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Apple introduces world’s first multi-touch wireless ‘Magic Mouse’


October 20, 2009

Apple's new wireless Magic Mouse features a multi-touch surface sitting atop an aluminum base

Apple's new wireless Magic Mouse features a multi-touch surface sitting atop an aluminum base

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The Apple rumor-mill’s speculation of a replacement for the Mighty Mouse has been borne out today, with Apple introducing the world’s first wireless multi-touch “Magic Mouse”. As with all Apple designs, the new mouse is a lesson in minimalist design with no buttons, scroll wheels or “nipples” on display. Instead, the entire top of the aluminum-based mouse is a seamless hard acrylic multi-touch surface that lets users navigate using the finger gestures made popular on other Apple devices, such as the iPod touch, iPhone and Macbook trackpads.

The touch-sensitive surface enables all the familiar mouse controls, including left and right mouse buttons, and adds full 360 degree scrolling capabilities by brushing a finger across the surface in any direction. This is a welcome replacement for the “nipple” employed on the Mighty Mouse that yours truly found impossible to keep clean, resulting in the scrollbar heading north when I wanted it to move south. Since the whole surface is, in fact, a clickable button like the original clear Apple mouse, there is a reassuring physical feedback when clicking the buttons.

One gesture that hasn’t made the transition to the new Magic Mouse is pinch zoom - instead, a screen zoom is accomplished by holding the Control key on the keyboard down while scrolling with one finger. Swiping across the touch surface with two fingers lets users flip through web pages in Safari or photos in iPhoto. Of course, if any of the gestures feel unintuitive to you then the touch controls are fully customizable, which also comes in handy for lefties wishing to swap left and right mouse button functionality.

The new Magic Mouse also uses a laser tracking engine that lets it remain accurate on a wider range of surfaces than traditional optical tracking. The mouse’s Bluetooth wireless connection has a range of up to ten meters (33-feet), while its power management system automatically switches the mouse to low power modes during periods of inactivity. This allows the mouse, which is powered by two AA batteries, to boast a four-month battery life.

Apple’s new Magic Mouse will be included with every new iMac and is available separately for US$69.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick
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