I’m not as surprised as much as I would have been prior to the Macintel announcement, but I still didn’t expect to see this happen. Apple is making a multi-button mouse with a scroll interface, the Mighty Mouse [Amazon link]. It doesn’t look to be a wheel, but a little nub. Apple’s site mentions rolling though.
Mighty Mouse offers 360-degree scrolling capability, thanks to its Scroll Ball, perfectly positioned to roll smoothly under just one finger.
I’ll need to get one for myself to play with (because I doubt I’ll like it more than my Logitech MX1000) so I can figure it out. Is it a mini trackball? A nub? Please let it not be a nub. My finger hurts just think about them.
What’s really interesting is that it’s not a generic three-button mouse. Apple seems to have jumped headfirst by including side buttons, which act as a fourth button. At $50, it has the same suggested retail price as a Logitech MX518 but will likely stay at that price unlike the Logitech, which can be had for $40 right now.
At any rate, this is likely to satisfy many people that have been crying for years for an Apple branded multi-button mouse. The downsides are the price, no fancy optics, and lack of a bluetooth version (big boo for that one). Hopefully Apple will start offering an option to switch out the regular mouse for this on new systems (for a discounted price of $20 or so) or even be so bold as to make it the standard mouse for Powermacs, leaving the single button for the iMacs and eMacs.
Update: It even makes noises when scrolling. Cute!
Update 2: Amazon has it available for pre-order.