like it takes the same. The batteries lasted in the Mighty Mouse for a pretty long time though. Several months at least.
  • 0 Hide
    wildwell , October 20, 2009 10:09 PM
    The other wireless controllers from Apple have been AA battery powered. I'd like to see something with the option to recharge via USB. Can you image having to run out to 7-11 in the middle of the night to buy more batteries if you're in the middle of a project?

    Mac OS Users: Tom's is currently conducting a poll with regards to a Mac OS forum.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/32340-12-forum

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/32339-12-apple-macintosh-unix-forum
  • 1 Hide
    claudeb , October 21, 2009 12:08 AM
    Spanky is right. The multi-touch connivence is just astounding. All i have is 2 finger scroll on my track-pad, I love it though. This is an area where apple impresses me.
  • 1 Hide
    buwish , October 21, 2009 5:32 AM
    I love the bluetooth on it. Makes life a lot easier if you have to movie it around the room for one reason or another. I may have to give this a shot.
  • 4 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , October 21, 2009 8:28 AM
    Hmm, I'm sceptical about multi touch on a mouse... the advantage of proper buttons is that your fingers can maintain static presence on the mouse, allowing you to fully control the movement of said mouse whilst clicking the buttons.

    Having to take a finger off the 'button' to tap it instead of click it down will mean a certain amount of loss of control, probably not a huge amount for simple clicking actions, but some of those other actions, like sweeping your fingers across the mouse (I assume to scroll) are goign to require you to practically keep the mouse still in order to carry them out.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a nice looking mouse (which is something I cant say about the mighty mouse), even if it still appears a bit too small for my tastes (no I dont have mutton size hands or fingers, just normal ones) and thank gods they've done away with that horrible little pin sized ball in the middle, and I do love multi touch (Apple od it ok, but just not as amazingly as some people tend to suggest), and the concept is interesting, I think it may actually make the mouse less intuitive and flexible, rather than more so, and I doubt it actually has any more functionality than a decent logitech, Razer, MS.. etc etc, with a multidirectional scroll button (in fact taking the number of buttons in to consideration it probably has less).
  • 0 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , October 21, 2009 10:41 AM
    claudebSpanky is right. The multi-touch connivence is just astounding. All i have is 2 finger scroll on my track-pad, I love it though. This is an area where apple impresses me.


    Well, my Sony laptop has the ability to scroll (vert & hor) with only one finger on the trackpad, leaving my middle finger free to gesture at multi touch mac users :) . I think multi touch gets a bit over rated, lets not forget that it requires pre-defined gestures, and is as such still quite limited as an interface, hardly like the amazing potential of intuitive gesture recognition that I'm still waiing for (ala minority report style control). Zoom, scroll, drag, drop, page forward, page back, i can do all these with one finger on my G5 mouse, why would I wish to use two?
  • 1 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , October 21, 2009 10:47 AM
    actually, I can see one really good use for this... as a remote media centre control device. if the surface can be used as a trackpad too that would be pretty cool (although I'd prefer the motion control of other devices in the pipeline to be fair) especially coupled with the Mac's media centre capabilities.... oh wait...
  • 0 Hide
    markbene , October 21, 2009 10:54 AM
    I know there is limited real estate on this thing but I really need 3-4 buttons. I like being able to use expose without having to hunt and peck on the keyboard. I also use the 3 finger swipe a lot on my notebook to switch spaces and that would be real useful on my desktop. A 3 button is pretty much mandatory if you want to use a 3D program like Blender.
  • 0 Hide
    bk420 , October 21, 2009 12:03 PM
    K.I.S.S!
  • 3 Hide
    foody , October 21, 2009 12:27 PM
    I'd rather have one that actually fits a hand.
  • 1 Hide
    the_one111 , October 21, 2009 12:37 PM
    foodyI'd rather have one that actually fits a hand.

