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Maxvoltar - 1 day with the Magic Mouse

Maxvoltar is the personal weblog of Tim Van Damme, a freelance interface designer at Made by Elephant.

50° 54' 47" N, 4° 25' 50" E


1 day with the Magic Mouse

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with Apple hardware, especially their mice. So you can imagine me going crazy like a 16 year old schoolgirl when they released the latest new member to their family of rodents: The Magic Mouse.

Magic Mouse

My scientific objective review

Unboxing

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! The first thing every self-respecting Apple fan does is grabbing his DSLR and snapping a couple of unboxing pictures:

Unboxing the Magic Mouse Unboxing the Magic Mouse (Flickr set)

The packaging is comparable with that of an iPod Nano. A clear plastic shell with some instructions tucked away underneath the mouse. Why did they need so much sticky tape?

First impressions

Unboxed, it feels a bit heavy. I like my mice that way, so this doesn’t bother me, but I can imagine a lot of people complaining about the weight. The design is stunning, and I especially love the use of aluminum for the sides and bottom part. It’s also really, really flat. It’s about a third in height compared to a Logitech MX. Getting used to it, I will.

Software

When you activate the mouse and connect it to your Mac, you can only move the cursor and click. To get access to all features, you’ll need to do an update (Apple logo top left of your screen > Software Update…). Yes, you’ll need to reboot your system. I’ve heard some people complaining about this, but it isn’t just a driver you’re installing. More on that later.

Stop drooling, start using

Just realized I hadn’t rebooted my Mac in 3 weeks… All set? Let’s find ourself a nice long webpage to test the scrolling. Or should I call it stroking? Surprise, it doesn’t scroll like a regular mouse, it scrolls like an iPhone! (sans the rubbery band effect when reaching the end of the canvas) My God this is epic! Let me tell you that once you’ve scrolled like this, you don’t ever want to scroll “the olde way” again. It’s really handy when you write code. Just give it a whirl, and place a finger on the top when you reach where you needed to be. Another advantage is that you can scroll where you want on the mouse. I tested, and it seems that the tactile receptors go from the front all the way up to the Apple logo.

This new way of scrolling is probable the reason you needed to reboot your Mac. It works in all applications, so I guess they needed to do more than just “install a driver”.

Back/forth

The 2 finger swipe is… odd. I don’t think of it every time I navigate back to a previous web page, and still catch myself using the backspace key or Safari buttons for it. Gonna give this some more time.

What’s that feeling?

After a day of using this magical mouse, my hand feels strange, and I realize I’m not using the muscles I used before to operate this mouse. Might sound strange, but that’s the only way I can explain it. Two options:

  1. This mouse sucks and it’s giving me instant RSI.
  2. All my other mice sucked, and I’ve been handling them all wrong for years.

The Apple fanboy in me says it’s option 2…

Conclusion

Was this mouse worth all the hype? Totally! Yes, the design is smoother that the bottom of a newborn, and, yes, Apple did a great job orchestrating the world wide let’s-deliver-it-all-on-the-same-day action. But honestly, the multi-touch top shell is pure genius. I expect a lot of other mouse-making companies to jump on this ship as fast as possible.

I do miss not being able to open Exposé or go to desktop view with it. Compared to the Mighty Mouse, this mouse doesn’t has squeeze buttons on the site, and you can’t click in the middle. Quick fix: Go to System Preferences > Exposé & Spaces > Exposé. There you can configure Active Screen Corners which let you trigger Exposé and desktop view.

Did I mention it doesn’t has a nipple that can get stuck?

What are you waiting for? Go, go to your nearest Apple store and buy it!

47Comments

  • James Whelton

    2969 days ago

    I WANT IT

  • Sebastiaan de With

    2969 days ago

    Nice writeup of your impressions. Question regarding the ergonomically different feeling: did you use a ‘claw hand’ when mousing first, or did you ‘grab’ the mouse, with the entirety of your hand resting on the top of the mouse?

  • Josh

    2969 days ago

    Man, that mouse looks hawt. The packaging is nice too
    And yes, it’s definitely option 2.

  • Dylan Pine

    2969 days ago

    OK – you got me sold. Now it’s just a question of how soon I can get up to the Apple Store! I’ll be interested to see the 1 week review too.

  • Condawg

    2969 days ago

    The Magic Mouse… Ahh, what a beautiful specimen.
    Low-down, curved, and sexy as all hell.
    But, there are a few things keeping me from buying it…

    Now, at the end of your review, you mentioned Exposé.
    Is there any way you can make it so that a gesture on the mouse activates Exposé, or are you just left with hot corners for that?

    Also, middle-clicking… Any way to activate/use that? I don’t think I could bring myself to get a mouse missing that functionality, even if it shines amazingly everywhere else.

