Multi-Button Mice Considered Harmful

After owning an iMac for almost two years I finally broke down and bought another mouse (not this kind of mouse, I get a one of those every year). The one-button thing was really holding me back, so I bought a Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse and I’m loving it (as the McDonald’s folks like to say).

I forgot how much I missed having a scroll wheel too. And the right-clicking? Devine! This little puppy even has Tilt Wheel Technology and I’m loving that as well (although perhaps not as much as the right-clicking).

Say what you want about Microsoft, but they make a damn fine mouse — damn fine.

So why does Apple insist on only producing a one-button mouse when OS X supports multi-button mice? Is it cultural? Is it a kind of minimalist design aesthetic? According to this article in Wired, the one-button mouse was originally chosen for it’s ease of use. I’m sure this made a lot of sense back in the day. GUIs were relatively new and they were trying to break into a consumer market which wasn’t exactly hip to computers. Things have changed though and a lot of time has passed since the mouse was first introduced. I’ve always felt that a certain amount of usability is based on familiarity — if you use something long enough it eventually becomes more intuitive. I think Mac users are ready for two buttons now. And a scroll wheel…