Rumor has it that Apple is developing what is probably the worst idea ever. Now, I quickly add that when Apple yanked 3.5 inch floppies1 from all of their computer designs, I thought that was the worst idea ever, and it turned out to be the best idea ever. But this one, I don’t know … a mouse with a keyboard on it is not a good thing.
Apple has shown interest in adding a display to its multi-touch Magic Mouse, adding interactivity and functionality to the wireless mouse for its Mac line of computers.
Mice have had keyboard on them before. I’ve seen various Logitech devices with zillions of buttons on them, sometimes with alphanumeric keyboards, and I’m sure these are excellent adaptive technologies, but they’ve not caught on for general use. And there is probably a reason.
The proposed apple mouse (a new version of their Magic Mouse) will have the usual two buttons (which itself makes me LOL) but as soft keys (so forget about the tactile button that you’re brain has already been wired to use). But wrist-ward and between the buttons will be a touch screen that will display virtual buttons and stuff depending on the context in which the mouse (well, the cursor) exists.
This is a bad idea for several reasons.
1) We are all adapted to not look at our mouse. We don’t look at our feet, either. Try this: Spend the whole day looking at your feet when you walk. Things will not go well. At first you will simply find yourself off balance all the time, and when you get used to that, you’ll still run into things as you walk around not looking where you are going. How is a changing, dynamic, detailed screen … which you KNOW is going to pop up things you don’t expect (see below) and you will therefore be required to actually watch, going to be useful? Can’t work. We don’t look at our mice, and should not be forced to.
2) Stuff you don’t expect is going to pop up on this mouse’s touch screen. Like it does on an iTouch. You will think there is a button there for you to press but instead there will be a message saying “Lost connection to computer, please reset” or “You must agree to the new End User license Agreement. Click here” then a copy of the EULA which will be no less than 123 pages on the tiny mouse screen will appear and you’ll have to scroll through it to press the “i agree” button. But your mouse will be occupied with this interactive operation and you will be unable to scroll through it. So you’l have to reset the system and install the ROM fix to make this not happen. Seriously. You don’t think this is going to happen? Then you haven’t used a Mac!
3) Keys belong on the keyboard and clicky buttons belong on the mouse. Anything else is an abomination. An abomination, I say! The whole point of a mouse is to be a thing instead of the keyboard, other than the keyboard, not a tiny renegade keyboard off to the side somewhere. Not kosher.
4) This is obviously a plot to make us operate our desktop computers from a single iTouch like touch screen. All functionality will migrate from the keyboard to the mouse, and eventually we won’t use the keyboard anymore. But we’ll need a larger touch screen on the mouse. The mouse will move to the center of our desk, where the now useless keyboard used to be, and it will grow in size. Then, the screen on the mouse will be big enough to not need the original screen on your computer. And, the mouse will big enough to hold your processor. Yes, folks, this is a trick to make us all use one of these:
Which would be fine, but I wish they would just tell us what to do instead of always trying to trick us like this!!!
1A “floppy,” known in South Africa as a “stiffy” is an ancient data storage device that vaguely resembles a very wide and flat and squarish USB key just large enough to fit in your breast pocket behind your pen protector.