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Microsoft mystery device a multi-touch mouse

updated 07:35 am EDT, Thu August 5, 2010

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse to fight Magic Mouse

Microsoft's mystery touch device is actually a competitor to Apple's Magic Mouse. Both a leak and a store listing point to the Arc Touch Mouse having its namesake touch surface instead of traditional clicks. It was originally the result of a research project into a multi-touch mouse whose details were published just as Apple was shipping its own device.

The controller was originally designed to provide multi-touch to Windows 7 computers that don't already have a touchscreen, but it's believed by Neowin that the Arc Touch Mouse may ship with just single-touch support at first. It should cost about $70 and should arrive in stores by September, suggesting that Microsoft's teaser campaign will likely wrap up soon.

by MacNN Staff



  1. tundaman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    too little, too late

    Just when Apple itself is moving forward and away from the old mouse paradigm and made clear, with magic trackpad, that magic mouse was only a transitioning tool to the new all touch UI era, there goes our beloved M$ once again trying to copy old Apple's technology a year late...

    And it even got more pathetic with that "teaser campaign" thing, with tens(not hundreds) of M$ twitter fans guessing and screaming with joy: "it's a TouchPad!"

  1. Sukoshi

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Microsoft should just adopt Prince's 1999 as their theme song for all events and unveilings.

  1. chas_m



    Well I'll Be

    Microsoft copying something Apple did first. That's gotta be a first. You sure don't see that everyday, by golly.

    Wow, I'm shocked. This could be the start of a terrible trend, and hurt Microsoft's long record as the leading innovator in the technology arena. I'd sure hate to see them do this a second time ...

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Microsoft Research

    "It was originally the result of a research project into a multi-touch mouse whose details were published just as Apple was shipping its own device."

    Top Ten Microsoft New Product Research Web Sites


  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: too little, too late

    If you think that somehow the mouse is magically going away because Apple decided to release a track pad, you're just dreaming.

    There have been many trackpads available for computer use, as well as other mouse killers like trackballs. They still haven't taken over, even after all these years. h***, too many people still grab a mouse to use with their track-padded laptops.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "Redmond, Start Your Photocopiers"

    Just a heads up Ballmer, IT WAS SARCASM!!!!

  1. brainworks

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Other standalone trackpads?

    Yeah of course you need a mouse if the trackpad is stuck to the keyboard. Are there other standalone brands? I have been looking for the last few years

  1. tundaman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: testudo

    Please, read what was wrote before criticize.

    I never said that trackpads will kill mouse, I just pointed out to what seems to be Apple intentions on that matter. Only time will tell.

    I just said that M$, once again, is trying to capitalize on other people old tech(just like, Zune, MS Phone, etc.), which is a UNDENIABLE FACT, not speculation.

    About previous trackpads/trackballs implementations, I think iPad gives us a pretty good example about what can be achieved with a good implementation of one technology to be mass adopted, even if somebody tried it before with no luck.

    Besides, I think nowadays no one should cast doubt in Apple's ability to change the status quo, unless they're ready to bite their own tongue in the near future.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Too much testudo, not late enough

    Still using your floppy disks, eh testy?

    If you think that somehow the mouse is magically not going to go away at some point, you're also dreaming -- at Inception-worthy levels. As tundaman indicated, this is evolution at work. Far better to be able to recognize it as it's happening than after (or well after) it has happened.

    As to the numerous failed attempts before: who designed them? Yes, surprisingly enough it IS all about design. Not just aesthetic design, but functional design. Trackballs (large ball variety) never were good at either (did Apple ever make one?) But what about the trackball on the Apple Mighty Mouse you say? Hmmm. A counter-example you have found, no? Well, no. The little trackball controls scrolling but NOT the cursor - that was still left to the mouse. But what about the trackpads built into Apple's existing laptops you holler - you know, the ones they are selling RIGHT NOW? This must be the definitive and all-elusive counter-example that finally proves your case beyond a shadow of a doubt, right? Well, wrong again turtle-breath.

    A laptop is by its nature something that must be produced as a self-contained system. So although users may opt to add an external mouse, hard drive, etc., the laptop must be able to be reasonably functional without the need for any of those. That means some kind of pointing device must be included. Not many options here, either for what device to include and for where to locate it. Is the trackpad on a laptop (let's be bold and say any laptop) the most functional pointing device? Probably not. Is it the best device given the tradeoffs that must be made? Probably so.

    But here's a little exercise for you: go to your desktop system. Run your mouse cable beneath your keyboard so that the mouse ends up on the desk in front of the spacebar (alternately, just put your wireless mouse in front of your keyboard in the same spot.) Now use your computer for a week all the while keeping the mouse within a 3" square of desk space in front of your space bar. Do you suddenly want a different mouse/trackpad/trackball/trackanything located someplace different?

    Any more questions as to why a stationary external pointing device with the flexibility of the Magic Trackpad is creating such a buzz?

  1. revco

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh I don't know...

    I think I'd try it because it's black and will probably have better battery life than Apple's mouse.

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