Looks like we're in for another keyboard and mouse revision, folks, and this one might finally be a humdinger. Apple hasn't had a major change to its input devices since the advent of the Pro Mouse and Pro Keyboard signaled the death of The Puck; since then, the most we've seen is the addition of white variants (for the LCD iMac, and sold separately to customers who thought the original black models were too goth for use in the suburbs) and a recent cheapening of the design that debuted with May's new eMacs that removed the "Pro" designation from the products' names. Nothing much to write home about, unless your family is really starved for entertainment.
But there's drama a-brewin'; Macworld UK reports that Apple has cut the price of the Apple Keyboard and Apple Mouse, which might just herald the coming of a new dynamic duo-- and we figure we're more than due for a serious change this time around. Think Secret is reporting that a wireless Bluetooth mouse and keyboard pair may have been in the works for ages, and was actually intended to debut alongside the Power Mac G5 at last month's Stevenote. Interestingly enough, if you buy a G5 at the Apple Store, apparently your order summary will indicate that you're getting a "Keyboard Wired" and a "Wired Mouse"; we didn't have a spare coupla grand to verify that, but hey, we're the trusting type. Couple that with screenshots from non-English developer previews of Panther which show a new Bluetooth tab in the Keyboard and Mouse prefs, and the odds that Apple's next mouse might not have a tail start to look pretty darn good.
Of course, the real question on everyone's mind isn't "will they be wireless?" but rather "will the mouse finally have more than one freakin' button?" Sorry, folks, we just don't know. We've been hearing rumors of a multi-button Mac mouse coming "real soon now" for, oh, about four years running, and frankly we're almost ready to stick it in the same file with the Disney-buys-Apple rumors, reports of an Apple-branded Palm OS handheld, and the imminent release of Mac OS X for x86. Not that a multi-button mouse from Apple is implausible, mind you, but it would break one of the Mac's trademarks (for better or for worse), and if they haven't done it so far, we're not at all sure why they'd choose now to start.
Personally, we're a little ambivalent, here; we like the simplicity of the single-button mouse, and we're perfectly happy with Apple leaving more complex devices for third parties to build. But at the same time, we're also sick of the constant whining from people who seem to think the Mac won't ever be a real computer until it comes with a mouse sporting five buttons, a scrollwheel, and a removable toothpick and tweezers-- so hey, either way is just Jim-dandy with us. Heck, we're not even sure we're on board with the whole wireless idea; the wire really doesn't bother us, and if the mouse isn't physically tethered to the Mac, it's just going to be that much easier for a certain AtAT staff member to walk off with it and drop it in a toilet. But hey, it's all in the name of progress.