Noted designer Philippe Starck who works under the name of S+ARCK has designed a new mouse for Microsoft. Inspired by the two hemispheres of the brain, the mouse is divided down the center by a glowing strip. In the pictures on Microsoft's web site, the glow is a soft blue surrounded by a white shell.
Seeing the image, my first thought was that this looks exactly what Apple would design and develop - right down to the blue glow highlight that is so common in Apple marketing.
I've always thought that Microsoft industrial design was good, if not exactly awe-inspiring. The original Natural Keyboards are excellent and I continue to use them. The more recent models that move around the cursor pad keys are an attempt to reduce the footprint of the keyboard, but are less usable in my opinion.
Years ago, I ranted to a friend of mine in the Microsoft Hardware group that the then-new curvy mice didn't come in left-handed versions. The reason was oblivious - to manufacture and package a version that was only for left-handed people would have lost money for the company. The traditional "straight" mouse is still available for those who insist on using our left hand. Not at sexy, but nearly as functional, although the new side-to-side tilt wheel isn't available yet for it.
It remains to be seen if this foray into cool design will work for Microsoft. Unlike Apple, Microsoft isn't expected to deliver this kind of product and like left-handed mice, may not have as big a market. Unlike software, manufacturing hardware has steep on-going costs. At a retail price of $35 USD - $20 lower than Microsoft's highest priced mouse - this particular design is not priced at a premium. Will Microsoft be willing to continue manufacturing the products if they sell slowly at first?