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Why Apple Makes a One-Button Mouse

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the behind-the-times dept.

Technology (Apple) 1271

IdiotOnMyLeft writes "There is a short article at Gear Live that tries to explain why Apple still sticks with a one-button mouse. It points out the fact that although it is perfectly possible to use a two-button mouse on a Mac for 7 years now, developers are forced to rethink their design approach and can't flood the right-click menu. No article of this kind would be complete without mentioning that users get confused with two buttons. There's a rumor that John Carmack once asked Steve Jobs what would happen if they'd put one more key on the keyboard."

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Definition (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521452)

This post is hereinafter referred to as the "First Post".

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521454)

Amazingly after refreshing 3 times, I managed to attain the first post!

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521467)

that's what you think

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521468)

You did not.

You fail it.

You fail it long, you fail it hard, you fail it like a little Japanese schoolgirl.

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521598)

<like a little Japanese schoolgirl.
You mean, sounding as if the speaker is on helium?

Because... (5, Funny)

InsideTheAsylum (836659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521455)

... they can't afford to pay for the second button.

Re:Because... (5, Funny)

Sebadude (680162) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521579)

Well, perhaps it should be one of the upgrades on the apple store.

Customize your Apple Pro Mouse! Add a second button for just $399 US.

It would be right on par with their memory upgrades...

FP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521456)


Mice (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521457)

No article of this kind would be complete without mentioning that users get confused with two buttons

I know (from experience) that it takes no more than five minutes to explain left- and right-clicking to a three-year-old child.

Apple must consider their customers to be mental defects. (Not that that's necessarily wrong, but it's just... wrong.)

Re:Mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521471)

Well, Apple users are certainly gullible...

Re:Mice (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521503)

Three year old children aren't the problem. I know from experience that it takes no more than ten minutes to teach a three year old child perl.

The problem is 48 year olds, who it can take many years to force into their heads no, you just press the left mouse button, the button on the right does something different, don't do it, and to whom the idea of "copy and paste" will never be explained.

Re:Mice (2, Interesting)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521507)

I've never understood the point of limiting a mouse to one button. I mean, I have a three-button mouse with a scroll wheel, and I've got it set up so I can use all four buttons in conjunction with World of Warcraft.

And yet, every time I use the Mac at work, it's an exercise in frustration. Part of it is the unfamiliarity with the way to do things on a Mac (bass-ackwards, it seems, is the rule of the day), but part of it is sheer torture (font handling, for instance). And every time I use it, I find myself trying to use the one-button mouse as though it were a two-button mouse.

Ah well. Luckily, I don't have to use it that often... save for those projects that unfortunately require the Mac version of Quark Express.


Re:Mice (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521571)

Given that you can plug in a cheap two button mouse and be running in 10 seconds, what conclusions should we draw about you? Your expertise in Worl of Warcraft aside, I mean.

Is sure is a good thing, then... (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521625)

...that you can use any USB or Bluetooth (if your computer is equipped) mouse or input device on earth, for as little as $5, and they will instantly work for left/right/center/scroll without any additional drivers or configuration of any kind, or even any requirement that you have any kind of administrative privileges. Sounds like your employer sucks if they won't get you a mouse...(not to mention you could use that same three-button mouse with scroll wheel with WoW on a Mac, too, or any other application).

The rest of your message is a nice anti-Mac troll, though. D- for effort, F for creativity.

Re:Mice (2, Insightful)

stew77 (412272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521594)

Confusing the left and the right mouse button is as hard as confusing your index and your middle finger. If you then call one "action" button and the other "menu" button, label them appropriately - how is dealing with two mouse buttons any harder than dealing with 12 buttons on a touch-tone phone?

Look (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521666)

Because certain people are purposefully ignorant about computers. It doesn't matter how simple it is. My mother cannot handle a two button mouse. She's convinced "oh, I can't use computers", and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Anything that I have to explain to her, is not retained. She just instantly forgets it until the next time it comes up and I have to explain it again.

