Microsoft to ship its first Mac-only keyboard and mouse

Redmond (WA) - A veteran Macintosh user, upon first hearing that Microsoft today announced a new "Desktop" for Macs only, might come to a different conclusion other than the release of its first wireless keyboard/mouse combination. Today, Microsoft announced its first Macintosh hardware product, which effectively places its company logo on at least some people's Macs for the very first time. The move may leave some Mac users thinking, "First it was Intel, now it's Microsoft!"

Microsoft's first Comfort Curve keyboard for Macintosh.

The official name of the package is "Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac;" and here, the "desktop" refers to the physical, not virtual, variety. Both mouse and keyboard come in a glossy "futuristic silver finish." The keyboard adopts the gentle curve layout, which adopts a more slight extension to the middle keys rather than the massive hump of Microsoft's original ergonomic design. But some Mac users will cast a skeptical glance at the company's mouse, which adopts the two-button style more familiar to PC users. Macintoshes typically do not use right-button mouse commands, opting instead for a two-handed combination involving the Option key and the Mac mouse's traditional single button.

Almost avoiding the subject altogether today, Microsoft's photographs are tilted at such an angle that the division between the left and right buttons - which comes just above the tilt wheel - is effectively obscured. Microsoft's announcements avoided mention of the two-button system, though a company spokesperson confirmed to TG Daily today the existence of the button split. While this may seem like a trivial concern for PC users, for some Mac advocates, upholding Apple's single-button mouse design has almost become a pastime.

Microsoft pointed out today the absence of the "Windows" key from this keyboard, as shown here. Notice also the distinct lack of the "open Apple" logo that typically adorns at least one of the keys on a Macintosh keyboard.

Microsoft added that the mouse's built-in tilt wheel simplifies navigation and viewing spreadsheets, documents, and images. There will be five additional, programmable buttons - two on the left, two on the right, in addition to the tilt wheel's own built-in button. The silver bead on the bottom, Microsoft told us today, isn't actually a button at all, just a little logo for something. Built-in keyboard features include a zoom slider for digital pictures and maps, five customizable keys, an eject key for CDs and DVDs as well as hot keys for one-touch access to certain applications.

The intended market for this combo may be the multitude of new Mac mini owners who lack a spare keyboard, and would like to incorporate one with a real Macintosh layout, complete with Option and Command keys. The Wireless Laser Desktop kit should ship later this summer for about $100.