  • Paul Davis

    2969 days ago

    I’m really tossing between this and the new MX Revolution. I guess I’m like you, bug heavy mice and nice to use, but the Apple fanboy in me says Magic Mouse.

    Fuck it. Magic Mouse. I’ll go order one now.

  • Marcus

    2969 days ago

    It would be awesome if you could define a “spot” that you could i.e. use as a Push-to-Talk button in a VoIP-software. From the screenshots I’ve seen, it seems like this isn’t possible. But since it’s multi-touch and all, maybe the hackers around the world can come up with something?

  • Goobi

    2969 days ago

    This is the review I was looking for! Fuck CNet and all that objective crap. Thank you, I’m getting one no question.

  • Christoph Zillgens

    2969 days ago

    This sounds really great!
    I wonder about the scroll wheel. I use it not only to scroll (haha) but also very often to click on it to open a link in a new tab or to close a tab in Safari (or Firefox).
    How can you do this now?

  • Mark Malek

    2969 days ago

    I just picked my magic mouse up from the apple store and so far I’m loving it too!

    The two finger swipe is a bit odd at first and I didn’t like it very much trying it at the store. I think thats due to the fact that you are standing and Apple has a security device fixed to the lower portion of the mouse. I agree that it will take some getting used to.

  • Dean Janssen

    2969 days ago

    I haven’t used the Magic Mouse yet, but I’m actually a bit worried about the extra set of muscles you use when performing the scrolling gesture. I tend to let my hand rest on the surface of a mouse and only use the top of my index finger to scroll. I’ve never encountered any problems with this

    I can imagine some extra strain on the muscles towards your wrist as a direct result of the longer finger movement to perform the vertical swipe. You’re no longer just moving the top of your finger. In stead of rubbing, you’re actually making more of a “come over here” gesture. If you’re used to keeping your hand rested on a mouse — like most of us are — this combination sounds worryingly fatiguing to me.

    Here’s to hoping my fear is unfounded. That mouse is gorgeous.

  • Gradman

    2969 days ago

    I am a die hard mac fan and yes the Mighty Mouse did get me Mighty excited….but I am disappointed. I am glad you like it and believe its awesome. The part where the had feels weird is my biggest problem. Its is not ergonomically designed. It does the job of a mouse blissfully and in style. But feels like I will develop carpal tunnel in a day. Its is a rather uncomfortable mouse to hold. Its needs a physical redesign before someone sues them.

  • Josh Netherton

    2969 days ago

    Great timing. I was about to walk into an Apple Store to make a decison on buying one. Decision made. Thanks.

  • Steven Millward

    2969 days ago

    I’m ordinarily a huge fans of nipples, but not the one on my (now defective) old Mighty Mouse. Nice review of the new Magic one…

  • Felix

    2969 days ago

    As long as it doesn’t have nipple, I’m going to buy this.
    Great write-up Tim!

  • Michael Rockwell

    2969 days ago

    My Magic Mouse is set to arrive tomorrow and I can’t wait to try it out. I wasn’t aware of the new scrolling behavior but am very excited about it. If it is like the iPhone’s (like you say it is), it’ll be much easier to quickly scroll to the bottom of a page, while still maintaining the same level of control I had with my Mighty Mouse’s scroll ball (that is, when it decides to work at all).

  • Luke Dorny

    2969 days ago

    Awesome opossum.
    It really does look stunning in your photos.
    Nice review, Max voltage.
    Game changing innovation again. Perhaps this one will create another wave in mouse competition. …not that the hockey puck did, just sayin’.
    ;)

  • Dan

    2969 days ago

    Interesting you say that your hand feels weird after just a day. When I first saw your photos I tweeted that I could almost feel the carpel tunnel just looking at it. I need a good pronounced arch to a mouse or else my wrist and the muscles between my thumb and index finger begin to hurt after just a couple of hours. Granted, this is just me. Others will get on with it just fine. Either that or Apple will face a crippling number of lawsuits in 5 years from several million claw-handed plaintifs.

  • LeBen

    2969 days ago

    You convinced me, I want it!

  • kieran

    2969 days ago

    thanks for sharing, i WANT! i think ill get one tomarrow.

    I’m using a pen tablet as a mouse, wacom inspiron, but i’ll give the mouse another go.

    Thanks

  • Stefan

    2969 days ago

    Enough is enough! Going to buy one this afternoon, tired of using the old mouse(my 3rd in 3 years). No more bad nipples for me!

  • James

    2969 days ago

    It looks gorgeous but just not practical. I just did a little test on my regular (Dell!) mouse and using the scroll wheel with the tip of my finger is much less fatiguing than the swipe motion.

    In fact I can see the tendons moving when I ‘swipe’! The idea of using this all day fills me with horror…

    But then I am an anomaly in the design world and use PCs. I am shamed daily.

