Apple Issues Magic Mouse Update, But Where Are the Mice Themselves?

magicmouseLast week, Apple (s aapl) announced the Magic Mouse, which is its new standard pointing device, complete with Bluetooth connectivity and multitouch gesture support. I promptly called my local Apple store, and a staff member told me they weren’t in stock and to try back again later in the week. I did, and again, no luck. It’s now been over a week, and no stores seem to have stocked them yet.

One staff member at the flagship Toronto store said that the delay was due to software incompatibility, and that the mice would be available following an update release from Apple. Late yesterday, we received said update, which makes the Magic Mouse compatible with Mac OS X Leopard, includes a driver for 10.6.1. OS X 10.6.2, which is coming soon, and is said to support it out of the box.

Both the 10.5.8 and 10.6.1 update descriptions say nothing beyond that they allow you to “take advantage of your Magic Mouse special features.” They don’t even explicitly say anything about multitouch, but what other special features could they be talking about? The Snow Leopard driver is nearly double the size of the Leopard one, at 64MB vs. 36MB. Both have to be downloaded from Apple’s support site, and won’t show up in your update menu unless you actually have the Magic Mouse already.

Which brings me to my second point: Does anyone actually have the Magic Mouse already? I mean, besides those early adopters of the new iMac model, with which it ships. I know for a fact us TAB staffers are finding it hard to get our hands on one (short of trying out the store display models), both through Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail stores and its online counterpart.

All Apple stores seem to have them on display, but I’ve yet to run across one that actually has them for sale when you ask. As I mentioned above, the Toronto Eaton Centre Apple store employee seemed to think it had to do with Apple getting the necessary software out so that it wasn’t selling unsupported hardware, but they hadn’t even received a shipment yet — they weren’t just holding off on actual sales.

Is it just me, or is this the most poorly executed product launch Apple’s had since the iPhone 3G and iPhone OS 2.0 were introduced? It seems like the Magic Mouse was rushed out to meet a deadline that centered around the iMac and new unibody plastic MacBook, despite the fact that the software backend wasn’t actually ready for release.

The resulting delay could affect sales. I know my initial fervor about the Magic Mouse has been tempered now that I’ve been able to think about it. My current pointing device needs are more than met, and unlike with the iPhone, delayed availability is weakening my desire to own a Magic Mouse, rather than strengthening it.