Microsoft Arc mouse doesn't support multi-touch

The first thing that comes to mind when you saw Microsoft's new Arc mouse may very well be that it is some sort of multi-touch enabled device. You might imagine that it is designed to emulate a Laptop Trackpad. However, Microsoft states that that isn't the case at all. This device is nothing more than a computer mouse that curves for use and goes back to being flat when it is being stored. This mouse doesn't support multi-touch functionality at all.

An Engadget article that was written prior to the reveal discusses what they believed the Arc mouse was. It states "The mouse features touch-scrolling,[…]." This statement alone may lead people to believe that it supports touch input functionality. The article goes on to compare pricing to Apple's new Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. However, Engadget is not alone in this, many sites had assumed that the mouse had touch functionality.

Paul Thurrott stated the following: "It doesn't support multi-touch gestures or any of that nonsense, not because it's not possible, but because Microsoft has put its multi-touch technologies where they belong: In the screen." Many descriptions of the Arc mouse that have been posted online so far have mentioned that it has somehow copies Apple's mouse technology.

However, this mouse by no means copies Apple. This time around, the goal of this mouse is not to compete with Apple. Rather, it is designed to be an upgrade to existing Microsoft  mice. It is designed to be much more compact while traveling and it is designed to remain ergonomic for use at your destination. It is simply a new take on existing technology ideas from Microsoft.

Neowin originally unveiled news about the Microsoft Arc Mouse in an article earlier this week.

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I think many of the above comments are dissing this mouse because Microsoft isn't trying to pawn it off as some 'magical' toy.

I would prefer multi-touch on the screen. Having it in a mouse is dumb. Touchpads are ok, but problems is the real estate is to small. With the screen I use gestures and make it the size I need the first time with pin-point accuracy. With a touch device I have to use several gestures for the same effect. Counter-productive if I would say.

It looks cool anyway.

Article
The first thing that comes to mind when you saw Microsoft's new Arc mouse may very well be that it is some sort of multi-touch enabled device.

I never once thought that. It is shaped like an ordinary mouse, with two buttons and a scrollwheel area. The mouse I use now has two buttons and a scrollwheel. I don't multi-touch that. I works just fine. Why would I assume the Arc would be any different?

[sad face]

I guess I'm skipping this one. If it doesn't support multi-touch then it's not really a huge improvement over the last Arc mouse. I may give it a try later but this won't be something I'm going to run out and get.

I love my Arc Mouse, but the scroll wheel absolutely sucks. I will more than likely get this new Arc Mouse just because it shouldn't be too different in design, but I think a touch scrolling feature will work a lot smoother than the crappy wheel. I'll have to wait for pictures of it before I decide for sure, though. Also, without an actual button, I wouldn't want it if I can't "middle-click" just by tapping on it.

I don't understand this Touch-mousewheel. If the idea behind the mousewheel was "less mechanic", it seems to me the mouse have still two areas with mechanic buttons below. But the main reason why I throwaway all my mouses was the mouse buttons, sooner or later. (in the good old days the cable).

reidtheweed01 said,
how the hell do you use multi-touch with a regular mouse?

For example, when zooming into a photo, you can spread your fingers on the mouse, forward/backward navigation by flicking two fingers forward/backward, and so on, two fingers up to maximize a window, etc...

Northgrove said,

For example, when zooming into a photo, you can spread your fingers on the mouse, forward/backward navigation by flicking two fingers forward/backward, and so on, two fingers up to maximize a window, etc...

yea works good with maps and browsing also.

Hmm, so its not really that spectacular a mouse.

Actually to me Mouse 2.0 is those wireless mouse
Before 2.0 theres the ball then optical.
And the magic mouse is kind of 2.5, 3.0
I group more by function instead of design

i really hoped the geniuses at microsoft would come up with a thumb-operated trackball....

the last one was a disaster, no wonder they pulled it off the shelves....

the best trackball i've used is logitech's trackman wheel, it's been like 10 years already....

Yeah, Microsoft's trackballs were crap. Mine died in a matter of months. But my Logitechs just keep going for years and years. Hell, I've seen some last a decade or more.

This is really not what I wanted to hear. I was looking forward to seeing how Microsoft would use gestures to control some of the unique features in Windows 7 with this mouse. <sigh>

TechDudeGeorge said,
So why is is named "Arc Touch"...? Seems like a misleading name to me.

Touch scrolling. I don't see how touch scrolling is any better than a scroll wheel though... actually far worse. Thanks, Apple, for starting this "cool" trend of decreasing productivity.

andrewbares said,

Touch scrolling. I don't see how touch scrolling is any better than a scroll wheel though... actually far worse. Thanks, Apple, for starting this "cool" trend of decreasing productivity.

