No other high tech company is so willing to say goodbye to yesterday, and embrace tomorrow so early in the day. Goodbye Newton. Goodbye PowerPC. Goodbye mouse?
What? The latest word on the street is that Apple is ready to dump the mouse in favor of the trackpad. Over my dead point and click fingers.
RIP, Mouse. We Hardly Knew Ye
Alex Heath in Cult of Mac says their reliable sources (and who has more reliable rumor sources than CoM?) say the computing world’s best mouse, the touch-centric Magic Mouse, is about to bite the digital dust. I don’t believe a word of it.
To be fair and balanced, the Magic Mouse is in the minority at Apple. Since most Macs are notebooks, then the trackpad is the most used Mac pointing and clicking device. Apple has worked diligently in recent years to educate the Mac masses on touch technology; the swiping, pinching, stretching, dragging, and tapping of Apple’s handheld devices.
Ostensibly, in this kill the mouse scenario, desktop Macs, sans the Mac mini, would ship without a Magic Mouse, which would be replaced by the Magic Trackpad. The stock in companies that make rechargeable batteries just went down. Is there an electronic pointing device with worse battery life than a Bluetooth Magic Mouse?
So, You Hate The Future, Kate?
Not at all. There is a problem I see with replacing Magic Mouse with Magic Trackpad. The magic of precise pointing and easy clicking disappears in the transition. In other words, the mouse is better at pointing and better at clicking than a trackpad. A trackpad is better for less precise screen movements, and for use on a lap.
That’s just the way it is. Why? How? There’s not much difference between using a Mac notebook keyboard and a Mac desktop keyboard. It’s a keyboard. The mouse is different because the palm of the hand can rest on the desktop and become a resting pivot for the hand and finger to translate mouse pointer movements onscreen.
It’s a more precise, less fatiguing way to point onscreen. Yes, the Magic Trackpad, when positioned on the desktop, also offers a pivot on the palm, but it’s less accurate and requires more time to position the pointer onscreen than a mouse. Fingers and hand become fatigued more quickly using a trackpad all day vs. using a Magic Mouse. It’s physics.
So, as Heath says, is Apple about to merge Mac OS X with iDevices’ iOS so everything Apple is gesture and touch-based? No. We won’t be touching our Mac screens to click menus or select text. Tennis elbow, anyone? Shoulder inflammation, anyone? That won’t happen.
Touch is another way Apple can differentiate itself from competitors, whether Mac or iPhone or iPad vs. every other touch product on the market. Apple leads. Sometimes. Sometimes Apple pushes. Sometimes they drag customers kicking and screaming into the future. If Apple kills the Magic Mouse, I’ll kick and scream, but I don’t believe it will happen. Until we have a Mac that reads minds, we’ll have the mouse in one form or another.
As it stands now, Heath and CoM have backtracked on their story that Apple will discontinue the mouse. It appears that only the current Magic Mouse will disappear, replaced by yet another, improved mouse. Ah, keepers of the Apple Rumor Mill Flame™, what would we do without you?