If Apple dropped the option of the one-button mouse like you people seem to be demanding, my job of tech supporting relatives would get just that much harder. "It isn't letting me check my email! I click the button and nothing happens!" "You're pressing the wrong side of the mouse... again..."

Re:Mice (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521645)

you know the DUMBEST thing about it?

they don't even expect their pro software to be used with an one button mouse, they just ship them out of habit(and as 'trademark' thing.. but they know that it's good to have more than one button).

Re:Mice (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521658)

I find that teaching people to use the left mouse button is no problem, but getting them to ue the right one is neigh impossible.

I get a call a week from my parents asking how do I do this with this and I ask them what it says when they right click it. over 3/4's the time it fixes their problem.

As for the MACs not needing a right mouse button because people think about their design I say BS.

I Ctrl click or long click on a Mac as much as I right click on an MS or Linux box, and the long click seams to be a little buggy or not completly implemented (in OS 9 anyway).

And I'd hardly call browsing the non context sesitive menues at the top through 100's of options or using 1000's of keybopard shortcuts good solutions to a dozen things I'd likly want to do within 3 inches of my pointer.

I always thought the reason was (2, Insightful)

deft (253558) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521458)

more to do with differentiating the apple than anything else. Man, they love to be apple users, and 2 buttons... "thats a windows crazy thing. we know better!"

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521534)

But Microsoft, when Microsoft puts eight buttons on their mice, it's for usability purposes.

Main Reason: Simplicity (2, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521537)

I am old enough to have read several "Byte" magazine articles about the Macintosh when it first debuted in 1984. The justification for the 1-button mouse was that the Apple engineers wanted the operation of the pointer to be as simple as possible. They felt that having 2 buttons would confuse the user since she would need to remember the specific functions associated with each button.

Although you and I actually would prefer 3 buttons on the contraption, we are not the typical tech-ignorant consumer. The typical consumer more closely resembles the folks in Florida in 2000. They could not understand even simple instructions on how to complete a paper voting ballot. Sometimes, the sheer ignorance in society can shock us tech-savvy folks who have no hope of ever dating a gorgeous blonde babe.

Re:Main Reason: Simplicity (0, Flamebait)

ahdeoz (714773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521623)

That's not true. The majority of Floridians voted for Bush. Give them a little credit.

FP FP FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521459)

Yessiree Bob!

Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521460)

Because Apple thinks it is simpler for users. That's all.

(FP ?)

Re:Because (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521490)

No, it's because Apple thinks its' users aren't surfing the web with one hand, if you know what I mean...

My mouse has 101 keys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521461)

Yeah cause I use, not a trackball attached to the keyboard but I use the arrow keys. Yes, there is a driver that allows me to do this.

I am elite.

Oh yeah 3P (third post).

Single button rules (5, Interesting)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521462)

Me? I use a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer for Bluetooth [microsoft.com] both at work and at home. I didn't have to install any drivers or anything. Just pair the mouse to my PowerBook (with built-in Bluetooth), and I'm done.

Mouse button 1 = regular click
Mouse button 2 = contextual click
Mouse button 3 = not used because it's too easy to scroll with the wheel when clicking, but it used to be mapped such that when I clicked it and scrolled, the Mac screen would either zoom in or zoom out (really nice Quartz Extreme [apple.com] feature)
Mouse button 4 = Expose [apple.com] show all windows
Mouse button 5 = Expose show desktop

My wife is the opposite. She prefers a single button mouse for her iMac and PowerBook. I bought her a multi-button mouse with scroll wheel for playing Jedi Academy [apple.com]. When she's done playing, she unplugs the multi-button mouse and plugs in her white Apple mouse.

Apple's got the right idea. Ship a single button mouse to make sure that developers don't start hiding things in the contextual menu, but support multiple button mice out of the box with no need for drivers. The scenario Gear Live describes is pretty common: "left click or right click?" On a Mac, that statement doesn't come up.

However, I'm sure some people will still complain about the single button mouse. Some people are just looking for nits to pick, and they're looking for excuses to deride Macs, though not necessarily reasons.

