La morte del topo


You’re probably using a mouse today, but you may never buy one again. All the planets are aligning against this humble pointing device. The computer mouse has long been associated with the PC, but in fact it was invented during the Kennedy administration (in 1963) by Silicon Valley engineers Douglas Engelbart and Bill English.

The mouse was nothing but a lab rat until the Xerox Star shipped in 1981. Though it was the first time anyone could buy a mouse, few did. The Star was overpriced ($16,000) and poorly marketed. The IBM PC came out that year, too — without a mouse. But when the Apple Macintosh hit in January of 1984, the mouse went mainstream and has been with us ever since.

Now, Gartner analyst Steve Prentice says the mouse’s dominance as the leading pointing devices may be over within 2 to 4 years. And I tend to agree.

That’s quite a prediction. Habits die hard, and our mouse addiction won’t be easy to break. However, several recent developments are slowly changing — or threaten to change — our mouse habit.

1. Apple’s giant trackpad with multi-touch.
2. Gaming pointing devices.
3. “Brain-reading” devices.
4. Apple iPhone and the “iPhone Killers.”