SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Computer Inc. introduced on Tuesday its first computer mouse with multiple buttons, including four sensors and a tiny scroll ball.
Although a departure from the company's traditional mouse, the "Mighty Mouse" looks very similar to the single-button model Apple has long produced.
The most obvious difference is the relatively tiny scroll ball at the mouse's head, which can move cursors diagonally as well as up and down across display screens and can be pressed to "click" functions.
Like Microsoft, Apple has for years built added functionality into its operating systems to accommodate multi-button mice. But you had to buy mice made by other manufacturers, such as Microsoft or Logitech, to take advantage.
Designers of the new Apple device wanted a scroll ball that was less obtrusive than other scroll balls and "stayed out of the way" of users who chose not to use it, said David Moody, vice president of Macintosh hardware product marketing.
In lieu of actual buttons beyond the scroll ball, the optical-scanning mouse has four sensors that can be programmed for multiple actions, just like the left and right buttons on many PC mouses.
Mighty Mouse, which connects via a USB port, is PC-compatible but won't be able to move your cursor diagonally in Microsoft's Windows, Apple said.
It will retail for $49.