Inspecting gadgets

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from the latest Apple mouse to the newest in business netbooks.

Tags: Apple IncorporatedMouseSamsung Electronics CompanySony CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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Inspecting gadgets Apple’s Magic Mouse.
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By  Imthishan Giado Published  November 8, 2009 Arabian Computer News Logo

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from the latest Apple mouse to the newest in business netbooks.

Not so magic

Has there ever been a more successful company that’s consistently proved itself unable to design a decent pointing instrument? Apple did after all, kick off the whole mass-produced graphic user interface (although Xerox might very well beg to differ) which everyone has since pilfered. Unfortunately, its mice have generally ranged from blatantly unusable to out-and-out injury-inducing.

Who can forget the ergonomic sacrilege that was the iMac mouse, a hockey-puck shaped abomination that was about easy to grip as a bar of wet soap? Users were regularly used to mice squirting out of their fingers like a piece of soap-on-a-rope.

Things didn’t get much better with the fruit company’s next endeavour, the Mighty Mouse. They got the shape right this time, but purely in the interests of not conforming to any sensible norms, decided to drop the widely-used scroll wheel in favour of a fiddly little nub. Ostensibly, this accomplished the same purpose, but in practice, was about as useful for scrolling a page as an ice scraper.

Roll on attempt number three then, the brand-spanking new Magic Mouse, which finally brings laser tracking and Bluetooth to the Mac world (or in other words, something that’s been available to Windows users for ages). It also premieres a new low-profile shape that’s not quite as bulbous as the previous mouse but still suits people of both hand orientations.

The big news however, is that this is the first mouse to support multitouch gestures such as the ones used on the iPhone. To whit, users can ‘brush’ their fingers lightly along the mouse surface to scroll, instead doing anything so plebeian as moving a physical wheel. They can also swipe virtual pages or photos to move on to the next item.

It’s all a good idea in theory, but we’re waiting to see if it catches on. Mice are far from the biggest devices already, so it remains to be seen whether people can get used to stroking their mice instead of yanking them. Let us not forget that that touch products work gangbusters in the consumer space, but in the enterprise, execs have repeatedly confirmed their preference for tactile feedback.

The Magic Mouse is probably Apple’s best mouse yet, but unless Macs stage an enterprise takeover, we can’t see many regional CIOs throwing out their mice en masse.

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