Follow the Chat at #LWF12

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It Seemed like an Obvious Question

It seemed like an obvious question………..

A friend asked me a question yesterday. It was an obvious one, but one for which, if you think about it, there is an obvious question. As I’d been asked it before, I thought I’d add it here - for general reference.

Why are there lists of “Touch Screen” PCs around, but no “Touch Screen” Macs? I does seem strange as Apple has the iPod Touch, the iPhone and the iPad - and has done more to popularise the touch method of input via gestures then any other manufacturer.

Good question

There is a problem with “Touch Screens” on desktop screens  Steve Jobs said that touchscreen was not a good technology for Desktop Computers.  His point was that the way a screen is oriented makes a big difference. It is fine to have the capability for some control, but the distance a screen is from the user is a big factor.

It is very different if the screen is, like an iPad, almost horizontal, or slightly elevated.

As a result, it is very difficult to type on a desktop style touch screen - try it.  You still need a keyboard.

Add to this the fact that the iMac is designed to be even further away, for viewing movies etc.....and you'd need a finger on a pole to operate it.

I still think desktop touch screens are - from a design standpoint, less valid.  They are great for point of sale, kiosks etc, because they require little typing/simpler interaction.

That and the idea of smeary fingerprints all over my 27" iMac doesn't appeal at all.

In 2011 - could be 2010 I went to see a very senior (Director) who had a problem with her "keyboard" she said.  No one could work out what was going on, so as it was next to the Chief Executive’s Office, as usual I was the one to go.  I thought she was using a laptop, and was indeed right. Anyway, to cut a long story short she had a laptop on a stand which presented the computer to her almost completely opened up so that the screen was a eye level.  Great.  The Laptop keyboard also faced her at a steep angle:

Something like this.....


There was only one thing missing - an extra keyboard that was horizontal.  She had been using this set-up for 6 months - a little like you would use a touch screen....  but ended up with severe arm pain.

No wonder.

It broke every rule on Health and Safety and comfort. can you imagine enduring the use of a keyboard like that?