Touch scrolling is much better if you can do it in 2 dimensions. It looks like this is only one way (vertical) though.

i couldnt find in the article where it talks about touch scroll. infact, it had a quote: "It doesn't support multi-touch gestures or any of that nonsense".
any of that nonsense? seriously? I have always been a impressed by quite a few thing that MS has been involved in but to call multi-touch gestures nonsense is going a little too far.

d4diesel said,
i couldnt find in the article where it talks about touch scroll. infact, it had a quote: "It doesn't support multi-touch gestures or any of that nonsense".
any of that nonsense? seriously? I have always been a impressed by quite a few thing that MS has been involved in but to call multi-touch gestures nonsense is going a little too far.

MS never said that though lol it was Paul. And to be fair, I kindoff agree with him. It may be cool and all that, but on Windows I don't think multi-touch (without like an overlay or using a touch screen) will be any better for productivity.

TechDudeGeorge said,
So why is is named "Arc Touch"...? Seems like a misleading name to me.

Just give them five more years, then they'll annouce the family friendly Arc Multitouch, codenamed "Mouse 3.0"!

/- Razorfold said,

MS never said that though lol it was Paul. And to be fair, I kindoff agree with him. It may be cool and all that, but on Windows I don't think multi-touch (without like an overlay or using a touch screen) will be any better for productivity.

It's much faster to use multitouch features for windows management without having to reach for icons in an UI.

andrewbares said,

Touch scrolling. I don't see how touch scrolling is any better than a scroll wheel though... actually far worse. Thanks, Apple, for starting this "cool" trend of decreasing productivity.


touch scroll is far better that scroll wheel. on touchpad it's better because you can just hold finger to top or bottom for autoscroll, and on multi-touch it's better because of precision and flicking with velocity.

Northgrove said,
It's much faster to use multitouch features for windows management without having to reach for icons in an UI.

Anything you can do with multi-touch you can do with multiple mouse buttons. Pinch zooming can easily be replicated by holding the right mouse button and scrolling up and down. 2 finger dragging on a window can easily be done with 2 mouse key dragging on a window.

Elliott said,
Whoops.

I love the fanboy line from Paul. What a tool.

No need to attack Paul on this. He is simply reporting that Multi-touch in a mouse doesn't seem like the brightest idea. Btw, just so you know, I don't believe it is the brightest idea either. I know that I said that my statement above was the last, but I had to address this. Everybody likes to join in a supposedly merry game of "Attack the Microsoft Blogger", but to me it is pointless. Don't shoot the messenger as they say!

Elliott said,
Whoops.

I love the fanboy line from Paul. What a tool.


Exactly my thought too, haha. Paul is showing his more ugly side again.

It doesn't support multi-touch gestures or any of that nonsense, not because it's not possible, but because Microsoft has put its multi-touch technologies where they belong: In the screen.

This sounds worse than many Apple fans defending them.

Yes, multitouch belongs in the screen on touchpads, but nowhere else. Everywhere else, you want to use a mouse with good functionality (like multi-touch if you're into that) instead of spending your merry time making fingerprints on your screen and getting tired by exercising your arm for three hours straight. Talk about non-ergonomic.

If Ballmer shares this opinion, MS is in an even more sorry shape than I thought.

Northgrove said,

Exactly my thought too, haha. Paul is showing his more ugly side again.


This sounds worse than many Apple fans defending them.

Yes, multitouch belongs in the screen on touchpads, but nowhere else. Everywhere else, you want to use a mouse with good functionality (like multi-touch if you're into that) instead of spending your merry time making fingerprints on your screen and getting tired by exercising your arm for three hours straight. Talk about non-ergonomic.

If Ballmer shares this opinion, MS is in an even more sorry shape than I thought.

Hey, I didn't say that touching the screen "all day" was a good option either. lol. That is why it is good to have both a standard mouse and a touch screen monitor combo until there is a better interface. I doubt that a better interface will arrive for quite some time though. Even with Gesture Tech, you still need to have a mouse in case your arms grow tired. lol. That is unless we will spend the whole day winking at our computers instead.

"It doesn't support multi-touch gestures or any of that nonsense, not because it's not possible, but because Microsoft has put its multi-touch technologies where they belong: In the screen."

LOL!

In the case of mobile devices, yes. However, I had no idea that usability-wise, multi-touch technology (or touch, period) belonged on the [desktop PC] screen. Judging by what perhaps Thurrott/MS believe about this, I must reach out towards the monitor to interact with my machine until my arms turn to stone. Brilliant usability.

I would have loved a multi-touch mouse; that's one great way to interact with your machine using gestures IMO. Are we going to see it in Windows 7 (which has built-in support for gestures, btw)? Apparently not.

I guess it's business anyways. Business for touch monitor manufacturers, and business for doctors when your arms fall off.