Re:Single button rules (5, Insightful)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521488)

Isn't it pretty common to have buttons that do one thing when clicked and do a different thing whe clicked and held down for a short duration? I seem to remember Photoshop on Macs working like that for most of the tools. Honestly I went years using Photoshop before I realized there were more options hidden there. The same menus could be found by right-clicking in the Windows version.

Re:Single button rules (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521560)

Isn't it pretty common to have buttons that do one thing when clicked and do a different thing whe clicked and held down for a short duration?

And worse, you get interfaces like PageMaker, where some operations require triple and quad clicks.

Re:Single button rules (1)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521523)

its not even so much the single button per say, because if you hold control when you click, you get your "right-click" menu in OS X, its really more that the whole mouse is a button and it seems very easy for the mouse to not let the buttin depress, namely when the mouse abbuts the mouse chord and deosn't let the user click the button.

I have had more students slamming the mouse "becuase it wont work" than any other problem in our mac lab.

Re:Single button rules (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521539)

Im using ms keyboards and mice on my macs/sparcs and windows boxes. So far, I just like the natural keyboard and mice, works great.

The only problem I've had is ms changed the arrow keys and 6 home/end/etc key layout. I never did care for that.

For the mice, Im trying the new Intellimouse with the sideways scroll, havnt really seen a use for it, and i miss the tactial clicks when scrolling. Too smooth really.

And for using them on the mac, the optional OSX drivers do add some mapping. Just cant browse without middle mouse button and back/foward mapped to the side buttons, how quaint. ;)

Lucky I live in Seattle, so we get tons of cheap ms hardware, normally about 15 bux for keyboards and 25 for mice.

I miss the old ms naturals with USB headers in the back, made it easy top sync pda's or plug in cameras. And the cheaper plastic is annoying.

Beowulf cluster of one button mice? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521464)

What would happen if they made a beowulf cluster of one button mice?

Re:Beowulf cluster of one button mice? (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521578)

The reverse is sort of the point:
Imagine a cluster of buttons on your mouse. Thanks to the architecture, you won't ever need to.

Button confusion? (2, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521465)

...users get confused with two buttons...

Just put one of these six button mice [compusa.com] on their desk and watch their head explode.

Re:Button confusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521516)

I don't know where I'd be without my nine button Logitech. I have enough trouble using a mouse without forward/back buttons now, let alone one missing a scrollwheel.

Ease of use (1)

redonion (843912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521470)

They use because it makes the computer seem easier and less intimidating--that's why. It's all about the first impression when you sit down at the machine for the first time.

Re:Ease of use (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521610)

While there are a number of historical reasons for creating a 1-button mouse (which even Raskin now thinks is a mistake) I think the popularity of portable Macs has something to do with why it's still done. I have never seen an ergonomically designed multi-button trackpad/ball/point. Every one I have seen puts the buttons together at the bottom, which means you have one finger (well, thumb) controlling multiple buttons. This is not convenient, and leads to wrong-clicking and no speed advantage (since you need to move your thumb to switch buttons). Putting a second button above the trackpad might be feasible, but I'm not convinced.

The reason they keep the one-button mice on the desktops is so that developers don't expect users to have multi-button mice.

Slashdot users only need one button... (4, Funny)

lortho (700090) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521473)

...to bring down a site before the first comment is even posted, apparently... *sigh*

Re:Slashdot users only need one button... (1)

Aggamemnon (809791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521484)

This is getting crazy... how are we supposed to RTFA and comment on it if?

Re:Slashdot users only need one button... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521528)

It's not the Slashdot readers taking the site down, it's a small number of assholes who are hitting the sites with DOS attacks as soon as they're reported.

You don't really think Slashdot has that many readers do you?

Re:Slashdot users only need one button... (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521535)

Wait... people actually RTFA? What, did I fall asleep for 20 years and wake up to a completely different Slashdot?


