It annoys me that I can’t use my wireless Apple mouse while it’s charging. Every time my Magic Mouse 2 runs out of power, I must overturn it, like a wounded turtle, to access the Lightning charging port on its underside. The mouse is useless as long as that cable is sticking out. It’s a bummer.
It happened to me this morning, when my mouse powered down during a Zoom call, just moments before it was my turn to speak. I couldn’t unmute myself to explain my predicament, so I held my mouse in front of the webcam, sadly gesticulating that it was dead. Roughly thirty seconds of charging later, I unplugged the thing, turned on my microphone, and informed those present that I’d like to write about the wretched indignity of an unusable mouse. (I was later informed I could have used an elaborate keyboard command to take myself off mute – but that’s a complication I’m reserving for another time).
Before I go further, let me say that I recognise this is hardly a real problem. Of all the injustices one must face in life, temporarily losing access to the computer is hardly the worst; in fact, I resent the powerlessness I feel, literally and metaphorically, when the thing decides to time out.
But it’s not not a problem. Punters have expressed their frustration with the Magic Mouse 2 since its introduction in 2015, suggesting inoperable mice are to blame for countless messaging dropouts and office processes coming to a silent halt.
Love the location of the apple mouse charge port -____- pic.twitter.com/JZfSGfuQtd— Jash Fullinfaw (@jashfullinfaw) October 30, 2019
Whoever designed the way you charge the new Apple mouse…. smart. Very smart….. pic.twitter.com/lzOW1BBYWN— ✨CaptainChants✨ (@CaptainChants) April 23, 2018
It's 2020, I would love an Apple mouse I can charge while I'm using it. pic.twitter.com/p2wMiIdyQe— Kelli Bell (@_KelliABell) January 2, 2020
For a company whose reputation is so reliant on ‘good design’, surely Apple could sort this one out? Is it so hard to make a wireless mouse with wired capabilities? (And why don’t I just buy a different mouse?)
Seeking advice – at least, a gentle confirmation that I’m not losing it – I turned to Tegan Jones, consumer tech expert and editor of Gizmodo Australia. She suggested my issue came from a potential tradeoff Apple made with the Magic Mouse 2, choosing fast-charging capabilities over around-the-clock usability.
“It is a quick charge mouse, so I think that Apple’s response to complaints around it is, ‘Well, you only have to plug it in for a little while to get quite a bit of juice out of it,'” Jones said.
In fairness, the mouse does deliver on that quick-charging promise. Only now, hours after today’s Zoom call, has my desktop computer teased me with another battery level warning.
Of course, that warning won’t go away until I plug the thing back in. Ideally, I’d like to continue using my mouse while writing this very article.
“I can definitely see how, while you can charge it very quickly, for some people it would still be considered a design flaw,” Jones said, adding that yesterday’s Apple hardware event – which boasted new versions of the Apple Watch and iPad lines – included zero reference to a new Magic Mouse.
That update to Apple’s hardware cycle, plus the havoc COVID-19 has played on tech supply chains, means a new Apple mouse is unlikely any time soon.
“I would be interested to see if they did a third generation,” Jones said. “I do wonder whether they would move [the charging port].”
I remain amazed how the company famed for design and usability came up with the stupidest idea in the history of everything ever. pic.twitter.com/YqUkfz2IJk— reg delmot returns (@tomrledger) June 11, 2018
Consumer technology has become so refined and reliable that even momentary outages, like those provided by my mouse, can feel like crucial flaws. Is it really such a big deal that a wireless mouse renders itself unusable every so often, especially when it gives you plenty of warning beforehand?
“I kind of get it,” Jones said.
“Two minutes, or four minutes, or whatever it is, might not seem like very long, but when you’re in that moment, and you need it to work, now, it can be super annoying.”
Am I a dumbass for not charging the mouse earlier? Yes. Was today’s Zoom-call stitch up frustrating? Yes again.
“When it comes to real-world user experience, those moments do happen, where you’re just like, ‘Shit! I just want it to work, I want it to work now,'” Jones said.
“I think that is valid – both points are valid.”