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Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops 526

Posted by timothy
from the too-soon? dept.
theodp writes "Don't believe everything Steve Jobs and Tim Cook tell you, advises The Verge's Sean Hollister. Gunshy of touchscreen laptops after hearing the two Apple CEOs dismiss the technology (Jobs: 'Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical.' Cook: 'You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not gonna be pleasing to the user.'), Hollister was surprised to discover that Windows 8 touchscreen laptops actually don't suck and that the dreaded 'Gorilla Arm Syndrome' did not materialize. 'The more I've used Windows 8, despite its faults, the more I've become convinced that touchscreens are the future — even vertical ones,' writes Hollister. 'We've been looking at this all wrong. A touchscreen isn't a replacement for a keyboard or mouse, it's a complement.' Echoing a prediction from Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood that 'it is only a matter of time before all laptops must be touch laptops,' Hollister wouldn't be surprised at all if Apple eventually embraces-and-extends the tech: 'Microsoft might have validated the idea, but now Apple has another chance to swoop in, perfecting and popularizing the very interface that it strategically ridiculed just two years ago. It wouldn't be the first time. After all, how many iPad minis come with sandpaper for filing fingers down?'"
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Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops

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  • It's very possible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:18PM (#42158725) Journal
    It's very possible that the reason we think touchscreen laptops are a bad idea has nothing to do with Steve Jobs or Apple.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:29PM (#42158789)

      It's very possible it has more to do with cheetos

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:36PM (#42158827) Journal

      It's also very possible that the Asus Transformer range showed that a good touchscreen tablet/laptop combo is a useful bit of gear well before "Microsoft might have validated the idea".

      What's the obsession with pretending Apple and Microsoft are the only computer vendors on Slashdot? Most of the stuff they do has been done before and better by more interesting companies.

      Let's face facts, W8 is tanking because it's dull and irritating. Why keep talking it up here?

      • by linuxtelephony (141049) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:15PM (#42159033) Homepage

        Anyone remember the Vadem Clio/Sharp TriPad? I do. For all it's clunkiness, if it wouldn't had such a problem with audio quality that would have been my first "tablet" (back in 2000 or 2001). [Oblig. wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadem_Clio [wikipedia.org] ] The whine during media playback killed it for me, and I wasn't willing to settle for the price so I ended up returning it. Other than that, and WinCE, it was a very useful device.

        I have had the ASuS TF101 plus keyboard now for about a year and I still like it, even if my daughter has taken it over. Plus how many people run the iPad in landscape/vertical using a special case as a stand? I know I do. I can touch type pretty quick on it too (though I prefer it more of a slant then strictly vertical, probably about 60 degrees up from the table). And don't forget about the Lenovo S10-3t convertible? It was the first "laptop" with a touch screen that I've used, and even though the 1024x600 display kills the usability IMO, I still have a hard time putting it up on eBay because I find the touch screen form factor useful in a pinch.

        The bottom line is the touch screen laptop is a very usable configuration and I'm surprised it's taken this long to see more of them. I think an almost perfect machine would be something like a macbook air (either 11 or 13 inch), with a quad core i7 (or comparable), 16 gb of RAM, an iPad 3 retina display w/touch for the display, a detachable keyboard (ala Transformer) or possibly rotating keyboard (Vadem Clio, Lenovo Yoga). It should also have 5+ hours of battery life and not get uncomfortably hot. I don't ask for much. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mysidia (191772)

        What's the obsession with pretending Apple and Microsoft are the only computer vendors on Slashdot?

        Microsoft is a software company, not a computer vendor.

        They have a similar advantage that Google has over Apple. Their OS supports multiple different kinds of hardware, so the end user has more flexibility; it doesn't matter to them which computer vendor sells you the solution, and the Android transformer is a boon to Google's platform.

        With Apple, you can only have hardware that Apple has specifically de

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:46PM (#42159187)

        It's also very possible that the Asus Transformer range showed that a good touchscreen tablet/laptop combo is a useful bit of gear well before "Microsoft might have validated the idea".

        It's because I own a Transformer that I know touchscreen laptops suck.

