Why did Steve Jobs like to claim that Macs didn't need a two-button mouse?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by booyahbooyah, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. booyahbooyah macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2011
    After Steve passed, there were many articles touting how he reduced the mouse from PARC's design of 3-buttons to the Mac's 1-button. This was seen as a major win for simplicity.

    More recently, I was watching a Steve-note, and he was introducing the buttonless glass trackpad (the entire trackpad is the button). And he said that for Windows users (e.g. with Bootcamp), the trackpad can be programmed with software so that a right-click button can be emulated on the trackpad.

    Anyone who uses Macs knows that not only do Macs incorporate the mouse right-click, but that it is indispensable.

    So, why did Steve like to claim (pretend?) that Macs didn't need to be right-clicked?

    Any thoughts?
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Why need a second button when your other hand is on a keyboard with an option key?!
  3. booyahbooyah thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2011
    That sounds like a reasonable explanation, thanks.
  4. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    I love the two finger gesture for right-click. It's brilliant.

    And yeah, you have command/control key for most of that stuff too.

    The thing is, for the majority of things, you don't need the second button, it was redundant, especially with the shortcuts.
  5. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I guess that sort of makes sense, but at the same time, why waste my middle finger when it could be used for a second click on the mouse?

    Just because my other hand is on the keyboard, doesn't necessarily mean it's in the right place to hold alt/option.
  6. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Apple research found that the thing that most confused early users of the graphical interface was which button to use. Also, the right click was used to implement hidden features. There were supposed to be no features on a Mac that were not explicitly listed in a menu.

    If you find the 2nd button indispensable do you think Microsoft was wrong not to implement the pre-existing Unix 3 button mouse?
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Steve Jobs had obsessions about some things -- it's as simple as that. Some of these obsessions had an air of rationality to them, while others did not.

    I've been a Mac user since almost from the time the first Mac was introduced (got my first Mac in 1987, a 2-drive SE).

    I've used most Mac mice since the original ADB (1-button) mouse.

    I can state unequivocally that my "computing experience" (pointer-wise) increased GREATLY when I first tried a multi-button mouse with a scroll wheel.

    After getting used to it, I would never want to deal with ANY Apple mouse again!
  8. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    Hm, honestly I find the 3 keyboard modifier keys on the Mac much more confusing. I often cannot remember whether to use Control, Option or Command for certain functions. The right mouse click feels absolutely natural for me.
  9. booyahbooyah thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2011

    My experience too. It's simply much more productive using a multi-button mouse.
  10. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2010
    Brooklyn, New York.
    why need a modifier key when your finger is already on the mouse?
  11. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Because (as mentioned earlier in this thread) - your mouse has only one button!
  12. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Steve had his ideas. I can easily use multi-button mice and the traditional one-button mouse from Apple.

    It is simply left for choice. I do feel, that with current multi-touch trackpads, the whole single or multi button argument is done for. You can have both in one.
  13. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    I am not going to even try to justify why Apple does the things they do. Jobs was into simplicity, it's his religion, you may disagree with it, but that's the way it is with Apple.

    Easy fix though, configure trackpad for right-click with gestures, the keyboard shortcut, go ahead and attach a 10 buttons mouse if you need to.

    You want to ask Why Jobs... you have to first ask why all those super-expensive high-end stereos are very stark looking.
  14. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    I'll try to remember to ask him, the next time I meet him.
  15. Fzang macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2013
    Well, using the control key to right-click kind of sucks if you're left-handed.

    I can use a mouse with my right hand, just not touchpad. Kind of weird.
  16. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    How did this turn into an attack on M$? I'm not sure what your intention were, but it comes off like a fanboi mad that MicroSoft did something right before Apple did. Right-clicking makes getting work done faster than digging through a menu with a single button.

    On a similar note, I find MicroSoft makes a better mouse than Apple. I stopped using Apple mice after they switched to USB and I could use a PC mouse in its place. My current mouse: the Mad Catz R.A.T. 3.

    That's the bottom line. Even years after Mac users were clammering for a 2-button mouse, Jobs wouldn't budge.
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    This is the right answer. The other commenters here seem to be forgetting that the Mac was the first time the vast majority of people would see and use a mouse. The single button on the mouse wasn't a controversy when it was released; the GUI and the need for a mouse was the controversy. A lot of people complained that nobody would want to use a mouse at all because it made you take your hands off the keyboard.
  18. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    And when you could use two-button mice, people had real problems with "left" and "right". Person should use a right-click but does a left-click. You tell them "do a right-click". They do a left-click. You tell them, louder, to do a right-click. They do a left-click. You think. You tell them to do a wrong-click. :mad: They do a right-click.

    The advantage of control-click or nowadays two-finger tap vs. one-finger tap is that it doesn't rely on left vs. right which some people just can't grasp.
  19. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2013
  20. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    Sounds like more of an excuse to justify Steve Jobs'/Apple's reasoning. Just like where I read here why Safari for iOS only had a 8-tab limit. Someone responded by saying if you need more than 8 tabs open, then you need to thinking your multi tasking abilities. Or some BS like that.

    A multi-button mouse is essential IMO. Not just for right-clicking, but for other functions as well. Expose/Mission Control, show desktop, and dashboard.

    I don't use gestures, so I won't comment on how well those work compared to a mouse. But not everyone wants to use them or have access to them if they have a desktop (magic pad or w/e it's called).

    That was much more complicated that it need to be. :p
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Right click vs. wrong click. I like it.

    I just thought of something scary: the Mac will be 30 years old next week, and I still remember too well what was so controversial about it when it came out. I don't recall anyone debating whether the mouse should have one button or two. The raging fight was over whether a GUI made any sense at all. Kind of puts the question of whether Steve was right or wrong about the number of mouse buttons into perspective.
  22. lostngone macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2003
    Back in the day, every(pre window UI) program(that supported mice) used the mouse differently.

    One mouse button forced the software writers to standardize and made learning the mouse easier.

    It is pretty strange to think some early programs supported mouse control even before the operating system did.
  23. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Wasn't an excuse. I have a Magic Mouse and a magic keyboard. Both of which can be configured to run a left/right button setup. Difference being I choose not to use them like that and have the single button setup with gestures and the option key for the extra options.
  24. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    Because Steve Jobs had a god complex, and even if something changed for the better ( effective multi button mouses for example ), he would just refuse it and never say it was a good idea.

    All my Macs, and almost every Desktop Mac I've ever seen in the wild has a multi button mouse on it.

    It also doesn't help that Apple Mice/Keyboards are complete and utter garbage.

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