  • Dan

    2969 days ago

    Oh yeah. that’s right. I forgot to ask, is the multi-touch (ability to sense how many fingers are touching the surface as infuriating as it is with the MBP trackpad?

    Sometimes when I use a trackpad a second finger brushes the surface when I shift the position of my hand or just by accident. Normal trackpad… no problem, multi-touch trackpad… the cursor stops moving because it thinks I’m gesturing something. Does the Magic Mouse get confused like this when you’re using the one-finger scroll and a second finger brushes the surface?

  • Elliot Jay Stocks

    2969 days ago

    When we were in Bristol, on the day after Apple announced them, Sarah and I went into the Apple Store and drooled all over them. They are indeed rather lovely.

    What I thought was interesting was how the aesthetics have moved to a more ‘pro’ look; that is: more inline with the MacBook Pros, Mac Pros, and iMacs. Compare that to the Mighty Mouse, which looks much more consumer level: think regular MacBooks or the Mac Mini.

    Sadly I invested in a Logitech MX Revolution just a few weeks ago so I won’t be getting a Magic Mouse just yet, but hey, it gives me a reason to frequently visit the Apple Store and partake in a little strokage…

  • Simon Willans

    2969 days ago

    For your two possible options, I’m going to go with number 2. Most people use computer mouses wrong, myself included. I had a discussion about this at work, when complaining about the mighty mouse yet again. Weirdly, I actually hold my own mouse at home in a more correct manner.

    I’d love to have a go of one – I might tell my boss he NEEDS to get me a new mouse for the Mac at work. Or, a trip to a PC World or Mac Store is in order.

  • Nick

    2969 days ago

    Marvellous review. The lack of middle-button click action put me off at first, but when I realised you can command+click a link in Safari to open the URL in a new tab, my concerns slipped away like butter on a bald baboon.

  • Sebastian Dadał

    2969 days ago

    I’ve thought I might want to buy it since I first saw it on Apple’s website, but now all doubt has been removed.

    FINALLY no nipple rubbing!

  • Mladen

    2969 days ago

    This Mouse looks so sweet.
    I have to buy it!

  • JasonWD

    2969 days ago

    MIDDLE CLICK!

    That is mainly what I have to say.

    How can Apple produce something that doesn’t do the job of a product that was made a decade ago? I’m not even going to start on mouse chording.

    This is consumer level simply because it can’t replicate the functionality of a $5 Microsoft mouse.

  • Jan

    2969 days ago

    Want want want!

    (but what about that middle click?)

  • Greg McAusland

    2969 days ago

    Honestly, I wasn’t sure. After having read some scathing reviews I had closed down the apple store and held of on spending £55 on a mouse.

    Then I got to weighing up what people were actually whining about.

    No expose buttons: Never used them. Frankly found them awful on the mighty mouse, always have. I have keyboard shortcuts and even know i can click hold with snow leopard. Fine by me.

    Middle Click? I’m trying to remember when the last time I used middle click was , I think it was about 6 years ago while playing a game in windows. Suffice to say, its a redundant functionality as far as me and working on my mac are concerned. Do you honestly think they are incapable of replicating this function or do apple also consider it a redundant functionality that would compromise the elegance of their device. I know what I think.

    So with those things checked off the list, and having been looking for a reason to get rid of my 15 bucks microsoft piece of crap I just ordered one. Can’t wait.

    Thanks for reminding me why i love apple products Tim. It’s a real service

  • Jason Eyermann

    2968 days ago

    Thanks for the review as I’ve been searching for an independent review like this one. I just wonder whether I would use this as I have a wacom intuos and hardly ever use my mighty mouse.

  • Will Kessel

    2968 days ago

    I bought mine yesterday. I found that the most comfortable way to handle this mouse is to rest your fingers on the desk/table/mousepad and let your fingertips do the work; don’t rest your palm on the mouse itself. Do everything nice and easy, and there’s no strain at all.

    After one day of use, I’m hopelessly addicted.

    No middle click? I don’t miss it, save for Expose, which I had queued to the nipple on my Mighty Mouse (I never use the right Command key, so I re-programmed it for Expose); the side buttons on the Might Mouse I had shut off anyway. I now have right-click without using the Ctrl or Command key. And I think the weight is perfect.

  • Brett Nyquist

    2968 days ago

    ONE HUGE PROBLEM:

    Whenever my Time Machine is in the process of backing up, the Magic Mouse basically becomes useless for that entire time. It severely lags and randomly scrolls through web pages. Not sure if anyone else is experiencing this issue. I have also had to make sure I have a dark enough pad for it to even register.

    This mouse was suppose to replace my MX Revolution but when I can’t use it for the 5-10 minutes Time Machine runs it’s backups, I’m going to have to switch back.

    So long Magic Mouse.

