Giving up on the Mighty Mouse

I’ve given up on the Apple Mighty Mouse, having gone through two of them since 2005. I finally got fed up with having to completely dissasemble it to properly clean the ball rollers every couple of months, and then either glue or tape the “retaining ring” back onto the bottom of the mouse.

In my opinion, Apple really should have made the scroll ball optical instead of mechanical rollers and Hall-effect sensors, and they should have designed it to be easily cleanable. Apple’s suggestion to “Roll the ball vigorously while cleaning with water” while holding the mouse upside down” is NOT an acceptable solution. More than once, I had to completely take apart the Mighty Mouse, unscrew the “ball module” from the top shell, and then take THAT module apart to be able to clean the gunk from the tiny rollers with magnetic ends.

I tried every solution in the book to avoid dissasembly, but none of them worked for long. Saliva, Windex, tiny adhesive tape strips wrapped around the ball, etc. I had moderate success with Hoppe’s #9 gun-cleaning solvent, but even that only worked for a week or two before the rollers started gunking up again.

If the Mighty Mouse wasn’t $49, it might be a different story – I’d just go buy a new one every six months. For now, I’ve replaced it with a $25 Logitech LX3 optical mouse. The only problems I’ve ever had with Logitech mice were their microswitches wearing out after four or five years of heavy use.

As a final note, I’ll say that the Mighty Mouse is only the second piece of Apple hardware that I’ve “given up” on – the first was the original FireWire iSight camera. I bought one in 2004, and returned it for a refund the next day – for $150, I expected much better audio and video quality than I got from the camera.

2 thoughts on “Giving up on the Mighty Mouse

  1. I gotta agree with your Bill, I relegated mine to the spares box because they don’t fit my hands properly (I have too-long fingers), and like you, I got sick of cleaning the scroll ball. I did find using Apple’s suggestion but substituting the water for Isopropyl Alcohol worked for about a month at a time as opposed to a week however…

    I’m still using my by now 7 year old Optical Intellimouse Explorer (the original grey one!). It’s the best fit for my hands and still works beautifully, even tho the paint has worn off, it’s filthy and looks like it’s been through world war 4. It’s like an old pair of shoes :) I recently persuaded my boss I needed a new one for work and they are still really nice mice, even in the moden guise – they kept the same basic shape and changed the various functioning parts.

    Face it, Apple have never had a clue when it comes to making mice – I’d rather use a USB Sun Crossbow than most of the mice Apple have turned out.

  2. This actually underscores Apple’s biggest hardware problem: durability. Their hardware is beautiful, functional, performs well, and their software absolutely rules. The problem is that their hardware has to, for the most part, be treated like a precious family heirloom from the 1800s if you want it to stay at least cosmetically nice.

    Take the Macbook Pro for instance. Did they deliberately use paint that scratches that easily? Did they deliberately use a metal alloy that bends that easily and retains no shape memory?

    In this case it’s not just cosmetic. The little roller ball thingy is a horrid idea that any engineer should have protested about on first sight. It’s a no brainer. I can hear it now: “so that little ball with those little rubber rollers is supposed to stay clean while having greasy naked monkey fingers all over it all day… what the hell are you people smoking?”

    Apple needs to alter their design business process. They need to add a step for durability testing that comes after the designers and ergonomics people get done with things. The durability people should be able to bounce things back for having serious durability problems.

    At least they fixed the laptop display hinge issue. The new hinges (big, all the way across) look like they won’t break off after 1-2 years of use like all laptops made by any company between 1997 and 2002 did. :)

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