Apple’s New Magic Mouse – A Quick Review

I helped switch my mother-in-law from Windows to Mac this past weekend. She bought a new 21.5 inch iMac. Ooooooo. Ahhhhhhh. Very nice and very fast.

What stuck out in my mind was the new Magic Mouse. I have heard a number of people mention that having a touch surface on a traditional mouse sounded interesting. Of course they also expressed some reservation over it’s practical use.

As soon as I un-boxed this thing it felt cool. It even has an on/off switch to save battery! I was able to use it, without even thinking about it, almost instantly. I want one, now. The scroll, both horizontal and vertical, was very smooth. Flicking is amazing. When scrolling it senses your speed and continues as though you threw the page. If you hold the Control Key while scrolling, the screen zooms in or out. This is a feature that has existed for a while, but which is now being advertised on the product page. The new Mac grandmother will have it much easier. Swiping, using two fingers to move forward or back through web pages and photos, was a bit more difficult to use. You have to use two fingers, moving left and right, while still holding the mouse. It took a while, but once you figure out what works with your hand, it just works.

The Magic mouse was originally only available with a new iMac but, as of today, is shipping as a stand alone product priced at $69. It will require users to have OS 10.6.2, which is not available as of this post, or to install a wireless mouse software update .

I did run into a few issues during the switch. The Windows machine itself was most of the problem, but moving certain types of data did prove problematic. I guess that is the topic of a future post.

3 Responses to “Apple’s New Magic Mouse – A Quick Review”

  1. Mike says:

    Have you ordered one? If you drop $70 of your hard earned cash for this mouse, I’ll know it’s a success. Frankly, as much as I appreciate Apple’s products, their mice have been a weak point. They fought against a second mouse button for so long. Now they do everything to hide the fact that they have one and that it’s necessary with modern operating systems. Their “form above functionality” mantra has made me an apologist when I help out a new switcher.

    The hockey puck that shipped with the original iMacs was ridiculous. We punish people at work by swapping their Microsoft, Logitech or Kensington mice with those. The first Apple optical mice would last an average of 6 months, then die. The first Apple bluetooth mouse I owned died a quick death. The “Mighty Mouse” micro track ball required way more rolls of the finger to accomplish the same thing as my Microsoft scroll wheel. The poor placement of the side “buttons” also made it tricky to pick up the mouse when moving the cursor across large screens, or, more regrettably, when repositioning the cursor in Photoshop. Make Photoshop less productive or frustrating = massive fail.

    The whole touch surface concept is intriguing. I hope it’s a hit and works as advertised. My biggest concern is that I’ll have to “hover” my hand over it to avoid accidental input, like on my iPhone and iPods. There’s a reason that we don’t use “touch sensitive” keyboards for our day-to-day typing needs, and I’m not talking about price. Mechanical inputs allow you to think with your fingers. Think about your keyboard. Do you rest your fingers on the “F” and “J” keys in the home row? Can you rest your finger on the iPhone screen or the iPod scroll wheel? Do you find yourself holding these devices with fingertips carefully avoiding contact?

    I’m still trying to figure out how to trick the family into visiting the Apple store so I can check one of these out for myself. It’s shiny and pretty and new… all the things I usually look forward to from Apple.

    Thanks for your initial review. I really want to know if you were impressed enough to buy one for your daily use and if you’re happy with it after a month.

  2. Razz says:

    Hey Mike,

    I have not ordered one because I am debating buying a 27″ iMac. If I don’t get the new Mac, I will get the mouse. I agree about the Apple mouse history. Puck, and Small Balls as I call them. The side buttons on the Mighty Mouse my son likes and I hate with more passion than I like a cold Diet Coke. The buttons do ‘click’ and I had no accidental clicks in my 8 hours of use. The bottom line is, after this many years, I know very fast if I will like a mouse. My first impression of this thing was one thing, but I liked it more by the end. It was not Photoshop mind you, but do to the nature of the migration I was doing lots of movement, scrolling, and left & right clicking. I would buy it. No question. Again though, be prepared to hate the two finger swipe until you realize not to use the finger tips. Just as you hold the mouse with the two fingers straight out, slide the fingers left or right. Really amazing.

  3. Mark, Sr. says:

    I tested a Mighty Mouse at Best Buy today, and really liked it. Admittedly, I just browsed around on the internet for about five minutes, but, it was so intuitive. I was truly amazed on how cool the scrolling was with NO SCROLL BALL OR WHEEL!
    I didn’t try any of the “advanced” two-fingered techniques, though . . . 🙂
    Thanks for your review, Razz, I look forward to Mike reviewing it as a Photoshop tool.