the Mighty Mouse
that broke the camel’s back

Conclusion: Apple needs feedback. Apple is not your friend; it just wants money. Don’t reward it for stupid behaviour, and let it know when it goes wrong. The same advice applies for any corporation/religion/institution/government/&c.


I was an Apple user for many years. My first Mac had no hard drive, but it was loaded with a half megabyte of RAM. The IIci with Portrait Display was a pleasure. More recently, I purchased a PowerMac dual-core G5 which came with a Mighty Mouse.

The scroll ball works well, until it gets dirty (as physical mechanisms inevitably do). Naturally, one might simply take it apart and clean it (just like the old mechanical ball mice), except it’s glued together (i.e. taking it apart is a destructive process).

I was annoyed and disappointed when I first discovered this in the predecessor to the Mighty Mouse (which was also glued shut), but there was no need to open it (no mechanism to be cleaned). Now, I’m offended enough to write about it. Apple claims to have an environmental policy [pity I didn’t save a local copy before they actually put something substantial at that URL]. Greenpeace has a different perspective, and it ranked Apple lowest in their report on major electronics manufacturers [and it also failed to keep those URLs working].

My warranty had not yet expired when the scroll ball first began to malfunction. I tried some methods for cleaning, but found only temporary relief, so I contacted an Apple Authorized Service Provider to request replacement under warranty but they somehow persuaded me to continue cleaning it. Then, only days after the warranty had expired, the cleaning methods no longer worked at all.

I contacted Apple Support, and described the situation but they wouldn’t budge; I may as well have been speaking to a machine. Instead, they offered to send me a «complimentary lint-free cloth».

I mistakenly expected that Apple would have the intelligence to at least replace such an inexpensive product, especially as it was purchased with one of their most expensive products, not to mention all the other Apple products I’ve purchased over the years (or those purchased by others on my referral).

I’m not a hater. I’ve been satisfied with my G5 and PowerBook. The thing that tweaks my spine is that they sealed the unit. Of course, Apple does have a history of «black-boxing» their wares (maintaining an iron curtain between user and product), and in this case, moral imperative compels me to wail. If it were easy to open and clean it, I wouldn’t consider warranty replacement and I wouldn’t be writing about it.


I could go on about how Apple is increasingly engaged in restricting freedom and effectively dictating how their products will be used but chances are that you’re either a devotee held fast in the rapture of Steve’s RDF, or you’ve already felt the pain of some of these pusillanimous policies. In any case, examine the gory details if you wish. Personally, my dollars no longer vote for Apple and its corporate iCon.