Re:Slashdot users only need one button... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521616)

No, you didn't fall asleep. You just slipped through a wormhole to a parallel dimensions.

(By the way, what do you think of my nifty goatee?)

kind of a weak argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521476)

You can use the right click easily (ctrl-click),
but it's just not physically there. Two button mouse would just speed up the process...

Gaming Mouse != Mac Mouse (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521480)

I've never found the single button mouse to be annoying. I started on Macs back in the day, and have since moved onto PCs.

The one place I know that a two-button mouse would be better on a Mac is gaming. That second, third, fourth, fifth, and wheel buttons really come in handy then.

Re:Gaming Mouse != Mac Mouse (4, Funny)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521548)

Admittedly I'm not up on current Apple hardware, but what about a scroll wheel? Do you mean you actually scroll *manually*? Explain how this works exactly.

Re:Gaming Mouse != Mac Mouse (1)

sebi (152185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521650)

You hit the spacebar to scroll down a page. Doesn't work for documents you actually edit, but is ideal for browsing.

Look, I'll tell you why they use a one-button mous (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521481)

Because when your grandmother uses Windows, she clicks the left and the right button at the same time. Watch her the next time she's using the computer-- really, she does this. She doesn't understand there's a difference.

You, you are smart enough to understand the left and right buttons do different things. You aren't apparently smart enough to understand control-clicking, but that's ok. However, since you are smart enough to understand the right mouse button, you are also smart enough to understand that you can buy a two-button mouse. So if your computer comes with a one button mouse, this is not a problem for you. Your grandmother however does not even understand the right mouse button is a button, so if her computer came with a three button mouse she does not have the option of going and getting a one button mouse.

Apple wants to sell computers that are usable by both you and your grandmother.

Re:Look, I'll tell you why they use a one-button m (4, Funny)

CrowScape (659629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521567)

Good luck to Apple then, as my Grandmother hasn't been using anything for the past ten years now. Well, except, she was apparently able to use a ballot box last election in Chicago.

Re:Look, I'll tell you why they use a one-button m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521665)

Here again, the problem isn't with the mouse, it's with whoever taught computers to your grandmother (both mine are dead). The way to teach a newbie is simple: don't ever mention the right button. Tell them to click on the left button only, always the left button, left, left, left. All applications geared towards newbies should be designed to work well with the left button only. If some application isn't, take it back for a refund: it's broken.

The right button is for intermediate users, not newbies. The problem with Apple's 1-button mouse is that it has no room to grow with the user.

Confused!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521482)

One button is confusing enough, we should just have touchscreens!!!

Re:Confused!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521538)

touchscreens and maybe a scroll wheel or specialized mouse .. along with a keyboard.

Re:Confused!! (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521632)

Using a touchscreen is easy on a UI designed for a single button. Using one on a UI designed for 2-3 button mice is painful.

640k? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521483)

1 button should be enough for anyone!

Confused by more than one button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521493)

Senior citizens at the local farmer's market keep getting confused when their car has more than one pedal.

And? (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521499)

There's a rumor that John Carmack once asked Steve Jobs what would happen if they'd put one more key on the keyboard.

How can you give a statement like that and not also put the rumored witty riposte?

Single button? (2, Insightful)

PincheGab (640283) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521500)

Users have had the chance to learn how to right-click for a long time... Unless the implication is that Apple's market share is full of people who can't handle two mouse buttons.

Anyway, the numbers tell the story... If Windows has 90% of the market share and Windows uses two mouse buttons, then at the very least having two mouse buttons is not an impediment to computer usability.

To be honest, this sounds more like a years-long pissing match ("I insist, two buttons on a mouse will destroy the world!") than anything of real substance.

Re:Single button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521558)

You are making the implication that the idea 90% of the population buys windows implies 90% of the population can use windows.

That's like saying that the idea that 80% of the population buys VCRs implies that setting the clock in a VCR is something 80% of the population can do.

Re:Single button? (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521590)

Same arguement could be applied to anything windows:

If Windows has 90% of the market share and Windows has the Blue Screen of Death, then at the very least the Blue Screen of Death is not an impediment to computer usability.

