Backstage: Apple’s Bluetooth future begins with mice
Based on Apple’s public patent filings and job listings, that little verbal slip-up from Motorola’s car accessories division a couple of weeks ago, and the recent surprise introduction of Bluetooth 2.0+EDR components into the latest PowerBook laptop computers, we get the distinct impression that Bluetooth wireless technologies are about to make an even bigger splash in the iPod world than before. If you haven’t seen our reviews of Bluetake’s i-Phono wireless headphone system and TEN Technology’s naviPlay, they’re worth a few moments of your time: while both systems had their appeal, Apple’s integration of Bluetooth 2.0 into iPods or accessories would be a major step forward for audio quality and convenience, amongst other factors.
In addition to Apple’s own Bluetooth wireless keyboards and mice, a number of third-party companies have been developing Mac-friendly Bluetooth add-ons, and as Bluetooth fans, we’ve been playing with two of them for a while: MacMice’s The Mouse BT ($69.99), and Macally’s BTMicro ($44.99). Both have performed well as wireless accessories, interfacing flawlessly with our Bluetooth-equipped PowerBook, but as mice go, they feel about as different from one another as they get. The Mouse BT is a total style winner, with clear and metallic (or white) plastics that perfectly match Apple’s current computers, while the BTMicro is considerably cheaper, smaller, and surprisingly more precise in the specifics.
Both mice offer the two-button-and-a-scroll-wheel design that PC users accept as standard and many Mac users have come to prefer, but the buttons and wheel are a bit more responsive on the BTMicro: the wheel clicks in increments rather than scrolling smoothly, and the buttons click quicker. There are also rubberized grips on its sides for easy movement. Macally also includes AAA rechargeable batteries, a charging dock and power adapter; The Mouse BT doesn’t, and uses standard AA alkalines.
Despite the BTMicro’s numerous functional design benefits and pricing, we continue to be drawn to The Mouse BT on looks. It’s almost exactly the way we wanted Apple’s own Bluetooth mouse to look and work, albeit without the recharging dock that we think is key for wireless mouse accessories. That said, the BTMicro’s an easier sell - especially for travelers and those needing precision in their clicks and wheel scrolling.
Click on Read more below to see more shots of these Bluetooth accessories, and get a sense of what the future has in store.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple hires ex-Nest exec to aid in health initiatives
- Apple loses exclusive ‘iPhone’ trademark in China
- Apple to reveal ‘sweeping changes’ to Apple Music interface at WWDC
- Apple releases fourth developer betas for iOS 9.3.2, tvOS 9.2.1
- Bowers & Wilkins acquired by EVA Automation
- India rejects Apple’s plan to sell used iPhones
- Rumor: Purported iPhone 7 component photo shows headphone jack intact
- Families fight in court over missing teen’s iPhone data
- Court allows police to force woman to unlock iPhone with Touch ID fingerprint
- Coach reportedly releasing bands for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with HomeKit support
- ClamCase ClamCase Pro for iPad mini 4
- Brydge BrydgeMini II Keyboard for iPad mini 4
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)