5 different Apple mice
|Release date||1983 to present|
|Website||Apple.com - Magic Mouse|
The Apple Mouse began as one of the first commercial mice available to consumers. Over the years Apple has maintained a distinct form and function with its mice that reflects its design philosophies.
Perhaps the single most important feature that sets Apple mice apart from all others is its single button control interface. It was not until 2005 that Apple introduced a mouse featuring a scroll ball and 4 programmable “buttons.”
All mice made by them contained a ball-tracking control mechanism until 2000, when Apple introduced optical LED based control mechanisms. Apple's latest mouse uses laser tracking.
In 1979, Apple was planning a business computer and arranged a visit with XEROX Parc research center to view some of their experimental technology. It was there they discovered the mouse which had been incorporated into the graphical user interface (GUI) used on the Xerox Alto. They were so inspired they scrapped their current plans and redesigned everything around the mouse and GUI.
One of the biggest problems was that the three button Xerox mouse cost over US$400 to build, which was not practical for a consumer-based personal computer. Apple commissioned Hovey-Kelley Design (which later became IDEO) to assist them with the mouse design, which not only had to be redesigned to cost US$25 instead of US$400, but also needed to be tested with real consumers outside a laboratory setting to learn how people were willing to use it. Hundreds of prototypes later, Apple settled on a single button mouse, roughly the size of a deck of cards. With the design complete, the operating system was adopted to interface with the single button design utilizing keystrokes in combination with button clicks to recreate some of the features desired from the original Xerox 3 button design.
With the single button mouse design established for almost 25 years, the history of the Apple Mouse is basically a museum of design and ergonomics. The original mouse was essentially a rectangular block of varying beige and gray color and profile for about a decade. In 1993 Apple redesigned the package to be egg-shaped, which was widely copied throughout the industry. Nevertheless it was still a tool available only in corporate gray or (rarely) black. With the release of the iMac in 1998 the mouse became available in an array of translucent colors. Apple also completed the transition to a completely circular design.
Two years later, Apple switched back to a more elliptical shape and monochromatic black and white design. The rubber ball tracking mechanism was updated with a solid-state optical system, and its single button was moved out of sight to the bottom of the mouse. Keeping up with the technological trends Apple went wireless in 2003 and two years later, though maintaining its iconic design style, broke its most controversial implementation in the mouse concept and for the first time released a “none button” mouse with five programmable electrostatic sensors and an integrated scroll ball. Though the Macintosh aftermarket had provided these options to discerning users for decades, Apple itself only made them complementary with its offerings after the passage of much time.
All of Apple's Bluetooth mice have cross-compatibility with almost every Bluetooth capable computer, though they are not supported by Apple for use on PCs.
Apple's USB mice likewise are compatible with nearly all USB equipped machines.
Prior to USB, Apple created the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) interface. Though some other manufacturers (Sun, HP, NeXT, etc) licensed Apple's technology and ADB mice were completely interchangeable between them, the mouse interface IBM introduced on the PS/2 quickly came to dominate the market and crushed all competition. ADB-to-PS/2 adapters were always extraordinarily rare, while the early years of Apple's transition to USB brought with it a raft of popular USB-to-ADB adapters.
Apple's first mice used a DE-9 serial connection, specific to Apple systems. As the personal computer was still in its infancy with no standards, Apple's mice could be used on any system modified to implement identical protocols in its software in combination with a spliced cable as necessary.
The mouse created for the Apple Lisa was one of the very first commercial mice sold in the marketplace. Included with the Lisa system in 1983, it was based on the mouse used in the 1970s on the Alto computer at Xerox PARC. Unique to this mouse was the use of a steel ball, instead of the usual rubber found in subsequent and modern mice. It connected to the CPU by means of a standard DE-9 and unique squeeze-release connector. Though developed by Apple, it was actually designed by an outside firm, Hovey-Kelley, who built hundreds of prototypes and conducted exhaustive testing with focus groups in order to create the perfect device. Their perseverance paid off as not only did they bring the design in on time and on budget, but the resulting device remained virtually unchanged for almost 20 years. It was this mouse that established Apple's mouse as a one-button device for over 20 years. Every single aspect of the mouse was researched and developed, from how many buttons to include, to how loud the click should be. The original case design was Bill Dresselhaus's and took on an almost Art Deco flavor with its formal curving lines to coordinate with the Lisa.
The Macintosh has the distinction of launching the mouse which has become the indispensable computing device we know it as today. However, its mouse was little changed from the original Lisa version and is completely interchangeable. The case was a slightly darker brown than Lisa's beige coloring and it had less formal lines, with a thick chamfer around its edges to match the Macintosh case. Mechanically, the Lisa's steel ball was replaced by a rubber one, but otherwise connected with the same DB-9 connectors, though updated with a square-shape and standard thumb screws. When the Macintosh Plus debuted in 1986, Apple had made minor revisions to the mouse mechanism and across all product lines, unified the cable connectors and used a more rounded shape. The following year, Apple once again unified its product lines by adopting a uniform "Platinum" gray color for all products. In 1987 this mouse had its final design change, updating both its color to Platinum with contrasting dark gray "Smoke" accents and minor mechanism changes.
