Apple's Worst Idea Ever

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.



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Dear Shermer... I spoke with God yesterday.... Do you want to know what he told me?


dawkins - got you...

who's the WINGNUT?



an example and warning of the fate of those who try to divide people....

Well, it's really just a marketing consideration.

Apple's marketing departments has noted that they are losing turnover to a growing public perception that their products are getting worse and worse with time. But now they've found a way to counter that: by developing and marketing the worst possible product right now, they would establish a baseline they could then always stay above for the rest of the companies existence*.

*NB: Clever plan requires that company survives marketing the worst product in history. If any company can do it, it's Apple.

By Phillip IV (not verified) on 23 Jan 2011 #permalink

Apple's marketing departments has noted that they are losing turnover to a growing public perception that their products are getting worse and worse with time. But now they've found a way to counter that: by developing and marketing the worst possible product right now, they would establish a baseline they could then always stay above for the rest of the companies existence*.

No guns for you, Loughner.

By Bill James (not verified) on 23 Jan 2011 #permalink

Magic fricken mice. You know what would be magic, Steve? An official Apple mouse with 3 buttons and scroll wheel.

Just try using any 3d graphics program without those. Fortunately, there are third-party solutions allowing you to work around the lack of OS support for full-functioned mice.

i used to wonder why those bolas they made in the late 90's were only half there.
and not heavy enough to catch even a newborn wallaby.

@Nomuse: The OS supports âfull-functioned miceâ. Also the Mighty mouse had four buttons and a scroll wheel.

Apple did great with Steve Jobs at the helm from 1984 until he left. Then it went into the doldrums until he came back and put out the iMac, OS X, etc. Now he's leaving again....

I have always wished that I could do anything with my computer with either the mouse alone, or the keyboard alone. It's irritating to have to shift back and forth from one to the other. And it's infuriating when one of them breaks and you have to rely entirely on the other. OTOH I don't like the idea of multiple buttons on the mouse; when I was reading up on computers while shopping for my first one, the one-button mouse was one of the things that decided me to buy a Mac.

If you must have a multi-function mouse, shouldn't it be designed so that you can use it with one hand without having to look at it?

Instead of a flat-topped mouse that you lay the palm of the hand on, what about a vertical post that you can wrap the fingers around, with four buttons that you can work with the fingers and a fifth button on top for the thumb? 5 keys would allow 31 combinations, enough for the full alphabet plus a couple of modifier keys. You'd click by pressing down on the base with the edge of the hand, and there'd be a lip at the top of the post that would let you lift the mouse up.

Any displays ought to be shown on the monitor screen, like everything else.

By Riman Butterbur (not verified) on 23 Jan 2011 #permalink

Shorter Greg Laden: "You kids get off my user interface paradigms!"

There is nothing bad about this at all. I am ordering a similar control when we get our new tee vee, because the tee vee will be entirely run out of our desktop. I would love to have a touch screen that can change from a qwerty to a standard media remote - I will just have to settle for a small real button qwerty/mouse (which is just as well really, as I am rather annoyed with XBMC (can't figure out how to change certain settings) and ultimately continue to run media off my desktop file navigator).

While I will mostly just control the media for the boys directly from my desktop, on the odd occasions when I actually have time to watch something I will be rather pleased with the setup. But even when the boys are watching stuff while I work I will probably use the remote as I will basically be running the tee vee with a virtual desktop keyed to the remote.

I definitely think you're being more than a little silly with your concerns. Considering the amount of shit you can do with a smart phone or wireless internet tablet, interfaced with your smarthouse your concerns have mostly come to fruition already (sans the elimination of keyboards). When I am able to afford my own home I will probably use LinuxMCE interacting with my phone to control all sorts of shit - whether I am home or several hundreds of miles away. It is even likely that I will regularly connect to my home server for basic interweb surfing and the like.

And when I do, I will visualize you shaking your cane at me and muttering curses under your breath. AHAAHAHAHAHAAHAH!1!!!!!

Dean: Exactly!

DuWayne: It might be a good idea, but again, note how it will be implemented. Probably. Apple has an idea, and it's a good ideal, and they and most of their users all believe the ideal is met.

But I promise you that there will be messages to re-agree to the EULA every week or less on your mouse, you won't notice the message popping up, you'll click on some button that you never thought woudl be there, and some mission-critical task will be interfered with or ruined because of apple's denialism that the ideal is not met until its met.

I am able to afford my own home I will probably use LinuxMCE interacting with my phone to control all sorts of shit

Good choice, and again, my point. Use Windows, your house will crash. Use Apple, there will be annoying limitations that you'll be told are good for you.

Now get off my lawn!!!

"Considering the amount of shit you can do with a smart phone or wireless internet tablet,"

But you have to do it yourself, unless you get it past the Apple Approvals Board (and have paid $99 a year along with having an Apple Desktop too...).

If you're *happy* with the control you cede to Apple, then fine, no worries. Just don't call it freedom, m'kay?

"If you're *happy* with the control you cede to Apple, then fine, no worries. Just don't call it freedom, m'kay?"

QFT, 'cause he speaks it.

Wow -

Just to be crystal clear, I would rather beat my head against a brick wall than use anything apple. I have one windows machine because Jet audio sucks sweaty, disease infested donkey balls in wine and produces the best sound of any media player I have ever used - but that dual boots ubuntu and will likely become a dedicated HTPC. If I could figure out how to run windows virtually I would, but I don't have the time right now.

Point being, you can shove your self-righteous bullshit up your ass. While I absolutely loathe apple and everything they make - every application they will sell you for a small fortune, I loathe self-righteous asshats who want to condescend people they don't even know, because they happen to use something you don't like or approve of.

You should also - you know, learn how to fucking read.

Fucking prat.

Greg -

There is no way in hell I would trust my house to Winapple. At the point I can actually get - or hopefully build a house, I am going to be all about as much smart everything as possible. I want to walk up to my front door and have it recognize me and let me in (though also have a manual key for just in case). I want my music to follow me through the house. I want to turn on my oven from wherever I happen to be, so dinner will be ready when I get home.

I am not going to trust all that and much more to proprietary bullshit.

I think it will work, because it also has some hamster DNA, and because you can install Linux on it. Or maybe I mean Haiku.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 #permalink

Duuude. You're going to explode.

Read up on Poe's Law and stop drinking so much damn coke

Wow -

I have less tolerance for bullshit (with very few, very talented exceptions), than I do for condescending prattle from self-righteous asshats. As for my impending explosion, get over yourself. While I tend towards being rather passionate, you didn't have all that much of an affect on me. I use strong language as a matter of course and don't generally hesitate to berate fucking assholes.

That said, your brand of bullshit is one that I particularly despise - whether you actually meant what you said then or really are just an incompetent ass who was pretending to be a fucking prick.