Paulz0r said,
"It doesn't support multi-touch gestures or any of that nonsense, not because it's not possible, but because Microsoft has put its multi-touch technologies where they belong: In the screen."

LOL!

In the case of mobile devices, yes. However, I had no idea that usability-wise, multi-touch technology (or touch, period) belonged on the [desktop PC] screen. Judging by what perhaps Thurrott/MS believe about this, I must reach out towards the monitor to interact with my machine until my arms turn to stone. Brilliant usability.

I would have loved a multi-touch mouse; that's one great way to interact with your machine using gestures IMO. Are we going to see it in Windows 7 (which has built-in support for gestures, btw)? Apparently not.

I guess it's business anyways. Business for touch monitor manufacturers, and business for doctors when your arms fall off.

You realize they mean touch screen tablets, right? A laptop with a touchscreen and swivel screen is the greatest idea ever, and has existed for years.

For desktops, I'd like to see a multitouch pad or mouse that is more productive than a mouse with buttons. It isn't. It's "cool", it's a fad, but it's not better.

andrewbares said,

You realize they mean touch screen tablets, right? A laptop with a touchscreen and swivel screen is the greatest idea ever, and has existed for years.

For desktops, I'd like to see a multitouch pad or mouse that is more productive than a mouse with buttons. It isn't. It's "cool", it's a fad, but it's not better.

Unless I read wrong, where was it explicitly implied that 'monitor' is equal to swivel laptop? Also, how is that the 'greatest idea ever'? Anyways, for usability's sake if one wants to use multi-touch gestures on their /desktop/, this is arguably the best way.

Nevertheless, whether or not it improves productivity, I have no clue. However, it certainly is nice to try to improve how we interact with our PCs.

Paulz0r said,

Unless I read wrong, where was it explicitly implied that 'monitor' is equal to swivel laptop? Also, how is that the 'greatest idea ever'? Anyways, for usability's sake if one wants to use multi-touch gestures on their /desktop/, this is arguably the best way.

Nevertheless, whether or not it improves productivity, I have no clue. However, it certainly is nice to try to improve how we interact with our PCs.

As for myself ive built my own pc's since 1995, had a ton of laptops and desktops and was always in a cycle where I would find my self finding the next latest and greatest upgrade for my hardware (monthly) about a year and a half ago I bought a Touchsmart PC and havent had the slightest urge to buy a new pc or wish mine was different or faster.

just because a monitor has a touch screen on it which no one says that you have to use it all the time but when there is that cool app or ya just feel like flicking a webpage, navigating though media center, playing games or resizing a webpage or a picture with a pinch your glad you have it at your fingertips.

It just seems to compliment the pc not change that way you use it

also, one other comment I have heard about is about smudges on the screen which I have to tell you I have never had one that I could tell. The screen on a hp is glass which makes it easy to clean as a crt and the screen is so bright and crisp that if there was a fingerprint on it you would never see it until the pc was off.

Edited by winrez, Aug 20 2010, 9:56am : forgot a point

Paulz0r said,

I would have loved a multi-touch mouse; that's one great way to interact with your machine using gestures IMO. Are we going to see it in Windows 7 (which has built-in support for gestures, btw)? Apparently not.

What novel uses can you imagine for multi-touch mice that can't already easily be accomplished with standard mice? Take pinch zoom for example, I have a Firefox extension that allows me to zoom images by simply holding the right mouse button and scrolling the scroll wheel. Why would I need some convoluted gesture?

Pretty much any multi touch gesture you can imagine can easily be replicated with a normal mouse through a combination of it's buttons and scroll wheel. Look at Opera's back/forward button rocker technique to see how you can easily support back/forward commands without needing back/forward buttons. Or better yet, look at Opera's gesture system to see how you can support gesture based actions without though input.

New? This is the exact same mouse as the Arc Mouse that was released over a year ago then, if all it does is flip closed. It just has a different design.

Sylar2010 said,
Dear god why all the pro apple writers neowin.

Huh? lol. What part of this article is pro-apple? Just curious. That is all I have to say on the matter.

winlonghorn said,

Huh? lol. What part of this article is pro-apple? Just curious. That is all I have to say on the matter.

Probably because it sounds like this one will be inferior to the Magic Mouse, but that's not Neowin's fault.

Northgrove said,
Probably because it sounds like this one will be inferior to the Magic Mouse, but that's not Neowin's fault.

+1! Definitely not Neowin's fault! lol.

winlonghorn said,

Huh? lol. What part of this article is pro-apple? Just curious. That is all I have to say on the matter.

Saying that this product is meh because it does not support a gimmick feature, feature that was "invented" by Apple.

Magallanes said,

Saying that this product is meh because it does not support a gimmick feature, feature that was "invented" by Apple.

The reason why it's being put across like that is because it was anticipated that it would feature multi-touch, like the prototype had. But now it actually doesn't, it's just a regular mouse, which is a bit of a let-down.