Windows has a larger market share because...


I can't actually remember. Maybe it is the Blue Screen of Death...

Re:Single button? (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521618)

If Windows has 90% of the market share...

Windows has 90% of the market share because they were the first real cheap interoperable system, and they retained their price niche for decades.

Usability simply doesn't enter into it. They flooded the mass, so they set the standard. (Which means that, in order to beat windows, you either need to be cheaper to offset complexity, or simpler to offset price.)

Re:Single button? (1)

mental_telepathy (564156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521621)

"Anyway, the numbers tell the story"

You must work in marketing to abuse numbers in that way. Are you suggesting that market share is directly proportional to usability? Or that one usability feature represents the usability of the entire machine? If I buy Windows because it has more games, does that mean I don't have trouble with the two button mouse?

Yes! (1, Funny)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521501)

Yes! And what about all those function keys on the keyboard? F1? Do I press F and then 1? And Alt? What the heck does that do? Two Alt buttons!?!? And why do we need both backspace and delete; they just confuse everyone!! I think Apple should be shipping a one-button keyboard!!

Re:Yes! (3, Funny)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521664)

Yes! And what about all those function keys on the keyboard? F1? Do I press F and then 1? And Alt? What the heck does that do? Two Alt buttons!?!? And why do we need both backspace and delete; they just confuse everyone!! I think Apple should be shipping a one-button keyboard!!

This reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon where a salesman is trying to sell him the most user-friendly computer ever:

Vendor: It only has one button, and we press it before it leaves the factory
Dilbert: What does that button do?
Vendor: Whoa! I'm in way over my head! Let me give you our tech support number.

To summarize: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521504)

<snip>Bunch of revisionist bullshit from a tech support monkey</snip>

Get used to it.


This summarization service provided by the Association of Anonymous Trolls for Reducing TFA Reading.

Forced to rethink? (4, Informative)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521506)

developers are forced to rethink their design approach and can't flood the right click menu.

What? In a lot of applications, if you hold down the button, you get the equivalent of a right-click menu. How in the world does this restrict developers?

Re:Forced to rethink? (1)

BioCS.Nerd (847372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521628)

The theory is that you the restriction should force most of the functions of the program to the foreground such that functions aren't hidden ass deep in contextual menus. Thus the point isn't restriction, the goal is to hopefully make the developer seriously contemplate user interaction.

Re:Forced to rethink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521640)

The second (and third (and fourth)) buttons get used because the windowing APIs make it too easy to add function to those buttons.

Hence lazy developers that aren't really thinking about a good interface use it to excess. Hence the confusion over what exactly the second button does... Does it paste? Does it bring up a second menu? Or did someone swap the buttons around on me? There's just no consistency.

You might as well make the keyboard the pointing device by mounting it on rollers.

Re:Forced to rethink? (4, Interesting)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521651)

I believe he was trying to say (correct me if I'm wrong) that the developers can't add features that exist ONLY in the right-mouse click menu, because they can't guarantee that the user will be able to get there. So, while it might be handy to use a multi-button mouse, its not required. In my opinion, that's not a bad idea. Give the not-so-experienced users fewer reasons to get confused (one mouse button), yet give the more experienced users the option of using a multi-button mouse for extra functionality.

I'm not a Mac user myself, but its the little things like this that make me like Macs more and more.

Mice versus razor battle. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521520)

Gillete came out with a triple blade razor (Mach 3). Then Schick came out with a four blade design (Schick quattro).

Are we going to have a button wars on mice??

I'm happy with two buttons and a scroll wheel on my mouse. I've tried some of the pre-existing mouse designs with more buttons buyt wasn't impressed. Either someone invent something radically cooler or the two buttons/scroll wheel design seems fine to me. Especially since i have a keyboard.

I would however like a touchscreen interface on my cell phone. I have big fingers so the touch screen will have to figure out where the center of my finger is.

