Kiss the Hockey Puck Good-bye

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Say good-bye to the roly-poly mouse. RSI sufferers, rejoice. Today, Apple announced two new products guaranteed to change the tactile interactions between man and machine: the Apple Pro Keyboard and Apple Pro Mouse. The two peripherals will ship in September.

The Apple Pro Keyboard sports a number of new features: full-size function keys, audio controls, navigation keys, and a number pad. This is an improvement over current keyboards, which relegate the arrow keys and functions to tiny areas at the top and bottom of the keyboards. The separate number pad eases automatic calculations for people who are used to reaching over and typing numbers without looking.

The keyboard also sports a media-eject key, thus letting users eject CDs and DVDs without having to drop and drag desktop icons.

Much to the relief of RSI sufferers everywhere, the Apple Pro mouse now features a more ergonomic shape. Apple trumpets the mouse as "uniquely designed to fit any hand." The mouse features a totally tactile surface. In other words, instead of clicking on one small area on the mouse -- and risking repetitive injury -- Apple Pro Mice users will be able to click any area of the mouse. The mouse also has optical tracking sensors.

On the plus side, users can roll the mouse on any surface without fear of the mouse skipping or stopping. But progress comes with a price: the market for goofy mousepads and "how-to-clean-mouse-balls" spam will shrink dramatically.

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