    Or that I could play even a minor FPS/RTS with.
  • 0 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , October 21, 2009 12:40 PM
    Drag0nR1derHmm, I'm sceptical about multi touch on a mouse... the advantage of proper buttons is that your fingers can maintain static presence on the mouse, allowing you to fully control the movement of said mouse whilst clicking the buttons. Having to take a finger off the 'button' to tap it instead of click it down will mean a certain amount of loss of control, probably not a huge amount for simple clicking actions, but some of those other actions, like sweeping your fingers across the mouse (I assume to scroll) are goign to require you to practically keep the mouse still in order to carry them out.Don't get me wrong, it's a nice looking mouse (which is something I cant say about the mighty mouse), even if it still appears a bit too small for my tastes (no I dont have mutton size hands or fingers, just normal ones) and thank gods they've done away with that horrible little pin sized ball in the middle, and I do love multi touch (Apple od it ok, but just not as amazingly as some people tend to suggest), and the concept is interesting, I think it may actually make the mouse less intuitive and flexible, rather than more so, and I doubt it actually has any more functionality than a decent logitech, Razer, MS.. etc etc, with a multidirectional scroll button (in fact taking the number of buttons in to consideration it probably has less).


    I'm pretty sure the Magic Mouse uses a similar thing as the Mighty Mouse where there is a physical click. The mighty mouse was basically a one button mouse that had touch sensors on the front end to detect if you were clicking on the left/right or middle of the mouse. The drawback was that you had to lift your left finger off (if left handed) to do a right click and it was physically impossible to do a joint left and right click (so it wasn't much good for gaming). I'm guessing the Magic Mouse will use similar tech and will have a similar drawback for gaming.

    Drag0nR1derWell, my Sony laptop has the ability to scroll (vert & hor) with only one finger on the trackpad, leaving my middle finger free to gesture at multi touch mac users . I think multi touch gets a bit over rated, lets not forget that it requires pre-defined gestures, and is as such still quite limited as an interface, hardly like the amazing potential of intuitive gesture recognition that I'm still waiing for (ala minority report style control). Zoom, scroll, drag, drop, page forward, page back, i can do all these with one finger on my G5 mouse, why would I wish to use two?


    I know laptops have had such scrolling for a while but I was really blown away by the multitouch trackpads. Its easily something you can live without, like a microwave, but you do tend to appreciate it if you've got it. I often find myself missing the ability to twirl my fingers to rotate an image or pinch to zoom in and out when I'm using my desktop. If this works as well as the multitouch trackpads do then it'll be a seriously impressive consumer mouse. For gaming you're best off with something else though.
  • 1 Hide
    belardo , October 21, 2009 12:46 PM
    Looks good...

    Wonder how it would be for gaming? For basic games yeah. But for PC users who play with 4-8 buttons, we need the tactile feel of the buttons to know what we are pressing. Also the "give" of the button would be less stressful on the fingers than the solid surface of the Magic Mouse.

    For every day uses, that mouse should be a killer product.
  • 1 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , October 21, 2009 1:04 PM
    BelardoLooks good...Wonder how it would be for gaming? For basic games yeah. But for PC users who play with 4-8 buttons, we need the tactile feel of the buttons to know what we are pressing. Also the "give" of the button would be less stressful on the fingers than the solid surface of the Magic Mouse.For every day uses, that mouse should be a killer product.


    It does have some "give" since I'm pretty sure it can click like a regular (all be it one buttoned) mouse. It'll work out whether its a left or right click depending on where your fingers are on the multitouch surface. So it'll be usable for some games but for ones that require the ability to click both left and right mouse buttons at the same time (i.e. in an FPS where holding right click to zoom in, left click to fire) will be awkward to say the least.

    I haven't been convinced by Apple's mice in the past and have always thought this is one area where Microsoft clearly wins but for day-to-day use and work use, this one could win out.
  • 1 Hide
    warezme , October 21, 2009 1:21 PM
    since Mac's can't game I suppose this generic looking mouse should appeal to the fashion victims.
  • 1 Hide
    masterasia , October 21, 2009 1:33 PM
    Looks cool. If I had a Mac, I'd buy it.
    This isn't meant for gaming, but rather media.
    I can see how it might be good for Photoshop or Illustrator.
  • 1 Hide
    Regulas , October 21, 2009 1:35 PM
    wildwellThe other wireless controllers from Apple have been AA battery powered. I'd like to see something with the option to recharge via USB. Can you image having to run out to 7-11 in the middle of the night to buy more batteries if you're in the middle of a project?Mac OS Users: Tom's is currently conducting a poll with regards to a Mac OS forum.http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/32340-12-forumhttp://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] unix-forum


    Do like most of us do. I keep several pairs of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries around my house. When one set needs replacing I change it out and re-charge the spent ones. Whats so complicated about that.
  • 0 Hide
    zak_mckraken , October 21, 2009 1:49 PM
    Quote:
    Be it multitouch screens or trackpads, it's all about multi-fingering your computers.

    Among other things...
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