Microsoft is certainly promoting its new gesture-enabled mouse with great fanfare, saying it’s the result of two years of research and prototyping. But I honestl can’t tell what separates it– or makes it better–than Apple’s Magic Mouse, released in 2009.
As Seattlepi.com reporter Nick Eaton said earlier today, it seems to be a common theme with Microsoft’s presence at CES this year: a lot of nothing new.
Redmond has apparently been working in its Research labs since 2008 on touch-enabled navigation devices, something Apple has offered to consumers for about as long. The mouse is the combination of work from two divisions within the company.
For whatever reason, the company attempted to do touch navigation differently from the way Apple had done it, but it has settled on the same method, called “capacitive-sensing.” It will support nine finger gestures, which apparently is more than the Magic Mouse’s six– but the Touch Mouse doesn’t appear to allow customization or addition of more through third-party addons.
Microsoft will begin selling the device in May 2011 for $79.95, but has begun to take pre-orders from its promotional website through Amazon.com.
While I’m not saying that Apple owns the market on touch navigation, Microsoft’s selling of this mouse is disingenuous. Nothing it is doing here is revolutionary.
(In the interest of completeness, I should note that Microsoft already has another touch-enabled mouse in its lineup, called the Arc Touch. However it is not multitouch, so gestures don’t work.)