Apple’s Magic Mouse — First Impressions


Img001_2048x1536So I unplugged for a bit this afternoon and took the Mobile Tech Mobile out for a spin. I’m moving away from using the keyboard and trackpad on my MacBook in the home office and decided to take a closer look at the Magic Mouse.

This is all part of a little ergonomic redesign of my workspace, because I’ve been having neck, back and arm pain lately. Just today I took delivery of an ergonomic chair, which should help. And I’m looking into a new desk that’s fully adjustable as well. The problem is: I hate to give up the multitouch gestures on my MacBook, and for that reason alone, I wanted to see how much “magic” that Apple’s new mouse can give me.

In no particular order, here are my thoughts after spending an hour with the new mouse.

  • It’s far flatter than I anticipated.
  • I’m not liking the two plastic rails on the bottom of it. That could be due to my work surface, which is laminated wood — moving the mouse makes a subtle scraping sound.
  • Pairing was a non-issue. I simply turned the mouse on and it was in discovery mode. Once paired, I checked for a software update because I only had basic mouse functionality. One small update later, followed by a reboot, gave me full functionality.
  • From an ergonomic perspective, it actually feels nicer than the old Mighty Mouse, provided you have a desk with the right height. My hand simply rests on it as it would a half-bar of Dove soap. It feels very natural to me because a relaxed hand isn’t flat — it’s curved. This feels like I was using a thinner Palm Pre under my hand, if that makes any sense.
  • The multitouch scrolling and swiping works really well and gives me some of what I’m missing from my MacBook trackpad. There’s a minimal learning curve. I wish — hope, even —  that Apple can add support for three fingers, but I don’t know if that’s possible.
  • Occasionally, my palm has caused a little bit of unintended scrolling. It hasn’t happened often and it could be a training thing. A scroll motion near the bottom of the mouse — near the Apple logo — will still cause a scroll. Perhaps Apple should have made the actual touch portion limited to the upper half of the mouse.
  • It’s not too bad for me losing the side buttons of the old mouse — my Apple Bluetooth keyboard shortcuts are fine, but again, it’s a training thing. I do miss the ability to swipe four fingers up or down, but I’ll get over it.
  • The mouse is really light — almost, but not quite like a smaller travel mouse.
  • The edges are a bit sharp. It could just be my small hands, but the left and right edges aren’t as tapered as I think they can be.
  • By default, the Magic Mouse is set up for kinetic scrolling but is not set up for a secondary button. That’s easy to fix, of course.
  • I really like the kinetic scrolling.
  • From an ergo standpoint, my hand and fingers aren’t doing anything radically different from what they did with the MacBook trackpad.

I’ll be using the new Magic Mouse with my MacBook going forward, so if there’s any show-stopper kind of updates, I’ll report back in. For now, I’d recommend it but probably not sight unseen. That is: I spent a few minutes trying it in the Apple store first and I suggest the same to you. It’s not so much for the features —  after all, if you’ve used a multitouch trackpad on an Apple laptop, then you pretty much understand the features. It’s the feel of using it for swiping and scrolling is what I’d be looking for. It felt relatively comfortable to me in the Apple store, so I made the purchase. If I didn’t feel that way, I’d probably still be out shopping for a mouse.

By the way: I also resurrected the ol’ Apple Bluetooth keyboard for my set up. I’ll probably look to replace that because it’s not really that ergonomic at all. For now, it will have to do. But it was sitting around for nearly a year and didn’t turn on at first, even after changing the batteries. Later today or tomorrow, I’ll have to tell you how I fixed it. You’re not going to believe this one — trust me!


Matthew Bibby

If you are looking to extend the multitouch capabilities of the magic mouse (including show desktop and expose) then check out jitouch:

I haven’t used it with a magic mouse but have found it absolutely brilliant with my trackpad.

cheers – matt


Sharp Edges ! hahahahah !
OMG what are you talking about. I have just got my new mouse this am and it is awesome.
Ooooops I have just slipped and sliced my palm on the razor sharp edges ! This will never do !

It is a stylish and modern design.
If your mouse is sharp send it back to Apple who will have a good old laugh as I am doing now.

Trevor Smith

This mouse has amazing potential but the sharp edges are a disaster. There is just no reason for them and it’s a huge step backward from every mouse built in the past 15 years. I’m at a loss to explain why anyone would put a 90 degree edge on the top of something you hand sits on. I may buy one and take a grinder to it.


The Magic mouse (like most mice) is horribly designed from an ergonomic perspective. Logitech used to make a decent ergonomic mouse and Microsoft currently makes one. For wrist/carpal tunnel issues you want to have your hand rotated “up” on its edge (so that the edge of your palm is touching the desk, and use a mouse pad with a gel pad. Low arch mice that make you rotate your wrist “flat” and arch your fingers up are very bad. Especially if you cock your writs back to use them.

I used to do CAD work 10-12 hours a day and have carpal tunnel in both wrists. Had the right hand operated on and spend almost a year working left handed (much joy there) while I regenerated damaged nerves and regained most of the touch sensation in my right hand.

Proper chair, good ergonomic setup for your desk, a monitor at the right height, and plenty of short rest breaks do wonders. Avoiding long hours of mousing is also key. Some folks have found trackballs helpful as well.


>multitouch trackpad on an Apple laptop, then you pretty much understand the features.

Except there is no pinch to zoom which is the only feature I feel like a high end mouse does not do better than a trackpad.


I use a Logitech TrackMan Wheel as well. Three of them, in fact. I love them. Would rather have a real scroll wheel and some heft to my mouse than a small, flat, bar of soap with gimmicky scrolling that I have to move all over my desk.


I almost bought one of these at Best Buy this past weekend, but when I played with the display model on a new iMac I REALLY didn’t like the sharp edges. I’ll be interested to know if you get used to them or not.


I used to have neck and arm pains too.. I bought Logitech TrackMan Wheel and it’s all gone..

.. first days were hard but then super… Arms are relaxed as i only need to move my thumb to do stuff.


watch out for the extensor pollicis longus tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.


Using a laptop keyboard and screen for your daily work is a supremely bad idea for just about everybody, so good to hear you’re rectifying that. On the road there is no choice, obviously, but it is absolutely guaranteed to cause repetitive strain injury sooner or later to keep hunching over a cramped laptop keyboard every single day.

We’re all way too design and appearance focused when we are, after all, talking about tools. Nice looks is great but it’s definitely a secondary characteristic of a good workstation.

Comments are closed.