By mid 1984 Apple's commitment to bringing the mouse to its entire product line resulted in the release of the Apple II Mouse Interface peripheral card. Since this was a dedicated mouse port, Apple simply re-packaged the Macintosh mouse, but with the same creamy-beige cable and connector used on the IIc mouse and bundled it along with special software called MousePaint for use with the Apple II, II Plus, and IIe computers. Like the original IIc mouse, it used the same model number as the Macintosh. Unlike the Mouse IIc, however, it can be interchanged with the Macintosh version, but cannot be used on the IIc. Due to the popularity of the Macintosh and shortage of mice, Apple later repackaged the original Apple Mouse IIc in this bundle as well since it was cross-platform compatible. The AppleMouse II and its successors were never included as standard equipment on any computer.
Since the original Apple Mouse IIc was compatible across all platforms, Apple renamed the mouse in 1985 and offered it as an optional purchase for all computers and separate from the Apple II interface card. It featured an updated mechanism and the new uniform rounded cable connector. Apple would briefly reuse this name later for a re-badged Apple Pro Mouse.
By 1986 Apple had updated its product lines with new cable connectors. With the Apple IIe already 3 years old, the AppleMouse II was re-badged for the IIe alone and essentially used a repackaged Macintosh Mouse with no modifications. Later it would also use the Platinum Macintosh version. The US manufactured version of the Platinum mouse is also interchangeable with the identical looking IIc mouse. this was the first apple mouse to have a ps/2 compatible connection
In September 1986 Apple continued a year of major change by converting its mice and keyboards to the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB). Newly redesigned, this mouse retained the blocky footprint of its predecessor, but had a lower, triangular profile. The first official Snow White design language mouse (the Apple Mouse IIc was technically the first), it was a uniform Platinum gray color, including the single button, with only the cables and connectors retaining the contrasting darker gray "Smoke" color. It was introduced on the Apple IIGS computer and later became the standard included mouse with all Macintosh desktop computers for the next 6 years.
In only its third major redesign in 10 years, the Apple mouse shed its blocky exterior for rounded curves. The so called tear-drop mouse, was essentially the same as its predecessor but with a new case subsequently held as the ideal shape of mice. Indeed the basic design has persevered into current models, as well as being widely copied by other mouse manufacturers. It was included with all Macintosh desktop computers from 1993 until 1998. It was also the first mouse produced by Apple in black to match the Macintosh TV as well as the Performa 5420 sold outside the US.
Released with the iMac in 1998 and included with all successive desktop Macs for the next 2 years, the round "Hockey puck" USB mouse is widely considered one of Apple's worst mistakes. Marking the switch from ADB, the colorful translucent mouse was a radical departure from its predecessors, down to a ball whose two-tone surface fluttered past the user's eyes as it spun under the mouse's translucent housing.
However stylish, the mouse's round shape is widely considered clumsy, due to its small size and tendency to rotate in use. This was a major cause for the success of the Griffin iMate ADB to USB adapters, as they allowed for the use of the older, more comfortable ADB Mouse II to be used with those iMacs. Later revisions included a shallow indentation on the front of the button, but this was not enough to prevent a flood of third-party products like the iCatch, a shell that attached to the USB mouse to give it the ADB mouse's elliptical shape.
Another flaw introduced in the Apple USB Mouse, shared across all of Apple's USB offerings, is the atypically short cord. Though intended for use through the integrated hub in Apple's keyboards, Apple's transition to USB coincided with the relocation of ports on their laptops from the center to the left edge. As none of Apple's USB mice have cords longer than two feet, they are impractical for most right-handed users.
In a move away from the bold colors of the iMac and in a return to the styling of the traditional mouse design, in 2000 Apple discontinued the USB mouse and introduced the monochromatic Pro Mouse. A similar design to the ADB II mouse, but this time in black, was surrounded by a clear plastic shell. After taking years of criticism for their continuation of the 1-button mouse, Apple effectively flipped the design of a “normal” mouse upside-down, with the sleekly featureless appearance that resulted inspiring its jocular appellation as “the first 0-button mouse.” This was the first Apple mouse to use an LED for fully solid-state optical tracking instead of a rubber ball. It was included as the standard mouse with all shipping desktop Macs. Later, it underwent a minor redesign, switched from black to white, and dropped Pro from its name.
An optional Bluetooth-based cordless version of the Apple Mouse in white, released in 2003 alongside with a matching wireless keyboard, was Apple's first cordless mouse. Combined with internal Bluetooth interfaces in new Macs, this bypassed their wired relatives' aberrantly truncated cords to once again make Apple's mice usable for right-handed laptop owners.
Previously included with all new Macintosh desktop models, it was a major departure from Apple's one-button philosophy integrated in its design since the Lisa.
Introduced on October 20, 2009 as a replacement to the Wireless Mighty Mouse. The Magic Mouse features multi-touch gesture controls similar to those found on the iPhone and the MacBook's trackpads, wireless Bluetooth capabilities and laser-tracking. The Magic Mouse is included with the new iMac; however, the wired Mighty Mouse (now renamed "Apple Mouse") is still available as an option when buying.