The Magic Mouse could get a fascinating reboot, according to Apple's new ideas

 A Magic Mouse on a desk next to a Magic Keyboard.
A Magic Mouse on a desk next to a Magic Keyboard.

Apple has a real knack for designing great products, which makes the awkward choices evident in the Magic Mouse even more obvious. Yet Apple seems to be hard at work on ways to improve the device, and while we can’t say whether it will fix the upside-down charging fiasco, there are encouraging signs pointing towards some interesting new features on the horizon.

That’s because a fresh patent from Apple has revealed a few of the company’s ideas for improving the Magic Mouse and expanding it into new areas. There’s no guarantee we’ll see any of these ideas put into action, but they at least show that Apple is not happy to rest on its laurels.

In the patent, Apple talks a lot about mouse sensors and how they could be used to detect when a user is tilting the mouse. The idea is that this new action could give you another way to interact with on-screen content, beyond the usual clicking and moving of the mouse.

For instance, the patent says that “the desired function can be any function carried out by the computing device, whether visibly apparent on a display screen of the computing device or not.” In other words, you might use this function to zoom in or out, adjust the brightness or volume, change a brush size, or something else.

Rotating, rolling and more

A Magic Mouse on a desk next to a Magic Keyboard.
A Magic Mouse on a desk next to a Magic Keyboard.

Apple doesn’t just focus on tilting a mouse in its patent – it also discusses how you might be able to rotate a mouse to carry out other actions.

In its accompanying illustrations, Apple depicts a variety of circular-shaped mice that are quite unlike anything the company currently produces. If anything, they are reminiscent of the infamous “hockey puck” mouse that came with the iMac G3 and may well send shivers up the spine of anyone who remembers struggling with that particular pointer.

Interestingly, while Apple says that a mouse’s tilted position could unlock extra functionality, the transition into that new position could itself be useful. For instance, Apple says that rolling a curved mouse could be used to adjust inputs “in a similar manner to rotating a dial or spinning a sphere of a thumb ball mouse.”

There are a lot of ideas discussed in the patent, and some of them sound more practical than others. But what’s clear is that Apple is interested in new ways of using a very familiar device. If the company can pull off a new and interesting way to use the Magic Mouse, it might go some way to restoring that product’s reputation to the place Apple would like it to be.

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