Steve Jobs reply to John Carmack (1)

PunkPig (738544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521522)

I hope that Steve Jobs replied to John Carmack, " I think you mean what would happen if they'd put 104 more keys on the keyboard.....sucka!"

joke (1)

skriptal (854745) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521524)

"One button for one brain cell... "

just kidding but i like my right click menu sorry mac users!

Re:joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521576)

Which OS X has. just hold down the left mouse button, apple click, or use a 2 button mouse.

OT, but that link was OT too (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521529)

Why the extraneous link to Carmack in the article?
Is there /.er who hasn't heard of him?
And why not link to the Wikipedia article (first Google hit) instead? ID's homepage isn't about Carmack.

Why One Mouse To Rule Them All? (1)

GeekLife.com (84577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521531)

Ok, a second button *might* be confusing to the grandma or little kid who is running an iMac or Mac Mini. But the graphic artists, sound and video editors and other power users who buy the $3000 G5 can certainly handle the complexity of a mult-button mouse.

Why do all Apple computers necessarily have to come with the same mouse?

It's a $3000 computer (1)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521600)

You're going to spend $3000 on a computer but can't handle going to the store to spend $40 on a mouse? Why does the mouse have to come with the computer?

I mean, it isn't like you're planning on buying your monitor or RAM from the Apple Store, are you? You are? Don't do that. They gouge.

Re:Why One Mouse To Rule Them All? (2, Funny)

CrowScape (659629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521655)

My university's video editing facilities got a whole bunch of new G4s a few years ago. I can remember when they came in the very next day you could find about 12 of the one-button mice Apple bundles with its systems in the trash as you walked into the lab; all immediately replaced by two-button mice.

Apple frustration (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521541)

As a regular wintel user, I find apples to be very annoying - mostly because of the single button mouse. I honestly think that making the switch over would benefit them and their users (I use my right mouse button and scroll wheel A LOT to get around windows). For a company that is normally so good at ergonomics, I am amazed the switch didn't happen 10 years ago.

taking this to it's natural conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521551)

Apple keyboards should only have one key with which users enter letters by using morse code

One more key (1)

JohnsonWax (195390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521562)

The analogy is not putting *one* more key on the keyboard, but 105 more keys on the keyboard.

The difference between the keyboard and mouse is important in another way - keyboard buttons are labeled, mouse ones are not and the way we reference mouse buttons and actions stems from a one-button mouse world.

Had we started with 2 button mice, you'd say double-left click, or double-select click. Instead of right-click you'd probably say menu-click or context-click. Writing 'select' and 'context menu' on the ends of the mouse buttons wouldn't have been a bad idea either.

The unfortunate truth is that a lot of new users cannot type without looking at the keyboard - they have very little kinesthetic sense for that kind of action (vs opposable thumb actions which everybody does constantly). Watch a struggling user follow verbal left-click vs. right-click instructions and they have to *look* at the mouse a lot. If you have to *look* at a two button mouse, you're one button in too deep.

I really want to read this... (1)

Oswald (235719) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521563)

...maybe later. It just times out, for now.

Anyway, I'm interested in this subject because the mouse thing seems like the last barrier between me (and my wife) and a Mac. We surf the Web in Mozilla, using an MS Explorer (4 buttons, plus a clickable wheel). The ability to use the side buttons to do back-page and forward-page without moving the mouse cursor is completely non-negotiable for us, and I'm wondering if I can do this on a Mac without a lot of hassle.

Anyone got an answer? I would prefer a simple "yes, it's trivial," or "no, that's not supported."

Re:I really want to read this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521614)

Yep, you can do that. I have a Kensington mouse at work [with tons o' buttons]... you just go into the mouse's Prefs panel and tell it which buttons should do what and for what app. Trivial.

Laptops (1)

hazee (728152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521573)

The common argument is that you can plug in any mouse you like, so if the standard one button mouse isn't to your liking, you can change it.

But plugging an external mouse into an Apple laptop is going to be a big pain.

