Humble Mouse Turns 40

A look at milestones in the life of that crucial computer accessory
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2008 2:39 PM CST
Computer mice on display at a Best Buy store.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – It’s been 40 years since the computer mouse made its public debut, and though innovations have been legion, the basic concept is still the same. Macworld takes a look back at some key moments in the device’s evolution.

  • 1963: The first recognizable mouse prototype is built. It only had one button, but more were to come—well, not for Mac users.

  • 1972: The first all-digital mouse is conceived; previous attempts needed to translate analog signals for computers to understand.
  • 1981: The first commercial mouse is produced—for a $20,000 Xerox system nobody bought.
  • 1984: The debut of the classic, and enduring, Apple one-button mouse.
  • 1987: IBM starts selling PS/2 computers, and with them PS/2 mice, which would become the standard for PC clones.
  • 1999: Optical tracking is freed from the need for a special mouse pad, and Microsoft releases the first viable wireless mouse.