Mighty Mouse Reflections

On Wednesday, I had to buy a new battery for my 1.5 year-old PowerBook. Apparently they don’t live that long, and I was getting a whopping 10 minutes out of a full charge. PowerBook batteries aren’t all that exciting, but I also brought home a Mighty Mouse, which is only slightly more interesting.


Mighty MouseLooking at the Mighty Mouse from the side, it actually looks like an actual mouse, which I’m sure was intentional. The tail, however, is coming out of its mouth, which is perhaps unintentional.
I embarrassingly brought the mouse back to the Apple store the next day, thinking that the little mini scroll ball “nipple” was defective. It didn’t “click” when it was depressed, and I figured this particular box slipped by quality control. But it wasn’t defective, with the Apple Store Dude explaining that the mouse senses when it’s been clicked normally with a finger on the little scroll ball nipple. Ah.
Anyone that’s used a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel before, will no doubt agree that’s it’s far more productive. There’s nothing new here, but what is new is how Apple managed to create a mouse that one-button-purists could still use, since it’s really just a one-button mouse with touch-sensitive sides. I don’t know why I’ve strayed away from using a third-party multi-button mouse in the past. Perhaps I (and I assume others) have way too much brand loyalty.
I’ve managed to accidentally click the wrong side many times already. I think having been used to a single, big button has me in the habit of clicking the entire mouse (both left and right sides) with all fingers. So, it’ll take some time to get used to clicking each side again.
I’m loving Dashboard so far, so I welcome the ability to click the nipple to activate it. I’ve found that clicking the nipple and holding it down will enable you to see the Dashboard, then releasing the mouse will hide it again. Alternatively, just quickly clicking will bring Dashboard into view until you click again to hide. The click-and-hold feature is nice if you’re just quickly checking the date or weather. Similarly, squeezing the sides to activate Expose has been rather handy as well.
So, all in all, the concepts behind the Mighty Mouse have been around for ages, but as usual, Apple has created something that improves on its usefulness, doesn’t get in the way with obvious controls, and is just done well.

53 Comments

  1. Phil Dokas says:

    The click-and-hold thing for Dashboard is true with your keyboard combo for Dashboard too. Ditto for the three other Exposé functions.

  2. Awesome. Thanks, Phil. Hadn’t noticed that’s the overall reaction for the keyboard as well.

  3. Miko says:

    Ever since I got a Wacom for my design work I’ve been using that mouse as the main one. The single-button mouse was a little too simple for me.

  4. Jeff Wheeler says:

    I tried one the other day, and was really impressed with the touch sensitivity. It’s really nice and easy. The wheel is also a great touch. It feels great.
    (Also, I just got your book and am quite impressed. It’s wonderful. Thanks!)

  5. Paul Lloyd says:

    I agree with a lot of points in this review – for me constant accidental squeezes have annoyed me, so for the moment that functionality has been turned off. I am also finding it difficult to adjust to having to press my fingers either left or right – in some respects it proves what a far easier and more comfortable concept the one button mouse is/was – but I’m getting there!
    As to looking like a mouse, mine has been also sounding like a mouse – contsantly squeaking on every press – really irritating. However squeezing the two parts tightly together seems to have silenced it – for now!

  6. Do we have to say “click the nipple”? : )

  7. Dave S. says:

    “Click the nipple”

    I wonder why Apple decided not to run with that phrase in their marketing?

  8. Dave S. says:

    Damn. Owned by Williams yet again.

  9. Miko,
    Aargh, I don’t see how you can stand that. The Wacom mice move the cursor based on their location on the tablet, NOT the direction of motion of the mouse. At least, last I checked. That’s just incredibly mind-numbingly awkward.

  10. Dave – ROFL

  11. Mike D. says:

    Also, make sure you install the Mighty Mouse driver on the CD. Right-clicks don’t work consistently with that driver.

  12. Mike D. says:

    Uhhhh, I mean “without” that driver.

  13. theUg says:

    One-button mouse is not “too simple”, but rather too awkward for me. I use context menus a lot and on Mac you have to press “Command” button or whichever that is. And when you munch on something (I read news and you people’s blogs at lunchtime) it’s way easier to use two buttons and a scroll weel, combined with my Opera’s mouse gestures.
    As for notebook batteries, I have the same problem with my Dell—after couple years it doesn’t hold charge at all.

  14. Glad to see someone got to enjoy theirs — I was dead set on just going to pick one up since my office is two blocks away from the SF stockton store. However my 10am walk in was a disappointment as they’re still out of stock, and I had to go online again.
    Either way, atleast I was able to play with it and decide on the purchase… and hopefully enjoy an improved productivity over my multi-button Microsoft mouse that shames my desk.
    Give the alternative driver a test as well, it might be useful:
    http://plentycom.jp/en/steermouse/index.html

  15. Sam says:

    I’ve got a single button bluetooth Apple mouse, and until such times as they bring out a bluetooth version of the Mighty Mouse I am hesitant to buy one.
    I have a 7-button Microsoft mouse which is great, but the wires annoy the (insert word here) out of me. How do you go back from bluetooth to annoying wires?
    Bluetooth version by Christmas or I’ll buy the Mighty Mouse anyway!!

