The Turbo Mouse/iMate combination was always a kludge, even (or especially) under Mac OS 9.x. It would intermittently conk out, the mouse randomly failing to register as a functioning device on startup. But in a rare instance of improved support for aging hardware, each successive release of Mac OS X has actually improved the reliability of this curious input device configuration; under Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, I basically had to cross my fingers every time I rebooted with the Turbo Mouse/iMate plugged in, but now, under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, I’ve only ever seen that kind of hardware problem once or twice.
No Hardware Lives Forever
Given that scenario, I was hard-pressed to find a reason to ever stop using this Turbo Mouse; it’s been a sturdy performer for seven years and I foresaw nothing in Apple’s technology roadmap that would suggest it would break under future operating systems. Of course, that was too easy, as over the past few days it’s started giving me problems, occasionally and stubbornly refusing to shift the cursor point either up or down on my screen. In case you haven’t ever experienced a mousing device that refuses to allow you to move up or down, I can assure you it’s a pain in the ass.
That immediately put me back in the market for a new mousing device, naturally. As it happened, Apple released its Mighty Mouse this week, which brings an arguable amount of innovation and, at long last, a second button to Apple’s official mousing device offering. I was excited about it for only about a minute though; above all, what I really want is another, equally reliable trackball.
I’m much more tempted by Kensington’s latest, the black, stealth fighter-like Expert Mouse, and it’s probably the one I’ll end up buying. The company offers a corded, USB version and a cordless version that works over a radio frequency — but no Bluetooth version, and that’s what I really want. When I did a search for Bluetooth trackballs from any vendor, I came up with next to nothing — only an apparently long-delayed, forthcoming device from DVForge, but it seems under-featured for my needs.
For whatever reason, no one thinks there’s a market for Bluetooth trackballs, which I find to be quite odd. I even found an online petition aimed at Logitech, entreating them to please release such a model. I suppose trackballs are niche devices anyway, and that few enough people feel comfortable with them to further narrow that market with Bluetooth devices. But, jeez, for me, it’s such a no brainer. I’d buy one instantly.