Sigh. I thought I finished writing about Apple, especially in terms of coming to its defense. I haven’t hidden my disdain for its software, hardware, or strategy choices over the last few years. Throughout that time, I’ve come to learn why Apple makes some of their odd choices: stupid-proofing. Call Apple a walled garden or a closed box; use whatever metaphor makes sense to you… but understand that Apple’s stupid-proofing is what makes them so popular. Stupid-proofing prevents 90% (or more) of their users from doing things that 10% (or fewer) of their users would never do. Apple is stupid-proofing Magic Mouse 2 by putting the charger port on the bottom. Let’s dive into current conversations and then I’ll address my point.
Stupid-Proofing Magic Mouse 2
Some people are calling Apple out for using the easy button with the Magic Mouse 2. The two device generations look very similar, and these detractors call that fact “lazy engineering.” They’re also surprised that Apple would inconvenience them. They think that Apple’s decision to put the lightning charger port on the bottom of the Magic Mouse 2 is stupid, but then they say something contradictory like this:
Apple’s entire design brand is based on paying attention to details…
That’s accurate. So why would these detractors assume that such an obsessive company would make such a thoughtless choice? Unfortunately for these critics, the answer lies in their inability to read Apple’s intent. Here’s a hint: it wasn’t thoughtless at all. Apple is stupid-proofing Magic Mouse 2 for more than 90% of their customer base.
Most people don’t know how to properly care for a battery-powered device. It’s not just Apple users, but Apple definitely wants their customers to avoid problems. They sacrificed a great design choice by stupid-proofing Magic Mouse 2 from a battery perspective. By putting the Lightning charger port on the bottom of the mouse, they’re forcing you to unplug the charger cable when you use the mouse — as they should be. Leaving a battery-powered device plugged in all the time is terrible for the battery. As I tweeted earlier: the best way to take care of your battery is to use it.
If Apple followed the critics’ advice, the charger would connect to the front of the mouse. That would allow you to use it like a normal, tethered mouse. That would also allow you to destroy the battery. If you decided to use it untethered after a year of tethering, how well do you think it would work? I’m willing to bet it would be a poor experience. Apple prevents that scenario by stupid-proofing Magic Mouse 2 with an awkward charger port.
Is having the charging port on the bottom inconvenient? I don’t think so. A two-minute charge gets you a full day of use. You also have ample warnings from the OS saying that the battery is going to die… and a percentage indicator… and a month-long battery life. If you can’t charge your mouse before it dies, Apple stupid-proofing Magic Mouse 2 won’t offer you any hope for the future. You may want to find a company that cares less about your happiness.
Battery History You Don’t Need to Read
But it’s a Lithium-ion battery; it doesn’t abide by the rules of old! Contradicting Marco Arment, I still say that leaving a battery-powered device plugged in all the time is terrible for the battery. In 2009, I wrote an outdated article about battery tips for TUAW (now on engadget). Marco wrote a rebuttal and shared a post from 2002 that says it should be okay to leave a Lithium-ion device plugged in all the time. Eventually, Marco updated his post saying, “You shouldn’t technically leave your laptop plugged in all the time.” We were both wrong about certain points, but we reluctantly agreed about this: don’t leave it plugged in all the time. If anyone still wants to contradict that point, I’d rather not listen. I had enough of that discussion in 2009.
Image via Engadget