Apple Magic Mouse Still MIA as Software Update Arrives

Apple has issued a new Mac software update that lets Bluetooth-enabled Macintosh users employ the company's cool new, touch-sensitive wireless "Magic Mouse." The problem: You still can't buy the Magic Mouse by itself online or in Apple retail stores.

Apple built excitement last week when it debuted two new iMac desktop machines, a new 13" MacBook, a revamped Mac Mini, and the touch-sensitive Magic Mouse, which ships along with the new iMacs. But about a week later, what it has built around that intriguing mouse is frustration.When Apple provided specifics on pricing and release dates for most of the products last week, it didn't mention that the Magic Mouse (designed to be employed not only with the company's latest iMacs, but also with any Bluetooth-enabled Mac) requires a specific software update. Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 will reportedly support the Magic Mouse, but it's not yet available for download. Apple has not commented on when you'll be able to grab 10.6.2, though it's already been seeded to developers

Good news for impatient Mac-fanatics: As a stopgap solution, Apple yesterday made a Magic Mouse software update available for free download, for Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5.8) and Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.1).

The not-so-good news: You still can't buy a Magic Mouse separately in an Apple retail store and the online Apple store says only "Ships: 5-7 business days." That shipping estimate hasn't changed since Apple first posted the Magic Mouse page on October 20.

I've been calling and visiting Apple stores across Massachusetts--my home state--since the Magic Mouse was initially unveiled, and a number of my friends and colleagues in states across the U.S have followed suit. I've heard a number of different responses from Apple reps to my questions about Magic Mouse availability, ranging from the simple ("No idea. We'll put it on the shelves as soon as we have it,") to the frustrating ("We're not selling it until the software update's available,") and right on down to the confusing ("As soon as the website says 'now shipping' you can buy it.").

Apple's Magic Mouse press release says the mouse will be "available at the end of October" for $US69.99, so the company still has a few more days to make good on its word. But it seems strange that the software update would be available without the corresponding product. You'd think Apple would've stocked its stores with mountains of Magic Mouse units, so it could begin peddling them as soon as humanly possible.

I understand that announcing a product and then giving the public some time to digest the news and build up some demand could be part of Apple's sales strategy--and, if that's the case, I guess it's working because I'm basically writing a story about how anxious I am to buy a mouse.

But I'm frustrated and tired of talking to Apple "Geniuses" who can't answer my simple availability questions. You can bet I'm not alone in that regard. And that's just not good business.

The free Wireless Mouse Software Update is available on Apple's support page, but you'll have to keep on keeping on for that Magic Mouse.

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