Apple files for rotary mouse patent

It looks like the folks at Apple may be finally ready to ditch single-button hockey puck mice in favor of something a little more functional. The Mac Observer has the scoop on a recently filed patent application for a mouse with a rotary dial. The full patent application text can be found here.

According to the patent application, the rotary dial could facilitate both horizontal and vertical scrolling, and even act as a mouse button. Honestly, I have to say I'm intrigued. I've become completely dependent on mouse wheels for vertical scrolling, but being able to easily scroll horizontally would be great for big worksheets in Excel. I do, however, wonder just ergonomically sound a mouse-mounted rotary dial would be. The patent application's rotary dial replaces the mouse wheel, putting it at the user's fingertips. Would it be too crazy, or perhaps just too simple to just add a jog dial onto the side of a mouse near where one's thumb normally sits?

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