Who's Got The Button(s)? (10/18/00)

Mac traditionalists can't be having an easy time these days. Over the past decade we've all seen lots of changes to the Apple landscape. Remember back when IBM was the enemy? Remember when Microsoft wasn't our "friend"? Remember when LocalTalk let us network any Macs quickly and cheaply, and all Macs had SCSI ports? And people who aren't even comfortable with those changes are probably nursing ulcers over Mac OS X, which throws an armload of Mac interface rules out the window and trades fundamental simplicity for power. At least the smiling Mac icon still appears when you start it up; if it didn't, we imagine a few of you would be heading to the clock tower with a rifle by now.

But perhaps we should take cover anyway, because one of the Mac's last trademarks of simplicity may soon be challenged: the single-button mouse. Faithful viewer Ryan Layton sent us over to RAILhead Design, where rumor has it that Apple's working on a new version of the Pro Mouse that will sport two buttons-- or, rather, it'll continue to sport no buttons, but it'll provide left-click and right-click functionality via "two pressure points under the front." This long-avoided departure from Apple's single-button fixation is said to be slated for shipment alongside Mac OS X, which includes left- and right-click functionality even in its current beta form.

Some of you are saying "it's about time," but others are climbing up the tower steps as we speak. But before you start firing at the local populace, consider this: word has it that Apple will continue to ship the existing single-button Pro Mouse as the standard, and the two-button beastie will be available as a build-to-order option for people who want it. So it's sort of a "best of both worlds" scenario, even if Apple is finally deviating from one of its longest-standing ease-of-use trademarks-- assuming any of this rumor is true in the first place. Now come down and take your medication.

SceneLink (2621)
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The above scene was taken from the 10/18/00 episode:

October 18, 2000: Steve Jobs dashes all hopes of an iPresident by endorsing Gore-- or is it all just a cunning plan? Meanwhile, Massachusetts may soon require all public college students to buy laptops, but PowerBooks need not apply, and rumors surface once again of an Apple-branded multi-button mouse...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2619: Hey, There's Always 2004 (10/18/00)   You know, this may sound crazy or something, but we're actually starting to wonder if maybe Steve Jobs isn't planning to run for President. After all, time's really starting to run out, here; the election is less than three weeks away, and yet the Stevester still hasn't even announced his candidacy yet...

  • 2620: Why Can't Johnny Mac? (10/18/00)   See, now here's the sort of thing that always gives us the heebie-jeebies. First we've got Apple issuing an earnings warning in part due to slow sales in one of its long-time strongholds, the education market...

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