Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mighty, Mighty Mouse Mod

Apple Computer never has been a leader among the world's supply of computer input devices. The first Apple mouse had an uncomfortable rectangular "sanding block" shape. The infamous "hockey puck" mouse supplied with the original iMac was Apple hitting bottom on functionality, all for visual chic. It's been down hill from down hill--except the Mighty Mouse.

Apple's first foray into the multi-button genre has a comfortable rounded jelly-bean shape sporting the industry-standard optical cursor feature. So far, so good, but not far off lingers the mini scroll ball.

Hailed as the next best thing since sliced bread, the mini scroll ball fails the durability test. In my experience, the mechanical failure rate for the scroller nub is high, and early. Mighty Mouse scroll balls which fail in less than a year of use is, albeit subjective, high.

Enter the recent patent applied for by Apple Inc. for an optical scroll mechanism for an optical mouse. Apple knows the Mighty Mouse needs a fix. The engineers have discarded the mechanical scrolling mechanism found in the current bunch of Mighty Mice, for a solid-state optical device that responds to the movement of a finger placed over a small optical window where the mechanical scrolling ball now sits.

Will Apple soon offer its first mouse than can truly roar quality, functionality, and durability?

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