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Photos: The Apple mouse through the ages

Minority Report: In honour of the recent launch of Apple's Magic Mouse, Seb Janacek takes a look back at Cupertino's mouse history
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By Seb Janacek, Contributor on
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1 of 7 Seb Janacek/ZDNET

Minority Report: In honour of the recent launch of Apple's Magic Mouse, Seb Janacek takes a look back at Cupertino's mouse history

Lisa mouse
Apple's Lisa of the early 1980s was among the first computers to sport a mouse - albeit a boxy and clunky one.

And while the Lisa tanked, most people remember the mouse as a key part of the Macs that followed it.

Photo credit: Marcin Wichary via Flickr under the following Creative Commons Licence

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2 of 7 Marco Mioli via Wikimedia under the following Creative Commons Licence

Macintosh mouse
The mouse was a key selling point of the first Macintosh in 1984, as it allowed the Mac user to break free from the command-line prompt and explore exciting new graphical user interfaces.

Ever a stickler for detail, Steve Jobs reportedly insisted the Mac mouse eschew the Lisa mouse's angular design and become more like a mini version of the Mac itself.

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3 of 7 Seb Janacek/ZDNET

Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II
A familiar peripheral throughout the 1990s, the Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II featured a rounded design still visible in today's models.

It's a personal favourite for two reasons. Firstly, it was the first Apple mouse I used, back when the whole one-button thing was quite charming. Secondly, a USB replica of this mouse is plugged into my four-year-old daughter's G3 iMac.

She declared the one button mouse her favourite and the best for making DVDs run. A triumph for advocates of single-button mice if ever there was one.

Photo credit: StephenEdmonds via Wikimedia under the following Creative Commons Licence

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4 of 7 Seb Janacek/ZDNET

Apple USB mouse
Released with the iMac in 1998, the Apple USB mouse was the nadir of Cupertino's efforts in this area. Round and tiny, it was fine if you were a pixie. However, if you were cursed with normal human-sized hands it was almost totally unusable.

It was universally panned and swiftly replaced.

Photo credit: Marco Mioli Via via Wikimedia, under the following Creative Commons Licence

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5 of 7 Seb Janacek/ZDNET

Apple Pro Mouse
Another crushing defeat for ergonomics. Released in 2000, the Apple Pro Mouse was an improvement on its predecessor - the unusable USB mouse - but that wasn't hard.

The Pro Mouse did away with a discrete button and made the entire moulded case clickable. Another fail. Not so much clicky as clunky.

Photo credit: Marco Mioli via Wikimedia under the following Creative Commons Licence

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6 of 7 Seb Janacek/ZDNET

Mighty Mouse
Fast-forward to 2005 and we have the Mighty Mouse - loved and loathed in equal measure. The programmable button options were mighty useful as was the roller ball 'nipple' that allowed you to scroll vertically and horizontally.

Still, not the most comfortable of mice to use and the 'nipple' easily picked up grime and refused to scroll in certain directions.

Photo credit: Apple

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7 of 7 Seb Janacek/ZDNET

Magic Mouse
The brand-new Magic Mouse is a touch-sensitive rodent. Initial reviews have been favourable; users can set a whole range of preferences in the OS to control the mouse and the touch interface will no doubt appeal to the iPhone generation.

Can this be the winning formula for an Apple mouse?

Photo credit: Apple

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