Apple appears to be readying a new version of its Mighty Mouse, possibly planning to launch it later this year with a set of new iMacs. But here's my advice to Apple: don't mess with the mouse.
AppleInsider was first on the story. "Apple's next mouse is expected to do away with the Mighty Mouse's problematic mechanical roller ball, using expanded touch-sensitive housing and multipoint touch detection mechanism technologies described in recent patent filings," the site wrote.
"Given Apple's patented 'inertia feedback' used on the iPod and iPhone, where item lists bounce when reaching the top or bottom and scrolling speeds accelerate in response to how the user touches the surface, the next Apple mouse is similarly expected to wed new hardware with sophisticated software to deliver an intuitive new feel in scroll navigation."
The report includes the idea that Apple may drop its trademark white plastic mouse housing for something with an aluminium finish. That doesn't immediately sound very attractive or useful, but maybe it will be better than it sounds. Or maybe white will remain an option.
Too cool to be useful
I don't use the scroll wheel very often, but it is unobtrusive and doesn't cause me problems. I like the positioning of the button low on each side of the current Mighty Mouse (I use the Bluetooth version). I especially like being able to left and right-click with having to feel an actual button. Clicking on the proper side works very nicely.
So I'm actually pretty happy with the current Mighty Mouse, and I'm concerned that Apple may try to do something so cool that the mouse actually becomes more difficult to use.
After all, in his history and despite its pioneering roll, Apple has mostly shipped some pretty awful mice over a two-decade period. It hung on to a single button design, supposedly a Steve Jobs dictate, for far too long.
The Mighty Mouse, introduced in 2005 and improved since, is the only Apple mouse that I have ever enjoyed using. Previously, I was mostly a fan of the giant Kensington trackball.
So, when I hear Apple might be "messing with the mouse" it concerns me. Again, my advice: Don't mess with the mouse!