  16. I was all set to get one. My mouse died the day before the announcement. When I tried it I was disappointed. I love the two button/one button feel, but the “nipple” is too hard to use. It’s too small and awkward. Plus, when the nipple gets dirty, how do you clean it? It doesn’t come out.

  17. Miko says:

    @Lanny
    The wacom pen is the one that moves according to placement on the tablet; the mouse is normal.
    (But I know some people who swear by just the pen to navigate on their computer!)

  18. Alex Foley says:

    I’m ticked off at the guy in my office who just got his Mighty Mouse. He treats it like Apple just invented the two-button mouse, and to this day defends his one-button mouse as being just as productive as any other mouse. Oh well.

  19. giovanni says:

    just a thought… does the Mighty Mouse run on PCs too?

  20. Martin Goodson says:

    As a newbie to the mac, using an Intellimouse Explorer 4.0 currently, I’m *awfully* tempted … but I’ve got to echo the question …
    how do you clean the nipple? As User Friendly would have it, I’m worried ’bout the cheetos :)
    (btw, just received my copy of Dan’s new book… my one sentence review: It’s a beauty :) )

  21. Dale Cruse says:

    Yes, the Mighty Mouse works on PCs.
    What I’m surprised no one has brought up is the side buttons on the Mighty Mouse. I have to change my grip to use them. In fact, I find them so awkward as to be useless.
    Today I finally unplugged my Mighty Mouse and plugged my Logitech back in. It works, it fits, and its scrolling mechanism isn’t clunky. And there are no excess buttons.

  22. I think the Mighty Mouse looks great, but I have to ask — what took so long? I wish someone at Apple would just stand up and say, “OK, OK, it was a pain in the neck to have only one button on mouses for so long. With all the contextual menus we built into OSX, you’d think we’d have done this sooner. We were just stubborn, OK? It’s not like none of YOU are ever stubborn!”
    It’d give a nice human face to it, if you ask me. Management decisions seemingly based solely out of hubris annoy me.
    But that having been said, I think they did a good job with the Mighty Mouse. It won’t change the world (except as a defense in sexual harassment cases — “I told her to click the nipple… you know, on the mouse…”), but it’s nice to have an actual two button Apple mouse.

  23. Jens Meiert says:

    Apple, please offer a wireless version, and I’m in.

  24. Brian says:

    I truly cannot believe you’re praising a product that you couldn’t even get to work without someone showing you. Isn’t that the very definition of bad design?
    It’s a friggin’ mouse. If you’ve already had experience with one, there shouldn’t be any learning curve. At all.

  25. Bryan, I don’t think that necessarily means it had a bad design; It was a new thing, and it is different than normal mice; with that comes a few differences and those differences are what Apple is going for. Apple wants to make a unique two button mouse, and they want to have a memorable product. I probably won’t buy one until a newer edition of it comes out just for the simple fact that it does seem to be a bit awkward to use the side trigger buttons, and also after they get a bit of user feedback I’m sure they will make a version two of it. We’ll see how that goes.

  26. Ben O'Neill says:

    How does the touch sensitivity work? Can you rest your fingers on the mouse, if not, where do you put your fingers when you’re not clicking?
    I’m a PC user and darn proud to be using a mouse with more than one button for a long time.

  27. I haven’t had the chance to use one yet (shoudl make a trip to ye local Apple Store just to take a look), but I can’t see anything about this mouse that would make me want to stop using my trusty Wireless Intellimouse Explorer.
    I can understand how people would be clicking the wrong side a lot, because I have noticed something. The shape of Apple’s mice since the beginning have been conducive to the one click movement. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve always held one of their mice with two fingers resting on it and it easily leads to clicking with both fingers. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but Apple could have done more to modify the ergonomics of the Mighty Mouse to make its new features a bit more conducive. The shape seems to be exactly the same as the current one button mice, and therefore led to being held the same way. I can see why a lot of people are finding the side buttons inconvenient because you hold the mouse the same way as you held the old mice. Maybe that was the point, but I don’t see how it would be useful.
    Personally, I find my Intellimouse to be better designed. It’s comfortable to hold, the two thumb buttons are well placed and easy to use (whenever I use another mouse, I really miss that ability to invoke the Back command right from the mouse). But, I am just one silly Windows user. Many will marvel at the Mighty Mouse simply because it comes from mythical Apple, for it Steve makes it, it must be good.
    As a positive, at least they didn’t overprice it, as they’re wont to do for so many of their products.

