iPhone, touch screens and the future of the PC

31 Jan 2008|Leigh Marinner

There is a lot of hype suddenly about touch screens, as a result of the launch of the Apple iPhone. But touch screens have been around for a long time – pressing digital buttons on an information kiosk is nothing new. What really changes the consumer experience is being able to use natural gestures to interact with a computer or mobile device. Although they may sound similar, there is a big difference between the HP TouchSmart PC which allows you to touch a photo and drag it across the screen, and the Microsoft Surface. On the Surface you can gesture through pages of text or graphics, draw on the screen, or turn photos around with your finger. In a similar way, you can change the size of your photo on an iPhone or Surface by moving your fingers apart, a natural movement.

The Tablet PC never really took off, despite the wonderful ability to be able to write or draw on the screen and capture the data. I think the reason is more due to the fact that the laptops were too hot to rest comfortably on your lap, the file sizes were huge, and handwriting wasn’t convertible into editable text, rather than a lack of consumer interest in its functionality.

Whether the Microsoft Surface succeeds as a stand-alone product, I think we will see its functionality incorporated into PCs of the future. It’s far more natural to gesture on a screen than to use a mouse or click pad.

prev next