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Apple files for patent for an ambidextrous mouse

Apple is looking into ways to improve the mouse for use with its Macs (and, hopefully one day, iPads). The company has filed for a patent (number 10,474,251) for an ambidextrous mouse configured for both left and right handed use. 

In the patent filing, Apple notes that most computer system receive input from a user via an input device such as a mouse. The mouse typically includes a trackball or optical sensor (located at the bottom side of the mouse) for translating the motion of the users hand into signals that the computer system can use.

Mice may also include a scroll wheel to give the user scrolling functionality. The scroll wheel saves time and steps, and allows a user to move through documents by physically rolling the wheel forward or backward-instead of clicking on the scroll bar displayed on the computer’s graphical user interface (GUI). 

In the past, scrolling was implemented by selecting the scroll bar with the mouse, and moving the scroll bar on the GUI by moving the mouse up or down. Furthermore, many popular mice offer an asymmetric shape that fits the asymmetric shape of the hand. Apple says that, unfortunately, an asymmetric mouse is handed, i.e., it can only be used by a right or left hand. The tech giant adds that, although mice designs such as those described above work well, there are continuing efforts to improve their form, feel and functionality. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent filing (which is a continuation of previous patent filings): “The mouse may include right handed buttons on the front side of the mouse and left handed buttons on the back side of the mouse. The user may change the handedness of the mouse by rotating the mouse about a vertical axis of the mouse such that the left hand can use the left hand buttons and the right hand can use the right hand buttons. The mouse may include a handedness selection system for configuring the mouse for right handed or left handed use even though the mouse has the capability for both right and left hands.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.