by Mielle Sullivan, Janus Networks
While Disney’s Mickey Mouse promises unconditional love and timeless family-friendly entertainment, Apple’s Magic Mouse combines the Holy Trinity of high end mouse technology: wireless connection, laser tracking and best of all, Apple’s Multi-Touch technology. First it was the iPhone, then the iTouch and now the Magic Mouse that respond to your every touch. It also connects through Bluetooth to any Mac so equipped from up to thirty-three feet away and its laser tracking is more sensitive than ever. The Magic Mouse has the signature sleek Apple design, with no moving parts at all. All mouse functions can be custom mapped with the driver software and it runs on two (included) AA batteries – but only if you have a Mac.
Multi-touch technology helped make the iPhone a hot seller. It was only a matter of time until such a versatile and accurate interface tool was ported to the desktop user. Now that we have the Magic Mouse, that clock stopped ticking. It can be mapped for single or double clicking, left or right and for either hand. Brushing a finger along its surface, left right up or down, scrolls up to a full 360 on the page. If you hold down “control” on the keyboard, the same motion used for scrolling becomes zoom in and zoom out. If you use two fingers to swipe across the mouse, it will advance through photos or web pages in Safari. Apple claims that the mouse can tell if you simply have large fingers or resting your hand on it as well.
Fairly standard on a modern mouse, laser tracking is still a nice “feature” for those of us that grew up with 5.25” floppies. Apple’s newest version is, according to their site, is more accurate than ever and works across a range of surfaces from your immaculate home computing table, to mine: covered with sandwich crumbs and slightly sticky from spilled coffee. It also knows when it is being picked up and immediately enters power-save mode, so you can bring your mouse with you to work in the cafe without inadvertently draining your battery.
The drawbacks seem relatively minor. First, it uses AA batteries. In some mice, these might last only a couple days if left “on” continuously. While Apple’s automatic “sleep” mode will save battery life, the fact remains that you might have to scavenge AAs from the remote, while your significant other looks on with dismay. With rechargeable AAs this might be less of an issue, assuming the Magic Mouse works on the slightly decreased voltage. Second, it’s only compatible with Mac computers. If you own a Mac, this is fine and, in fact, a bonus. It will undoubtedly feed your ego to watch PC owners click mice with moving parts. For those of us with PCs – well, Apple’s little darling here isn’t much use. Third, and this is an admitted reach, it uses Bluetooth. If wifi 2.0 does what’s prophesied and overturns Bluetooth, you may one day replace your mouse when you get a new laptop–as if we didn’t anyway.
Despite these few drawbacks, it looks like Apple has produced another winner. While it may not revolutionize the way you use your computer, it will certainly enhance efficiency. It’s also quite an attractive piece of hardware: no wheels, buttons, balls or switches – this thing just looks cool. Free with every new Mac or $69 separately, the Magic Mouse is likely to become part of almost every Mac owner’s desktop.
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