Apple Pro Mouse

SAN FRANCISCO (08/29/2000) - Rating:

PROS:Attractive design; clickable surface; optical sensor.

CONS:Cable is too short; no second button; more expensive than MicrosoftÕs optical mouse.

List Price:$59

COMPANY:800/538-9696, Apple Computer Inc.

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Advice:A major improvement over Apple's much-maligned hockey puck, the new Apple Pro Mouse is an optical input device that is as precise as it is beautiful.

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Long-suffering mouse users, rejoice. Apple's round mouse has breathed its last. Born as part of the original iMac's revolutionary design, the round and colorful input device would ultimately become Apple's most maligned product since the Newton with good reason. Its round shape was difficult to position and too small for adult-size hands, and the device itself was so light that it could easily lose contact with the mouse pad.

Apple's second attempt at a designer mouse is a much worthier rodent. While it won't make all Mac users deliriously happy (especially those waiting for an Apple-branded two-button input device), it's a vast improvement over the so-called hockey puck.

A Shiny New Mouse

The new mouse's design is a far cry from that of the round mouse, with its color-coded side panels that appeared to be attached with Elmer's Glue. Seemingly formed from a block of Lucite, the new mouse looks more like a drop of mercury than an input device.

The mouse is also a breakthrough in technological design. Apple will be the first computer vendor to bundle an optical mouse with all desktop systems. An optical mouse uses a beam of light and an optical sensor to detect movement over a surface - there are no moving parts. This makes the mouse more reliable and much more precise. The new mouse can also operate on almost any solid or opaque surface, including the palm of your hand (but not glass tabletops or mirrors).

From a usability standpoint, the new mouse is nearly flawless. Gliding over most surfaces with the ease of an Olympic skater, it's a vast improvement over any mechanical mouse. The entire top of the mouse is a button, allowing you to click simply by applying pressure with your palm. My only major complaint is that the cable is too short.

Priced to Go

At $59 (or free with the purchase of a new desktop Mac), the Apple Pro Mouse is decently priced, although it's a bit more expensive than Microsoft Corp.'s Intellimouse, an optical device with two buttons and a scrolling wheel. In any event, this new mouse is a solid option for Mac users who are tired of mousing in the round.

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