Pauleh said,
The reason why it's being put across like that is because it was anticipated that it would feature multi-touch, like the prototype had. But now it actually doesn't, it's just a regular mouse, which is a bit of a let-down.
I don't believe there's anything to link the prototypes to this specific device? Just because they looked similar doesn't mean one begat the other.

This looks like a REALLY stupid mouse. I was going to try it just because it multi-touch. Now that I know it's not then WHY would anyone bother? It looks more painful to use then the last Arc mouse.

Simply a case of over crowded tech blog world trying to be the first to break the news, and in doing so, someone's WAG/BS becomes excepted as fact.

Everyone needs to take a breath, relax and wait for stuff to come out. Honestly in 5 years NO ONE will care about this product or the magic pad, both will be in a land fill.

How would this device be in any way ergonomic? Looks quite bothersome to use. I'd be glad if someone who has used similar Microsoft mice would prove me wrong though.

As for "any of that nonsense", I don't think this mouse is very newsworthy. Just a regular mouse with three buttons and a scroll wheel. And it bends.

joemagoe said,
How would this device be in any way ergonomic? Looks quite bothersome to use. I'd be glad if someone who has used similar Microsoft mice would prove me wrong though.

As for "any of that nonsense", I don't think this mouse is very newsworthy. Just a regular mouse with three buttons and a scroll wheel. And it bends.

I use the current Microsoft Arc Mouse (The first generation) and it's the most comfortable mouse I've ever used personally. And folding up like it does is a great feature for on the go. I've had a lot of mice, and I love it.

M_Lyons10 said,

I use the current Microsoft Arc Mouse (The first generation) and it's the most comfortable mouse I've ever used personally. And folding up like it does is a great feature for on the go. I've had a lot of mice, and I love it.

I stand corrected. I still don't think this is newsworthy material though, considering there are many technological happenings that should either replace or take more priority over this.

joemagoe said,
I stand corrected. I still don't think this is newsworthy material though, considering there are many technological happenings that should either replace or take more priority over this.
Seen many bendy mice?

ObiWanToby said,
Really kinda makes sense, using two fingers on the same hand while griping a mouse might feel weird. I dunno though.
Works like a charm with Apple's Magic Mouse.

virtorio said,
Works like a charm with Apple's Magic Mouse.

Lol... no it doesn't, the magic mouse is just a fancy toy-gadget.

virtorio said,
Works like a charm with Apple's Magic Mouse.

Not really. You have to somehow hold the mouse in one spot relative to your hand with your thumb, pinky, and ring finger while using your index and middle finger to manipulate multi touch. Instant hand-cramp.

Touch needs a stationary surface to work well, mice are non-stationary. It's just not a good combo.

kInG aLeXo said,

Did you try it ? even single time ?

Yes, and it lags.
Its gimmick but it does not work well as a mouse.

StarLion said,

Not really. You have to somehow hold the mouse in one spot relative to your hand with your thumb, pinky, and ring finger while using your index and middle finger to manipulate multi touch. Instant hand-cramp.

Touch needs a stationary surface to work well, mice are non-stationary. It's just not a good combo.


Works great for me, and everyone else I know with one.

virtorio said,

Works great for me, and everyone else I know with one.

I basically have to hold it in place with one hand and use the touch surface with the other. Trying to do it one-handed either results in the mouse sliding around instead of my fingers sliding on the back, or a highly unergonomic claw-like hand gesture to hold and manipulate at the same time.

It's a poor design, plain and simple. A touch surface does not belong on a fundamentally non-stationary surface. It's like trying to use the Magic Trackpad on an air hokey table.

There are other touch-related failing to the Magic Mouse as well. Clicking is a labored process that requires lifting your finger from the surface and reapplying it (because it relies upon touch). This drastically reduces the maximum rate at which you can click, which basically makes it as worthless as a touch-pad for anyone who plans on gaming. It also lacks a middle click, which annoyed me to no end while trying to open new tabs in Firefox. Heck, my programmable 5-button mouse can do more functions than the Magic Mouse thanks to the limited number of supported gestures they gave it.

I know 4 people who purchased a Magic Mouse. They all returned them within a week.

Edited by StarLion, Aug 20 2010, 12:41pm :

StarLion said,

Not really. You have to somehow hold the mouse in one spot relative to your hand with your thumb, pinky, and ring finger while using your index and middle finger to manipulate multi touch. Instant hand-cramp.

Touch needs a stationary surface to work well, mice are non-stationary. It's just not a good combo.

It actually is very intuitive, useful and comfortable. Especially when editing in FCP or Adobe Premiere.

StarLion said,
.

Your points are solely user preference. Just because you (and "four" of your friends) don't like it doesn't make it bad. Many many people have no issue with the touch features of the mouse or clicking it.