Gadget corner: Cliff Joseph gets to the core of some new Apple offerings

4th November 2005 at 00:00
Apple Mighty Mouse

Only Apple could make such a fuss over a mouse. For more than 20 years, Apple has supplied all its computers with a mouse that has just one button.

But seeing PC users with more sophisticated mice that have multiple buttons and scrolling wheels, many Mac users have been buying new mice from companies such as Logitech and even Apple's arch-rival, Microsoft.

Apple finally bit the bullet and decided to develop its own multi-button Mighty Mouse. As you'd expect, the Mighty Mouse is a lovely piece of design - but then it should be for pound;35. It's glossy white and streamlined to the point where the scrolling wheel is little more than a bump on the top of the mouse. The scrolling wheel is the Mighty Mouse's chief claim to fame, as it allows you to scroll in any direction. This does come in very handy if you're scrolling around large documents in programs such as Photoshop or a web browser.

The software provided with the Mighty Mouse also allows you to program the various buttons to perform different tasks, such as launching the Mac's Spotlight search feature. However, it lacks options such as the ability to control the "forward" and "back" commands in a web browser. The Mighty Mouse therefore needs a few more customisation options if it hopes to see off its rivals from Microsoft and Logitech.

Price: pound;35

Apple iPod nano

The horror stories about its easily scratched screen threatened to mar the launch of the iPod nano. But the nano's biggest problem is probably the fact that very few companies have got around to producing protective carrying cases for it just yet. All the other iPod models are well catered for in this respect, so most owners already have their iPods safely wrapped up inside some sort of plastic condom or trendy leather wallet.

With no such protection available for the iPod nano - other than Apple's own rather unappealing armband - most people have just stuck the thing into their pocket and left it to take its chances. Hardly surprising then that so many nanos have picked up scratches galore.

But this doesn't alter the fact that the iPod nano shows that Apple is still making the running in the digital music market. The slimline design of the nano leaves all its rivals looking fat and ugly, and in the fashion-conscious consumer market that seems to outweigh the fact that there are several MP3 players that are cheaper and provide greater storage capacity. But the nano doesn't just look great, its compact design is also perfectly suited to its use as a portable music player. It'll fly off the shelves at Christmas - as will the new carrying cases that are due out in the next few weeks.

Price: 2Gb - pound;139; 4Gb - pound;179

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