  28. Rose says:

    I had the chance to try it out about a week ago at my local Apple store, and I really liked it. I’m surprised noone has mentioned the 360 degrees scrollling feature, it worked nicely when I tried it, though it did seem like it takes some getting used to.
    I used to be a Windows user until a year and a half ago and so I was used to the two-button mice, plus, I bought a Wacom tablet shortly after I switched to the Mac and so I’ve been using the Wacom mouse, which is also a two-button; clicking left or right on the Mighty Mouse felt just like any other mouse, only difference being it looking like a one button mouse. I didn’t really try out the side buttons so I can’t comment on them. But anyway, I may be a tiny bit biased too.

  29. Hmmm…we’re a strictly Mac shop at work but I have a PC at home. Aesthetically, the Mighty Mouse makes me want to run out and buy a Mac right now. It’s a little disappointing to hear people have difficulty using it although I guess I could see from the design how operating the side buttons might be slightly difficult or awkward. Guess I’ll have to try it for myself in the new Apple store in my neighborhood.

  30. some guy says:

    seeing something

  31. Tom Law says:

    Even though Apple has finally come around to the rest of the world, this thing just doesn’t cut it. I’ve been using Logitech mice for quite some time and have learned that you can’t get enough buttons. My Logitech MX Laser has 11 clickable regions and I use all of them all the time. If they made one with more buttons, I’d get it immediately. So, point being, its a start but Apple has much further to go. The thing isn’t even wireless yet. I appreciate the aesthetics of it but it just isn’t a robust enough solution for the way people really work.

  32. Tom says:

    I’m happy Apple has finally moved into the two-button mouse arena, but it annoys me that they’ve gone, ‘Oooh, fancy, clickable regions!’ instead of just having plain old buttons.
    I need some tactile feedback when I click.

  33. I went into the Apple store to play with the mighty mouse and found two things that make it a purchase option for me.
    1) when primary clicking, I can leave my hand in the exact same position I always have used for left-clicking, which happens to mean my first and middle fingers are on the the mouse. And when I right-click, I’m really just lifting my index finger and clicking, and voila! contextual goodness appears. And…
    2) When scrolling with the nipplewheel, I can alternate between my index finger and middle finger, and I don’t have to get it exactly straight down, I can go a bit to the side and with sites that aren’t wonky-wide, it just goes down, quickly, easily, smoothly.
    But I will also be waiting, I’m a big fan of snack foods, and I wouldn’t want that fact broadcast by having an orange nipple that couldn’t be cleaned easily.

  34. Chris says:

    I haven’t really posted my opinions on the Mighty Mouse anywhere as of yet, so I may as well bury them here in some comments at Simplebits ;)
    Brilliant idea with the “regions”. Non-Mac people will probably think “what’s the point?”, but considering the Apple traditon, it’s a really nice comprimise.
    As far as I can tell, the new mouse looks like it matches the iBook in the colour/design department. White on grey. I still prefer the Pro Mouse look.
    Will I buy one? Probably not. While most power users can’t live without a 2-button mouse, I always have one hand on the bottom-left of my keyboard anyway, so Cmd-clicking is easy and natural for me. The scroll ball is a nice, but I have big sausage fingers, so probably won’t do me much good.
    Cheers!

  35. Chris K says:

    Jumping in on this late…did anyone happen to catch today’s Fox Trot? Bill Amend must be a Mac user.
    http://www.ucomics.com/foxtrot/2005/08/16/

  36. Chrisp says:

    I’ve been a multi button mouse user ever since I shyly plugged my M$ intellimouse into my Mac.
    I for one love that Apple has FINALLY begun to offer a multi-button mouse. However, I think the wait was a little anticlimactic. The mouse is nice looking of course.. but I think in this case the design hinders the functionality of it a little. (remember the puck mouse).
    The ball feels way too strange, although it is a fantastic idea. It has give.. then sort of clicks.. its just weird. Pressure sensitive buttons? Ok then.. but why?
    I’ve always envisioned the “Uber Mac mouse” as something “pro” looking. The type of mouse you’d see at the desk of some high end video-editing machine. Sleek, metallic, and even art deco.
    The Mighty Mouse is cool, but I’m waiting on Superman

  37. Eidderf Tubale says:

    Hey, Dan. I forgot to tell you that I’ve ordered your books. It’s already on my way. Sadly it’ll reach the Philippines by Sept. 15. Damn! I can’t wait that long.

  38. I just receive my mighty mouse today. Here are my first comments.
    The cord is not long enough for me. I use a Apple wireless keyboard but never liked the one-button wireless mouse. The cord is at least 20 inches shorter than my Logitech mouse.
    I don’t think I’ll use the side buttons as you have to position your fingers on the right spot, or othewise the command doesn’t work.
    I do love the button, it’s much better than other scroll weels.
    Would I still buy it? Not sure. But a cordless one at the same price, yes.

