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What Did a Little Mouse Mean for Modern Computing?

Computer mouses have been around since the 1960s. However, it wasn’t until the early 1980s that Microsoft and Apple Computers made the mouse a standard accessory with its computers. The mouse has meant a great deal to computer users worldwide ever since. Here’s a look at the history of those first commercial mouses and what the future holds.

How Were the First Mouses Launched?

In the late 1970 and early 1980s, several companies were building devices that allowed for better use of computers with graphical user interfaces. However, manufacturing costs were prohibitive. In 1983, Microsoft launched its first mouse. Its updated MS-DOS application Microsoft Word was now compatible with muse technology. That version of Word, bundled with a mouse, tutorial and Notepad, cost $195. That same year, Apple released a relatively inexpensive mouse to go along with its Macintosh and Apple II desktop computer lines. Other top manufacturers, including Atari and Commodore, followed suit.

What Did the First Mouses Look Like?

The first Microsoft mouse was rather clunky and had two green buttons, not on the top, but the front of the device. Microsoft was so concerned about people not understanding how to use the mouses that it came with an instruction manual that was 120 pages long.

The Apple mouse had one button on the top, a steel rollerball and could be used as either a pointer or joystick depending on the application.

How Has the Mouse Changed?

If you are old enough to remember early generations of mouses, you’ll recall different button configurations, the migration from the metal ball to a rubber one (both of which often picked up lint from your mousepad and needed to be cleaned) and gradual improvements in ergonomic design.

The number of buttons has stayed constant, based on the type of computer you’re using, though some specially designed mouses have multiple buttons. In recent years, the wireless mouse has made it easier to take the technology with you with one less cord to worry about.

What Is In Store for the Mouse in the Future?

Mouse design continues to evolve. Today, there are mouse models that feature a touchpad and remote control, a vertical conical design, compatibility with 3D designers or wearable functionality. Some experts suggest that with advances in automation and virtual reality, the mouse and the keyboard could soon be a thing of the past.

Are We Ready for Changes in Technology?

Consider why that early mouse model came with a 120-page instruction manual. It was included because company officials feared that users would not be able to figure out how to use the new device.

However, as design has improved, so too has the focus on user experience. New technologies are no longer to be feared. At Alvarez Technology Group, we help businesses leverage new technologies to solve problems and spur growth. For an initial, free consultation, contact us today.

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