Apple’s First Mouse Was Inspired By Roll-On Deodorant

Innovation often comes from the most unexpected places — like roll-on deodorant. The early 1980s was a transformative era for personal computing. The market was teeming with potential, and Steve Jobs of Apple recognized the importance of a user-friendly interface. While visiting Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, Jobs was introduced to the concept of a graphical user interface and a device to navigate it — the mouse. Enchanted by its potential, Jobs sought to integrate this technology into Apple computers. However, the existing design was clunky, costly, and far from the elegant solution Apple desired. Jobs handed the task of redesigning the mouse to Dean Hovey, a co-founder of the design firm IDEO. The challenge was clear: create a more efficient, durable, and above all, affordable mouse for the masses. Hovey, in his endeavor to revolutionize the mouse’s design, found inspiration in an unlikely source: roll-on deodorant. By taking apart a roll-on deodorant stick, Hovey observed that the ball could roll smoothly in any direction. He realized this ball mechanism could be the solution to creating a mouse that was both precise and cost-effective. The Apple mouse, with its deodorant-inspired design, debuted in 1983 with the Apple Lisa computer, and a year later with the iconic Apple Macintosh. Its release marked a paradigm shift in human-computer interaction, paving the way for the mouse to become an essential accessory for personal computers worldwide.