  39. whizdumb says:

    I wanted to mention a couple things I ran across…first, actual studies have been done with one- and two-button mice. In the post-test interview, the users always say they feel more productive with two buttons, but the tests produce metrics which show that they are actually more productive with just one button! That’s right, far from being just a quaint prejudice, there is substantial user data that argues for single button over multi-button mice after all.

    To me it’s crazy that people can be dismissive of Steve, as if they think more about this stuff than he does, and as if it’s a long-foregone conclusion that one-buttoners are inferior. I use a two-buttoner on my Mac at work, and I like it…but I find that my stock Apple the-whole-mouse-is-the-single-button mouse is much easier on my fingers after a lot of click and dragging. I think it’s because several fingers are sharing the work.

  40. misterchris says:

    Does anyone elses mighty mouse squeak when you click it? I don’t mean in a cutesy mouse type way, I mean in a creaking plastic-on-plastic type way.

  41. Neil says:

    Over 700 comments for that last entry, thats insane!

  42. Bryan says:

    No whizdumb, what’s crazy is someone telling a user after testing: “You’re wrong, you aren’t more productive with two buttons and you don’t prefer it – HERE, look at the metrics. Steve thinks about these things more than you, now take your single-button mouse home and be quiet (and happy).”
    *By the way, as a “two-buttoner” I don’t think I’m in any way better than “one-buttoners”. Well, maybe a little…LOL
    Actually, after reading Mike D.’s post on this I plan on trying that mouse, it just isn’t on the short list….yet.

  43. Christian says:

    Mine makes that plastic-on-plastic squeak when I left click on the outer part. It does fine if I click more toward the middle.
    The negative is I keep accidentally not right-clicking because my index finger is still resting on the left side.

  44. patricia says:

    my mouse squeaks.
    a most annoying, as you say, plastic on plastic sound.
    i’m taking it back to the store.
    darn! i like it so much but i can’t record with a mouse that makes noise like this.

  45. Q says:

    i’m surprised no one has mentioned the Kensington trackballs yet. i’ve been using the Expert Mouse Pro for about four years now. It has four fully programmable buttons which can also be used to make “chords.” Application specific sets control its behavior and sensitivity.
    i’ve also dabbled using the Wacom tablet as an interface for a computer i was treating as a jukebox, but it was far too awkward to be efficient… at least for me.
    Although the Mighty Mouse looks cute and sleek and i’m sure will look great in somebody’s daughter’s bedroom next to her iMac, i’m sticking with my Expert Mouse PRO, thank you very much.

  46. Faruk Ateş says:

    Dan,
    Now that you’ve used the Mighty Nipple, er, Mouse for a while, could you perhaps share your experiences with it at this point? Mostly, are you still enjoying it after more thorough, complete use? First impressions (even those after a day or two can still be seen as “first”) are only useful to a certain extent, what matters most is how it performs on a day-to-day usage over tons of days in a row. :-)

  47. lushbudget says:

    I bought one. I’m an apple snob, and I just couldn’t take seeing that M$ mouse on my desk when I knew there was an apple alternative. It took me about an hour of using it, and now I have come to like it. The side buttons are a little weird. I almost have to pick the mouse up to squeeze it. From the reviews I thought I was going to get a mouse that responded the same way an iPod does, with gentle taps on the buttons and no heavy click. So I thought I’d try it, and if I didn’t like it I’d return it. Turns out the thing clicks just like a mouse otter, AND it looks cool. I like things that look cool. Like my Apple hardware. So I think I’ll keep it, I’ve gotten used to everything but the side squeeze, but I’m getting more accustomed to that, as well. Anybody in the market for a blue Starck M$ Mouse?
    PS: I wish I wish I wish it was wireless…that would be cool.

  48. luxuryluke says:

    I’d much rather say “tweak the nipple.”
    Then it would be:
    Tweak and hold.
    Tweak twice.
    …etc.
    Much funner in my opinion.

  49. luxuryluke says:

    In fact, there should be two of them…
    Right-tweak
    Left-tweak
    that’s it.

  50. Nato. says:

    I was so very disappointed with this new product. I was told it would be the future – well, its not.
    I give it a month before Apple recalls the product and melts them down to make more iPods.

  51. Jake says:

    Get a life!!!

  52. BREAK YOSELF says:

    Mine squeaks a lot too. This is my second one (took back the first) but I had to get another one because I’m having shoulder surgery next week. So I needed something that keeps me from using both hands at once. Second one squeaks just like the first. Annoying as hell.

  53. The Bog says:

    Mine -used to- squeak. Another forum suggested rubbing the mouse’s belly and sure enough, it worked! I just massaged the bottom (where the serial number is) and the middle (near the apple logo) and that did the trick.
    Much easier than an exchange at the store…