Touch screens finally ready for prime time?

Wednesday 10th of January, 2007 - 11:56 – Permalink

Remember Star Trek: The Next Generation? One of the more interesting things about TNG was the computer interfaces. No keyboards, just touch screens. Up until right about now really useful touch screen interfaces have been rather scarse. But it seems Apple has just changed that with the iPhone. Explore the flash demos, you'll see what I mean.

Now it's rather easy to get caught up in all the hype, but let's not be fanboys and asume that Apple came up with all this. The iPhone looks like a great product, hell I want one, but I'm pretty sure that Jeff Han's Multi-Touch Interaction Research has inspired Apple quite a bit.

OK, so what makes this so darn interesting anyway? I don't think I need to explain if you just watch this video of Jeff Han's research prototype in action.

Back to the iPhone. I want one, but its usefulness for me depends on a few local factors:

  • Does it work properly below freezing, screen included.
  • Does it work with glowes on?
  • What about extended latin alphabets?

If they can tackle those three issues it seems to be one hell of a device, otherwise it's darn cool but fiddly in the winter and awkward for text messaging. (I text in both Swedish, Finnish and English.)

I guess I'll have to wait and see, but mark my words: Touch screen interfaces are the future. Now if they'd only figure out how to add tactile feedback...