Apple has a long history of making terrible computer mice. It all started off with a visit to Xerox Palo Alto Research Center by Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs in 1979. He was fascinated a demonstration of a three-buttoned computer mouse, which was used to control graphical user interface (GUI). Jobs saw the potential with this little gadget while the scientists at Xerox “had no idea what they had”. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a wonderful article on New Yorker called the Creation Myth that detailed the story behind Apple’s “innovation”.
The idea for mouse controlled GUI was later implemented by Steve Jobs into the Apple Lisa and Macintosh. Although these projects were commercial disasters that pushed Jobs out of his own company, the concept of GUI had spread across the computer industry.
So why is the Apple mouse a terrible device? Well, it all comes down to Steve Jobs’ theory of minimalistic design. When Jobs learned the three-buttoned mouse concept from Xerox, he took the idea to industrial designer Dean Hovey, who redesigned the concept by dropping two of the buttons. According to Gladwell’s article, the removal of two buttons on the mouse had dramatically dropped the price of the gadget. Apple’s decision to keep a single buttoned mouse is widely viewed as an example of overplaying in minimalist design. Steve Jobs even introduced an unusual round mouse in 1998 and controversially called it the “best mouse in the world”.
Apple’s current mouse of choice, the Magic Mouse, features a futuristic design that excluded any sort of human ergonomics. It is essentially a curved interface that enables multi-touch gestures like the MacBook trackpad. Similar to its predecessor the “Mightly Mouse”, the Magic Mouse relies on force sensitivity to simulate right clicks with a single button. I do give Apple credits for crafting a beautiful gadget. The streamlined design reminds people of a futuristic sport car, just like the newly announced Tesla Roadster.
As much as I admire Apple’s industrial design, I am absolutely not a fan of the Magic Mouse. So what are the alternatives? Well, there are well over tens of thousands of mice that will work on the Mac. However, if you are looking for the ultimate companion for the Mac platform , there are no better options than the Logitech MX Master 2S (Desktop) and the MX Anywhere 2S (Mobile). These two mice have the ability to replicate most of the functions on the Magic Mouse while retaining an ergonomic design.
The Logitech MX Master 2S builds on the success of MX Master. It features a very ergonomic palm grip that allows you to work for hours without the feeling of numbness. The speed-adaptive scroll wheel can automatically detect your scrolling speed and adjust itself on the fly to fit the your working habit. Users can also move the scrolling wheel horizontally for left/right navigation. There is a squared button in the middle of the mouse and a single press will unveil Mission Control in macOS. Press and hold that button while moving the mouse will simulate gesture controls from the Magic Mouse. A part from having a set of function keys, the side panel also contains a vertical scroll wheel that users can customize. The thumb-rest of the mouse has two additional set of customizable buttons for users to choose.
The Logitech MX Anywhere 2S on the other hand is a shrink down mobile version of the MX Master 2S. MX Anywhere 2S features ergonomic interface at a reduced size, making it the perfect on-the-go mouse. Other than the removal of thumb rest and vertical scrolling wheel, MX Anywhere 2S carries most of the functionalities found on the MX Master 2S. Both units feature a 4000-DPi precision sensor that tracks on any surface. It also has non-removable battery that last up to 70 days on a single charge via micro-USB cable. You can connect their device through either Bluetooth or 2.4GHz USB transmitter.
With Bluetooth connection, users can connect up to three devices at the time. Installing the Logitech Option application will enable a new feature called “Flow”. Flow allows seamless workflow between three computers on a single mouse. Users are able to move cursors across multiple computers and conduct file transfers with a single MX Master 2S or MX Anywhere 2S. Since these two mice have three bluetooth channels, the mice will intelligently switch their channels depending on the cursor’s position. Now that’s what I call a “Magic Mouse”.
The price of the both units often fluctuate on Amazon. They are usually priced around $90 – $100 in Canada and the United States. Once you get your hand the Logitech MX mouse, you’ll never settle on a single button.