Multi-Touch Coming to a Mac Near You?
A recent article on Ars Technia has a snippet of information that got me wondering, will Leopard feature multi-touch technology capability or, more to the point, will Apple be releasing some form of hardware this year with multi-touch technology built right in?
The article states as a rumour the following:
“There will be no Logic 8. The successor to Logic 7 will have a new name. The unnamed application will be 10.5 only and will work with a new line of touch sensitive Apple displays.”
Now, while that is currently out of context to the rest of the article, the information we all really care about is staring us in the face, “…and will work with a new line of touch sensitive Apple displays.”
As we all know, multi-touch is the Apple patented technology being used on the iPhone. It’s apparently a bit better than the standard touch-screen stuff we’re all used to, especially since it ignores accidental touches of the screen with stray fingers. So if Apple has patented this technology on its iPhone, is it so hard to believe that Apple will be introducing either a multi-touch enabled Mac or display in the very near future to work with OS X Leopard?
There is a possibility that a Mac could feature multi-touch, especially as direct competition with HP’s latest beast of a computer, the HP TouchSmart PC, something I wrote about last December when it was then known as the HP CrossFire. The HP machine, which runs Windows Vista, will feature touch-screen technology aiming to draw in home users—a few demos I’ve seen show people flicking through photos on the screen with their fingers, which is all very sci-fi like to me.
While some people are calling this machine, you guessed it, the iMac killer, I certainly do not think it will be, and that’s got nothing to do with my love of the shiny white computer created by the fruity technology giant. For home users, touch screen technology seems a little too much like a novelty to me. How tiring is it going to get to drag your fingers across a 19” screen for over an hour and a half while trying to arrange photos from your friend’s recent wedding in Corfu? I’m not suggesting that computer users are lazy, but shoulder muscles will be aching after a while and I have no doubt users will resort back to their trusted lazy-boy keyboard and mouse to operate the system.
So maybe Apple won’t be introducing a multi-touch Mac, maybe they’ll stick to displays instead and aim their sexy technology at business folk and professionals.
While working at PC World, I remember the whole till system being transformed from a safe and trusted textual based system to a rather questionable touch-screen system. When it worked it was great, but it didn’t always work, which forced us poor Customer Service folks to write everything down by hand (I hear some old-timers shouting “back in my day” at this point). But after months and months of maintenance it began to work correctly. The main fault behind all this, though, was probably due to it running on Windows XP—I cannot tell you how many times it crashed with a typical XP-style error popping up in my face.
My point is that when the touch-screen system worked, it was fast and it got the job done with minimal effort, so perhaps all retail stores will be upgrading to touch-screen displays sometime in the near future—suddenly a new market has opened up for Apple. Provided they can keep their hardware prices down to somewhere near attractive for companies such as Walmart, I could see OS X Leopard and a new Mac display (or to contradict myself at this point, a new business-only Mac) selling really well amongst retail outlets across the world.
Apple has recently announced a special event to take place at NAB 2007, but this will probably be pro tools related, such as Final Cut Studio and Soundtrack Pro announcements, so it seems more likely that all the major announcements for Leopard and any possible touch-screen displays will feature at WWDC 2007, which was pushed forward two months to this June. Only time will tell now, but I dare say this rumour will be amongst one of the most talked-about until that day arrives.