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Gift Guide for Geeks 2003: Point

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Review

Gift Guide for Geeks 2003: Point

by William Porter

Apple Wireless Mouse

My daughters already have iBooks and personalized iPods, so what's left for me to give them for Christmas? Apple Bluetooth Wireless Mouses, that's what. Sure, the image of a Bluetooth mouse sounds a bit more like October 31 than December 25, but once my girls get down from the top of the bookshelf, they'll realize that this mouse is actually rather cute, and very practical.

The Wireless Mouse is a snap to set up and configure. From the time I plugged a D-Link Bluetooth adapter into a USB port in the back of my PowerBook--the adapter is a necessary companion device--it took only thirty seconds to get the mouse working. I opened the little users guide that comes with the mouse, but only read page 1 before deciding to do it the Macintosh Way: by blind guesswork. You must have OS X version 10.2.6 or better to use the wireless mouse. If you qualify (and who reading MacTech doesn't have the absolutely latest version of the Mac OS?), then it's just a matter of putting the two AA batteries into the mouse, turning it on, opening the Keyboard & Mouse panel in System preferences and clicking on the button to configure a new Bluetooth device. The OS does the rest: finds the mouse, gives it a name (it named mine "williamporter's mouse"), and kick starts the little dear. I'd say "Plug and play," but aside from the Bluetooth adapter, there's nothing to plug!

I tried a third-party cordless mouse about a year ago. I gave it up because it did not seem to me to be as sensitive as a traditional mouse. Besides, while the mouse itself was cordless, there was a transmitter attached to the computer by a USB cable. So it didn't reduce the clutter on my desk, just the clutter around the mousepad. The Apple Wireless Mouse, however, really is wireless: It exchanges signals with the tiny Bluetooth adapter plugged into the back of my PowerBook. And it seems every bit as sensitive as my Apple Pro USB mouse. In fact, in my hand, it feels almost identical, which isn't surprising because it's the same size and shape. I say "almost identical," because the absence of the USB cable does make a slight and entirely agreeable difference to the feel of the thing as I use it.

The Wireless Mouse comes in one color: snow white. It will look great with my daughters' iBooks. Not so great with my Titantium Powerbook, but I can live with it. At least it's not tangerine or chartreuse.

When I first got mine, jealous friends said to me, "What about battery life?" Not a problem. In a week of almost constant use, during which time I routinely forgot to turn the mouse off when I walked away from my computer, the battery life indicator in the Keyboard & Mouse panel budged off 100% just once, and in retrospect, that seems to have been a fluke. The mouse automatically drops to low-power when it's idle for a while. Your mileage may vary. I may switch to rechargeable batteries at some point, but not any time soon.

Revolution-wise, we're not talking wireless Internet here. But the elimination of any wire or cable is a blessing. And the Wireless Mouse is undeniably cool. Hey, don't just give it as a gift to others. Buy one for yourself, too. You know you want one.

Technical specs:

  • The Wireless Mouse requires OS X v10.2.6 or higher. It also requires a Bluetooth-enabled Macintosh, either built-in or using the qualified D-Link DBT-120 USB Bluetooth Adapter (older D-Link DWB-120M adapters are not supported).

  • Apple Wireless Mouse: $69 from the Apple Store.

  • D-Link DBT-120 USB Bluetooth Adapter: $49.95 from the Apple. This is just one of several Bluetooth options available.

William Porter


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