A few days ago we reported on a website that had posted information and pictures of Microsoft's next-generation Intellimouse devices, today such information is being confirmed on this story from PC World.
Microsoft, the inventor of the original mouse wheel, is taking it a step further, although I wouldn't expect the change (and usefulness) to be as dramatic as with vertical scrolling which is needed in ~80% of all window-based tasks.
Microsoft is reinventing the mouse wheel, adding "Tilt Wheel Technology" for horizontal scrolling and smoothing the vertical scroll motion.
The tilting wheel lets users scroll left and right as well as up and down without having to use the on-screen navigation bars. This can be handy when working on a large spreadsheet or trying to view an unwieldy Web site, Microsoft says in a description of its technology.
Now seriously, could you live without wheel scrolling? For me, it has become a need.