  • Tim Van Damme

    2968 days ago

    • @Sebastiaan de With: That depended on what mouse I was using. But mostly “claw” (as in: only finger tips touch the mouse).
    • @Condawg (and all the others asking about Exposé/middle click): The hot corners in combination with shortcuts on your keyboard work great. Don’t miss the extra buttons… The Magic Mouse can’t do any fancy multi-touch tricks like the MacBook Pro trackpad, but it doesn’t need to either. It doesn’t do a lot, but what it does, it does great :)
    • @Marcus: I also think some hackers are gonna have a blast with this mouse!
    • @Christoph Zillgens: Hold CMD while clicking, same effect as the middle click you’re describing!
    • @Dean Janssen: Well, I’ve discovered something strange: I keep switching my “swipe finger”. Sometimes I do it with my index finger, sometimes I use mu middle finger. Just what feels more relaxed.
    • @Michael Rockwell: The scrolling is very controllable!
    • @James: A PC user on my site?! SECURITY!! ;)
    • @Dan: Apple did a wonderful job with that, I’ve tried making it “fail”, but no success so far (which is a good thing!)
    • @Elliot Jay Stocks: The design is stunning. I still get all warm inside when I look at it. I’ve seen the new Logitech MX Revolution when I was in NYC, and it looked very good as well. Different than the MM, but good :)
    • @Simon Willans: I’m a bit ashamed to admit I have no idea how to decently hold a mouse…
    • @JasonWD: I can imagine this mouse isn’t for everyone.
    • @Jason Eyermann: If you love using the Wacom, stick with it!
    • @Brett Nyquist: Looks like the problem is too many wireless traffic. Try moving your Airport device further away from where you use the mouse, or change the wireless settings to 5Ghz/N (is also a lot faster).
  • Jason Stringer

    2966 days ago

    I want one… well maybe tomorrow.

  • Milos Dakic

    2966 days ago

    I love the new mouse! I got mine upgraded for free by Apple since the last one was so damn annoying with the scroll ball/thing.

    What I noticed is that when you start using the mouse for a bit longer, you will try and perform all the little tricks that can be done on a track pad. Like touch-click and pinch zoom etc. This is where hopes and dreams kick in that Apple will add these gestures to the mouse.

    Another thing I noticed which might be me, but with the Mighty Mouse the bottom plate was surrounded by rubber, which means that when you moved the mouse across a hard surface you didn’t get the nails on a blackboard effect. With the Magic Mouse, if you run it across a hard surface (table without mouse pad), you will sometimes get that effect.

  • Oliver Edwards

    2956 days ago

    Thanks for your words. Apple Hardware is so EXTREMELY addicting!

  • Discount Mole

    2954 days ago

    Such a decent mouse, way better than the previous apple mouses, which are slow!

  • Darrin

    2954 days ago

    The first day for me with this mouse I wasn’t really sure what to think. Design wise as always Apple made a beautifulI product. I had to retrain so to speak my hand to hold a mouse slightly different than I was used to. Once I got that part down I was sold. I am in sheer love of this mouse. As you said the the multi touch surface is pure genius.

    If other companies pick up on this I can only imagine the possibilities that will come out of it.

  • Bram

    2953 days ago

    I am curious on how this will evolve. A flat mouse that gives you instant RSI, does not sound very compelling … Scrolling iPhone seems like fun, though, but if constant pain is the price you pay … Then I will let this magic pass.

  • Squidge Man

    2951 days ago

    First to buy, last to buy! A week of using this mouse gives you RSI, I’m now in anti-inflamatory’s for the pain. DO NOT GET ONE!

  • Tim Van Damme

    2951 days ago

    • @Milos Dakic: No nail effect here…
    • @Squidge Man: Sorry to hear that! I can’t say it’s causing me any pain, still enjoying it quite a lot!
  • Martin Jagusch

    2948 days ago

    I got the Magic Mouse a week ago and I’m impressed as well. The only downside I found, is that the mouse is very slim. So it might be uncomfortable to use for some people.

  • Trent Walton

    2943 days ago

    If you’re missing side buttons for Exposé and Spaces try Better Touch Tool: http://blog.boastr.net/?page_id=255

    An amazing glimpse at what is to come for gestures & the magic mouse.

  • Bram

    2942 days ago

    I don’t like this mouse either. I got used to using my wacom like a year ago. And that still is the best interface for your arm in my opinion.

    This mouse is responsible for a a sore arm and neck so i advice you not to buy one.
    It really sucks!

  • Paul

    2931 days ago

    Ive had my magic mouse for a few weeks now, and it is, as you say, quite amasing. i have one complaint, however. it seems that when playing games or doing other things when your useing a keyboard with one hand, and ‘mousing’ with the other, it registers just about any movement as a scroll. that means that if its in a browser, you can be spontaniously spit back a page because you made a funny motion with your hand. it gets kinda annoying. but besides that, its a perfect mouse, imo.

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