Why can't Apple laptops come with split left/right mouse buttons like PC laptops, but simply configure them both to do the same thing by default?

That way, novice users (or those who prefer a 1 button system) could simply click on either button - essentially simulating a 1 button mouse - while those of us who prefer 2 buttons could change a configuration option to allow the buttons to work as left and right mouse buttons, rather than having to plug in an external mouse.

Re:Laptops (1)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521660)

If you're willing to do that, you might as well also do that for the desktop mouse -- by default, have 2 buttons but have them both do the same thing.

So, let me get this straight (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521575)

An article completely unrelated with Apple or anyone who works for Apple in any way writes its own justification for Apple shipping a one-button mouse standard, and this article gets flooded with comments essentially along the lines of "Apple sucks" because they ship a one-button mouse, even though you can use ANY USB or Bluetooth multi-button/scroll mouse/trackpad/trackball on earth, and they all function by default with no drivers for left/right/scroll (and center where applicable, e.g., X11), and Apple even sells NUMEROUS multi-button mice and speciality input devices right on the Apple online store and in all of its retail stores, and Apple just announced what will likely be their highest volume computer ever, which does NOT ship with a mouse, meaning you're free to choose any mouse you please, and the right button functionality will instantly work across the whole OS and all applications, which has supported this for years?

With the introduction of the Mac mini, Apple is implicitly getting AWAY from shipping a one-button mouse, since the computer comes with no mouse at all!

So, is there a problem because Apple doesn't make its own branded two button mouse? Maybe we should bash Dell for Logitech making its mice, then! Or is this simply just another opportunity to bash Apple? Frankly, the assertion that it forces developers to actually THINK about shit they're butting into contextual menus instead of just flooding them with crap is a perfectly reasonable one.

Re:So, let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521615)

I was just about to post to make the same point when a refresh showed you made the point for me. So instead of posting myself, I gave you a mod-up.

Indeed, it boils down to two simple facts:
1. Two button mice operate just fine, and the second button will bring up a menu that ctrl-button1 normally brings up from the single-button mouse.
2. Apple merely doesn't make or sell two-button mice, so anyone who doesn't like what they got from Apple can still satisfy their need for a second button by purchasing any USB multi-button mouse.

Why, then, is there such a fuss ?

The reason is easily explained... (1)

Jaidon (843279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521581)

...by using an old saying we all learn in high school technical/vocational classes -- "Keep it simple, stupid." After reading this article I tried to think about why my mouse has two buttons in the first place. Frankly, Microsoft could simply apply a concept they already use on Windows CE to simulate an alternate kind of click -- holding down the button for a few seconds...which is what one does with the stylus when one needs to open a menu with commands like cut, paste, copy, etc. So in effect, Windows users could easily be afforded a one-button simple mouse as well. You would have the single click, the double click, and the held click. See how simple that is? And, much like the article and the other user comments mention, money could be saved this way not only for materials, but on the cost of design...though I am inclined to agree that gaming mice need many more buttons to be effective.

Its too complicated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521589)

Dealing with several mac users, I can tell you that having 2 buttons for them to click would just confuse things.

Last week I twice had to explain to 2 seperate mac users on how to close a program so it is no longer running.

I tell a Mac user to close a program, they minimize it, I tell a Windows user to close a program they click the X in the corner and close it.

I'm not saying that Windows users are smarter than Mac users or anything, but the Mac UI isn't as intuitive as people think. By adding another button you'd just be inviting more headaches.

Mac users that do know how to user a computer, usually buy a multi-button mouse and ditch the 1 button job. Thankfully, I usually don't have to hear from them.

You shouldn't need to be a touch-mousist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11521606)

Not everyone is a touch typist. But even those who are touch typists are often left to hunt-and-peck once they are off the alphanumeric keys.

You shouldn't need to be a touch-mousist to perform simple operations.

The mouse should be as intuitive as the nipple. Place the receptor where it needs to be and clench it.

