Between their new USB-C jacks and mysterious updates to the Surface, some might think that Microsoft is only looking toward a somewhat uncertain future. However, the fact that they’ve agreed to relaunch the classic version of the IntelliMouse shows that there’s a few people at Redmond who wouldn’t mind resurrecting the golden era of home computing.
You might say that nostalgia is hot right now, especially after news broke of Nintendo putting the classic NES mini back on the market. This might help to explain why Microsoft is bringing back the old mouse, which might attract people who are reminded of a simpler time that consisted of enjoying single-player games on Windows 95 PCs.
Classic IntelliMouse units are based on a 15-year-old design from 2003, which was originally marketed as the IntelliMouse 3.0, though Redmond’s engineers claim that they’ve made several improvements. The tracking sensor and feel of the buttons is much better than the original.
Hardcore PC gamers of that time period often quipped that these were the only defects with an otherwise stellar design, especially considering how durable the mouse actually was. There are some who considered various versions of the IntelliMouse to be the pointing device equivalent of IBM’s sturdy Model M keyboards.
These new units will also ship with newly engineered internals that are more rigid than the original, which should help it to stand up to even more abuse. While you shouldn’t misuse a pointing device, online gamers often have to make a certain fixed number of actions per minute and this can do a great deal of damage to an otherwise sturdy design. Perhaps the new Classic IntelliMouse can take this without wearing out too quickly.
Open-source and Macintosh gamers have been a little concerned. The official specifications page reads that it’s only compatible with Windows 7 and up. While compatibility in this case may refer only to button customization, some people have been worried that they wouldn’t be able to get the new mouse to work with OS X, macOS and GNU/Linux.
On the other hand, there are reports that it uses the same human interface protocols that most other pointing devices use, which could help those who want to use this piece of hardware on Unix-based systems.
Certainly there will be plenty who still like to use the original version, which is perhaps more popular than ever as a result of social video.