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

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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.

31 Responses to “Apple Issues Magic Mouse Update, But Where Are the Mice Themselves?”

  1. Of all the mice that Apple has produced, the Magic Mouse is their best. And I didn’t have to buy a new iMac to get one either—I got one under the Christmas Tree, along with its wireless keyboard counterpart. Now I have the happiest iMac running Leopard.

    I’ve been using the Mighty Mouse for the past few years. Its best feature is the tiny scroll ball—a smooth scroll in four directions is better than that clunky up and down scroll wheel on other mice. Its worst feature, however, is also that tiny scroll ball—it gets jammed up and occasionally needs cleaning. The third and fourth buttons (scroll ball click and squeeze click) were a pain and constantly got in the way, so I just turned them off—they were a neat idea, but not really that useful I’m guessing since Apple didn’t put them on this mouse.

    Like its predecessor, the Magic Mouse’s best and worst features are its scroll. I love being able to scroll simply by dragging my finger across the surface of the mouse—were it not for this feature I probably wouldn’t want the Magic Mouse. But I find that this feature is quite sensitive, and have noticed that occasionally it appears to initiate a little scroll on its own. I use Adobe InDesign CS2 a lot and it has a touchy scroll ball interface to begin with, as does Google Maps in Safari; they’re difficult to use with a Magic Mouse so I have my old Mighty Mouse standing by.

    My other concern is power consumption. I’ve heard stories of having to constantly feed the Magic Mouse batteries. I’m down to 86% in the first week, but I’ll have to give it more time before determining if this mouse really is power hungry. I’ll get rechargeables and compare to the Energizer batteries that were included.

    The two-finger swipe is an interesting feature; I don’t use it much (eventually I probably will) but at least it doesn’t get in the way.

    To install the Magic Mouse in Leopard was not difficult. I downloaded the wireless mouse software update from Apple, installed it, then added the mouse as a BlueTooth device and it worked fine.

    Momentum scrolling is perhaps its coolest feature, but it’s not available to Leopard users. Actually it is available, it’s just not included. I searched and found a simple hack; now I can enable or disable Momentum using a command in Terminal rather than the convenient on/off switch in Snow Leopard’s System Preferences.

    Overall I’m quite impressed with the Magic Mouse. It’s not quite perfect and there is a little room for improvement, but it looks sleek and unassuming, and I don’t find it uncomfortable.

    I give Apple’s Magic Mouse 8 out of 10. If Apple were to send an update to make it less sensitive and add the Momentum on/off switch to the System Preferences under Leopard, and if I get better power consumption with rechargeable batteries, I might be persuaded to give it a 9.

  2. Just got mine last night. Took me about thirty minutes to get my iMac to recognize it (before it lost the connection again). When I finally did get it working, it was just a mouse. No multi-touch features at all. No prompt for software update. When I did realize that it probably needed a software update, I started it up and left for work. We’ll see if I love it as much as I did at Simply Mac when I get home…

  3. I just had a ‘hands-on’ on the mighty mouse. software update prompted me to update my bluetooth, which i did right away. after the update i couldn’t switch on my bluetooth for two days, this morning all of a sudden it decided to work again. strange thing.
    apart from that i am very delighted with the mouse. awesome design – thumbs up jony ive! and, it works really well (if your bluetooth is a team player too).

  4. Mine arrived this afternoon. I’m loving it so far to be honest.

    @HD – you really don’t have to hold it with two fingers to use the gestures. I sits where I leave it with no problem at all :o)

  5. I have a Bluetooth Mighty Mouse, which has a nice heft to it but my gripe with this mouse is the scroll wheel on top, it fills up with crap and is rough to use. Cleaning it is a joke, its practically inaccessible.

    Who would design a device where this kind of thing occurs?
    Don’t Apple product test these things?

    Maybe the Media Lab at MIT could come up with something better, please?

  6. joejoetheidiotpet

    Save yourself 40 dollars and change the way you interface with your computer forever, there is a much better product than the Apple Mouse. Why do people want to push a mouse around the desktop beats me? Oh wait the gestures, those are only good to scroll, again this item is much better for that too. I know this is an Apple product but not everything they make is better than some of the stuff out there. Trust me, this is the best, spend a week using it and you will never go back!,en

  7. As if by magic, mine arrived yesterday evening. I’m in Yokohama and I find my meece ( I ordered two; one for each hand) have no tail or nose. What kind of mouse is this? I’m cheesed!

  8. Design wise Apple’s mice have always been gorgeous and great to look at, but realistically they’ve always had issues when it comes to working and using them.

    I hated the Mighty Mouse with all my guts. The new mouse looks really good, but I think it has many flaws to make it practical to use. You have to hold the mouse with two fingers to use the multi-touch feature. Seems very awkward to me. Similar to trying to drag and drop using the Mighty Mouse.

    I wish they not only looked good, but worked good as well.

    I’m trying the Magic Mouse tonight with my friend’s new iMac. We’ll see if I’m wrong or not.

    Apple should have input from people that actually use mice for a living when they design these things. Looks are important, but not just looks.

    • This is an interesting point. Has anyone ever participated in, or even heard of anyone participating in, an Apple focus group that was focused on the operating features of their computers? Do they ever actually take user feedback?

  9. I view a “poorly executed product launch” one that launches a product that does not have working software and you have to sit around for days waiting for a patch to make the product work. Hey I want one too, but I’d rather get one that works instead of getting frustrated with a product that does not work.

  10. Aaron Fisher

    You guys really are a negative bunch aren’t ya.

    ‘is this the most poorly executed product launch Apple’s had since the iPhone 3G and iPhone OS 2.0 were introduced?’ Really? Really????

    They announce a mouse that ships with a new product. On the Apple website I have only ever seen ships in 5-7 days, never for immediate dispatch. How often do Apple unveil a laptop, especially 17 inch, but say ships in 4 weeks etc?