I think this Jon Carmaak (sp?) fellow is a little out of his league.

other buttons useful, not necessary (1)

teh_dg (800496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521609)

I cant actually think of anything I do that requires the second mouse button, or has it as a primary function for anything. Ditto for any but the main one of the 10 buttons on this thing.

When I purchased this replacement mouse, I had imagined that the other people who occasional make use of my PC would be confused by all these buttons at least at first, but to my surprise they simply ignore unfamiliar buttons and use what they know. Even though these people have very little experience of computers and even need me to connect since "the internet button [IE icon] doesnt work", physical objects cause no such problems. Due to good design carefully placing these buttons, I've not had anyone yet even get confused due to accidentally hitting a button.

Each of the extra buttons is simply useful if you want them. I use all but one of them (some Logitech Program Selector, maybe I can change it to always go to WinAmp or something).

(I did not RTFA because it is slashdotted)

Its not computing.... (0, Troll)

mr_RR (803470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521639)

Apple's decision to stay with a one button mouse has absolutely nothing to do with how people interact with technology. This is just another example of backward justification - i.e., they have a policy, now they need to find a reason for it. This is about marketing, nothing else. For a company that associates its products with "thinking different[ly]", a one button mouse is a good marketing tool. Just as the imacs were ridiculed for looking "trendy" or "gay", it certainly did break with the legions of other PCs in a mostly standard black or white ATX midtower case. The one button mouse is a distinctive marketing device of Apple. They are the only manufacturer to do so, and articles like this bring them the publicity that they crave. Having been around Macs, both pre and post OSX, on a daily basis, I've noticed that all serious users, myself included, always add a two button mouse of some kind to the Apple, and the one button mouse that came with it goes back in the box. Its really that simple, and because of that, they have really no need to change it. Even if they did provide a two button mouse, they'd only be helping maybe a third of users, since mice provided by the manufacturer will never be enough to satisfy those users who want a cordless system of some sort. The only place it hurts them to keep the one button design is with their Powerbooks; one of the main reasons I haven't and will not buy a new powerbook is because I need right click functionality without the need to encumber myself with more and more mobile accessories. Forget an emphasis on software design, this is all about marketing, image, and brand recognition.

Re:Its not computing.... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521657)

I guess the control key is to hard your you to use then huh? especially since you need your left hand to side idle on a laptop and do nothing.

I can't believe that no one has mentioned this. (1)

worldtechguy (656198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521646)

Coders are using the right-click as a crutch. There are so many Windoze programs that rely on right-clicking for so many things that users don't even know the features exist. Contextual pop up menus are nice, but since no one reads the manual, how does a user find it? The one-button mouse forces programmers to design a more intuitive, simpler application and to not crutch on the right-click, center-click thing.

Because Apple are Stubborn D*ckwads? (0, Redundant)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521649)

Seriously, the one-button mouse has got to be one of the stupidest 'features' I've ever seen. Frankly, if people get 'confused' by a two or three button mice, then they shouldn't be using a computer in the first place.

Firstly, lot of Apple users are designers and professionals. First thing these people do is chuck away the stupid mouse Apple ships and buy their own. It's all fine and dandy if you buy a tower Apple, but what if you bought a Powerbook? A lot of the time you won't have a mouse handy, and you're stuck with that stupid one button trackpad.

Secondly, a lot of things are made far easier with a standard mouse. Who scrolls using the scrollbar anymore? A wheel is much more intuitive to use than to drag your mouse to some little arrow across the screen, that's never in the same place, and move it.

What happened to Apple being 'innovative'? Oh wait, I forget they tend to just take features that all other similar devices have and market them as innovation (*coughipodshufflecough*). Note that they don't even 'market' their innovative one-button mouse anymore. They know it's stupid. They know people hate it. They're just too stubborn to go back and say "oops, we made a mistake".

Xeros hid the multiple button ... (1)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521652)

The aticle is /.ed so I can not read it. But I've aleady read (must have been on /.) that when Jobs borrowed his MacOS interface from Xeros, they showed him only a one button mouse while they already add multiple buttons mouses for quite some time. AWx
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