Don't fear the touchscreen MacBook
Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:21 AM
I want a touch screen iMac, with the screen low, slanted, barely above the desktop as if it were a book on a lectern, with just enough space between the iMac and tabletop for my hands to reach a keyboard and mouse. I would happily navigate an iOSX interface with my fingers for most purposes while using the mouse & keyboard for precise pointing or text input.
That device—a touchscreen on an iMac already exists: Cintiq. Unfortunately it requires a pen which isn’t well-integrated into the OS. And it costs.
Attend the next Photoshop World. Visit Wacom’s exhibition. Test drive. Wish it were an iMac instead of touch screen. Apple, pay attention.
Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:02 AM
You want to set some nifty touch gestures to handle things Apple hadn't thought of? Like the notification example? Then installa Jitouch and really start to use that uber multitouch trackpad Apple bundles with his laptops (or the Magic Trackpad for the desktops).
You can configure so many gestures to do practically everything with your trackpad.
Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:13 AM
A touch screen on any Mac would be a welcome addition. I find myself even wanting to touch my iMac at times. As a supplemental interface, touch would add a new and welcome layer of functionality. I can already see some apps to come that would thrive with touch.
Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:27 AM
I wanted to add Windows 8 and Parallels to my MacBook Pro UNTIL I found out that Windows 8 requires a touch-screen display. Oh well ...
Hopefully Tim Cook and Jonny Ive do not have these same kinds of unrealistic and silly prejudices ...
Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:28 AM
The problem is that OS X, like Windows, uses the positively archaic WIMP template. That "desktop" metaphor simply isn't suited to touch input. Apple are doing their best to make it work by placing the trackpad, not the mouse, front and centre, but this is only a halfway house.
It gets worse: the current iOS GUI also doesn't scale *up* to larger, more powerful, computers. We can get a rough idea of how it would look by opening the "Launchpad" app on a Mac: that grid of icons just looks silly on larger screens. In light of this, it's easier to understand why Microsoft ended up taking a hybrid approach for Windows 8 (although the fact that they need to give users time to transition away from the older WIMP-based apps also played a major role).
But there *is* a GUI design approach that *could* be the "killer app" for multi-touch on a large computer: The "Zoomable Interface", designed and prototyped by Jef Raskin and his team. I don't think it would scale down to devices as small as an iPhone, but for iPads and anything bigger, there's a hell of a lot of potential.
iOS already has some nods in that direction, but it could go so much further. Instead of a grid of 'dumb' icons, each would be a 'live' image of that application. If the application hasn't been opened yet, you'd just see its ident icon (much as we do now), but if it has been opened and a document is being edited, you can just zoom in to view the document you're working on.
Another problem is the filesystem: the ageing hierarchical folder tree concept hasn't been fit for purpose in years, but replacing it is tricky. I suspect Apple's next generation OS will likely include some form of database-driven filesystem. This would also be a much better fit for tablets and smartphones, where navigating complex trees of folders and subfolders would be a pain. Various fields and tags could be used instead, so a single file could appear in multiple locations. (This makes the iOS "silo" approach easier to understand: you don't want users copying files around from one app to another as that wastes space. But you also don't want to have to fall back on kludges like aliases instead. Tags would let you 'see' the same file in multiple locations, instead of forcing you to pick one – and only one – folder for it. This is a much more efficient use of storage space and means apps can present documents to you using whatever UI makes the most sense in context.)
(If all this seems far-fetched, consider that Microsoft were originally going to add such a filesystem, known as "WinFS", to what became Windows Vista. Most of WinFS has ended up in MS' SQL Server product instead, but IBM's DB2 technology already provides a database-driven filesystem for IBM's own computers. So it this isn't even a new concept.)
But OS X and its WIMP foundations aren't going to disappear quietly into the night without a fight. It takes time for a major interface transition to complete, so OS X will be around for a few iterations yet.
We'll have to wait before multi-touch screens finally make sense on a 27" iMac. They may release some computers with multi-touch support before then, if only to address the "kiosk" market, but I don't think we'll see a major push until "OS XI" is ready.
Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:25 AM
Who said that? When? Where?
There is no touch screen requirement. Period.
MS wouldn't shoot themselves in the foot like that by limiting sales to touch screen computers. You can buy dozens of systems that are Win8 without touch screen. You can upgrade any capable computer to Win8 - not that I personally recommend it, far from regardless of the screen.
Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:31 AM
Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:40 AM
Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:55 AM
i bought a blue tooth keyboard for the ipad and used it for awhile but gave up on it. what did i hate? typing then up and touch then typing then up and touch.
if i had to copy and paste using touch on my macbook i'd go nuts.
Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:38 AM
Joking apart, I'd like to remark a fact that perplexes me: when the Mac was first introduced, its UI was coherent and, for the time being, [almost] complete. The same happened with the introduction of the iPhone, the first iOS-powered device. What we see now in the Mac OS X development is a gradual change with new touch-oriented features that are being inserted while old, well established ways of interaction are gradually put away. I really don't know whether this gradual shift might be considered better than an abrupt change to a new UI paradigm, but it seems clear that Apple, at least now, is not poised for such a revolution (maybe because they fear a disruption of the established customer base, maybe they simply don't have a new complete and coherent paradigm to embrace).