Why People Couldn't Stand Apple's Hockey Puck Mouse

Given Apple's current reputation as one of the world's most sought after and admired tech brands, it's hard for many to believe the company has had more than a handful of design controversies. While some of these mistakes were products simply too ahead of their time, there were some other objectively bad designs like the first-gen Apple Pencil's Lightning charger that shouldn't have gone past the initial design phase – let alone transform into a prototype and end up in the palms of a consumer (quite literally, in this case).

If you pick any random Apple fanboy from the late '90s and ask them about the worst Apple product they've used, there's a good chance you'll hear the term "Hockey Puck." A lot. As it turns out, Apple's tryst with poorly designed pointing devices (also called the mouse) started long before the days of the Magic Mouse and its infamous bottom-facing charging port.

In fact, the Hockey Puck mouse — which first arrived on the scene in 1998 — regularly tops the list of the worst Apple products ever made. What really ailed the Hockey Puck mouse and why it is the recipient of such ire, even from die-hard Apple fans?

It had a terrible design

The Hockey Puck mouse spectacularly failed to do the one thing it was designed for: be an accurate pointing device. The shape of the product was unergonomic and unsuitable for comfortable use (via The Mac Observer). The round shape also meant people had a difficult time orienting the mouse correctly while using it.

If this wasn't enough, the Hockey Puck's build quality was generally thought to be bad. The overall consensus was that this product, in general, was a terrible mouse (via Gizmodo). It seemed to some consumers that Apple prioritized the mouse's appearance over everything else.

In hindsight, the mouse looked like a matching accessory to the iMac G3 — the original "Bondi Blue" iMac from 1998. But then, as a pointing device, it had a lot more to do than just look the part. As expected, the mouse was panned by reviewers at the time, and people who bought the mouse opted to look for other compatible mice that could replace the Hockey Puck mouse.

However, the Hockey Puck mouse did have a first to its credit. It was the first-ever Apple mouse to use the USB connectivity standard, which is commonplace today.

Apple quickly moved on

Given the amount of bad press it received at the time, it wasn't surprising to see Apple gave up on the mouse during its next product cycle in 2002 when it released the iMac G4 and the Apple Pro Mouse. The new pointing device, although not perfect, did not suffer from the same design pitfalls as the Hockey Puck mouse and was generally well-received.

Interestingly, the Hockey Puck was not the last instance of Apple messing up a mouse design. Over a decade later, in 2015, Apple released its infamous Magic Mouse 2, which, believe it or not, had a bottom-facing charging port. Most modern Apple users will point to this product as one of Apple's most poorly designed modern products. Old-timers and legacy Apple fanboys will have a strong opinion on how the Magic Mouse could not hold a candle to the Hockey Puck mouse, though, at least as far as bad design goes.