German e-tailer Netbooksbilliger let slip the details of a new Microsoft mouse two weeks ago, only to take the listing down having presumably had its bottom thoroughly spanked by Microsoft. Today Microsoft has made it official.
The Arc Touch Mouse has one primary USP - you can flatten it. This is clearly useful for itinerant PC users, but the challenge is finding the right equilibrium between function and aesthetics. A couple of years ago we got Microsoft's previous iteration of murine evolution, but the jury remained out on the original Arc Mouse.
This one not only has smoother lines, but introduces the ‘touch scroll strip' which replaces the mouse wheel with a gesture driven touch interface - i.e. the speed of scrolling is controlled by the speed of the gesture.
"This is not the first time that the mouse has been threatened - look at 10 years ago when people started buying laptops that had integrated pointers and touch pads. Still, the mouse category continued to grow and grow," said Brett Ostrum, GM of the hardware group at Microsoft, in reference to the popularity of touch screens.
"The reasons people need external mice will not change: comfort and precision. The Arc Touch Mouse just demonstrates again how committed Microsoft is to continuing to bring great new mice to consumers."
The Arc Touch Mouse has Blue Track technology, is 15 mm at its thickest point and will cost $70 when it's made available in the US towards the end of this year. Judging by the aforementioned leak, it'll be available in Europe sooner than that.