It's been fun to watch the mac-o-philes dissect the new two-button, scroll-ball sportin' "Mighty Mouse" that Apple released last week. By all accounts it seems to be a nice little mouse. Now taken by itself it's hard for me to get too excited; for some time the Mac would work with just about any mouse you threw at it and if there's one thing the computer world has in abundance it's mice.
There is however, a good reason to be excited about this development when you consider Apple's decision to move to Intel CPU's. One of the dimensions to the Intel story that hasn't received much attention is the possibility that Apple's next generation Macintoshes will be able to run Windows (PC World). I personally think this is a very big deal. While the real magic of the Macintosh may be the whole hardware/software integration, I think there are a lot of Apple devotees out there that buy Apple primarily for the industrial design of the hardware. This is particularly true for their laptops. I think there is an even larger contingency that would buy a Macintosh if they felt like they could drop back to Windows should circumstances require it. I think they're going to sell a lot of hardware to this crowd. Remember, Apple is a hardware company and those market share numbers we hear so much about are really hardware numbers.
How does Mighty Mouse fit into this? It's not so much the mouse that is exciting, but the possibility that they'll build similar "buttonless" two-button technology into their PowerBooks and iBooks. To me, the lack of two-button support on the portables was the last hurdle to making their Intel-powered hardware appeal to the Windows crowd. My money says that we'll see two-button support similar to the mighty mouse implementation in the PowerBook and iBook line just as soon as they switch to Intel. And then things get really interesting.