Touchy touchy

For all the non-stop hoo-hah about tablets and smartphones, it's easy to forget that the multi-touch revolution isn't limited to touch-screens. Apple has made a big deal of bringing touch to its mice and trackpads; first there was the Magic Mouse; then Macbooks got a large, multi-touch trackpad; then the Magic Trackpad brought the MacBook experience to the desktop.

Meanwhile poor Windows has been, well, behind. A few manufacturers have tried to make touch pads for Windows but none has really worked. This sort of thing really needs to be made by the people who made the OS, to provide software which lets it do cool things.

And lo and behold: Microsoft has come through. The new Touch Mouse, due out in June, takes Windows multi-touch to a new level. Like the Magic Mouse, it lets you move a cursor around and click in the conventional way, but also to pinch, swipe and scroll using your fingers on the top.

As Gizmodo explains: 'One finger scrolls in any direction inside of a window. Swiping your thumb up and down acts like the back and forward buttons common on Windows mice. Two fingers to the left or right activates Aero Snap, pinning the selected window to the side; two fingers up or down minimizes or opens minimized windows. Three fingers—wait for it—activates a Mac OS X Expose-like view, showing all of your windows in a neat grid.'

That last one is a feature that isn't even part of Windows, but is enabled purely by the Mouse's software. The window controls are a feature the Touch Mouse has over Apple's equivalent; window management on Mac OS X is generally, well, rubbish.

The Touch Mouse won't be cheap when it debuts in June, $80, which will equate to about £50 here. And you'll need Windows 7 to take advantage. But it might be worth it just to see the looks on your Mac-owning friends' faces when you lock a window in place with the swipe of your fingers.

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