      • I have a TF300 that I run standard Linux on (Arch and XFCE). It's actually fantastic to have a touchscreen for some interactions, and the ability to make custom gestures is surprisingly useful. It's gotten to the point that whenever I use a normal laptop I accidentally try to touch the screen for scrolling, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:42PM (#42158869)

      For years I have been telling people, DON'T TOUCH MY SCREEN, and now with Windows 8, people are going to start touching my screen. The Windows 8 UI on the a laptop is a confusing trainwreck. The Windows 8 UI is pretty good on a phone. I hope MS gets a strategy together soon and is able to attract some developers to write some native Windows 8 apps instead of iOS ports. But I digress. MS can spin this however they want, but don't you dare get fingerprints on my screen, oh and stay off my lawn.

    • It's very possible that the reason we think touchscreen laptops are a bad idea has nothing to do with Steve Jobs or Apple.

      I didn't know anyone actually thought they'd be a bad idea, I've wanted one for years. Too bad I don't have the cash to go get one at the moment...

      • I don't know why people think touchscreen laptops are a bad idea, but we've had touchscreens for at least two decades in use commercially, and they've never managed to make it past niche markets. It's not because people haven't tried.
    • by sqrt(2) (786011)

      And I don't think he was wrong anyway. He wasn't wrong about them sucking, he was wrong about people being willing to put up with them.

    • It was neither Steve Jobs nor Apple that discovered the problem with a vertical touch interface, but Ivan Sutherland that discovered in 1963 that a vertical touchscreen was a terrible idea [youtube.com].

      ...because the blood runs out of your hand in about 20 seconds and leaves it numb...

      Suffice to say, Apple will not be releasing a touchscreen laptop.

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dinfinity (2300094) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:18PM (#42158729)

    " I'm not going to touch-type 70 words per minute on a touchscreen keyboard. But when I'm in the cramped quarters of a train, plane, or standing in a line — say, when the only thing standing between a critical email and its recipient is a few dozen words and a tap of the button marked "Send" — I can grab that Windows 8 laptop by its hinged section, one hand on either side of the screen, and tap out that message with my thumbs."

    You have to be kidding me. That is the most ridiculous way to type anything on a laptop. Ever.

    • Indeed. Think about it -> even in economy class on planes, you have more than enough room for a regular laptop.

      I can, however, think of one place where a tablet would work better than a laptop, and that's on a peak SEPTA train. Of course, that's also the kind of train where you probably wouldn't want to take out the tablet, for fear of someone spotting an easy mark.

      • I don't know what kind of planes you've been on, but the ones I've been on, to angle the screen properly, you have to have the laptop half off of the front end of the tray table.
      • The economy flights that I've been on barely have enough room to fit the laptop (with screen closed) on the tray. There is ZERO room to open up the screen and tilt it back far enough to read comfortably (at least not with my 14" one....maybe with a smaller screen it might be possible).

    • I'm confused about this whole article at some level. I love my Transformer Prime (Android tablet with docking keyboard) but when I'm using it in a primarily touch-based fashion, I disconnect the keyboard because its in the way.

    • Not exactly a compelling use case, indeed.

      On the other hand, while typing I've noticed it's often faster to quickly jab buttons or perform gestures on the screen than to reach down and use a trackpad.

      I agree that most screens will be touch screens...eventually. In the same way that most televisions will be 3D...eventually. It's still primarily a gimmick at this point, but it has some use. As the price goes down and the practical downsides are slowly engineered away, it will become a standard feature and app

      • Not exactly a compelling use case, indeed.

        On the other hand, while typing I've noticed it's often faster to quickly jab buttons or perform gestures on the screen than to reach down and use a trackpad.

        I agree that most screens will be touch screens...eventually. In the same way that most televisions will be 3D...eventually. It's still primarily a gimmick at this point, but it has some use. As the price goes down and the practical downsides are slowly engineered away, it will become a standard feature and applications will evolve to better use it.

        (p.s. I don't own a touch screen laptop, but I do have an iPad with keyboard which works the same way...and, ironically, predates modern touch screen laptops.)

        I think my aversion to the idea is the fact that currently most software makers are demonstrating that they have no sense of moderation when it comes to touchscreens. Almost simultaneously the Ubuntu and Gnome people, Microsoft - hell, everybody - decided that touch must be everywhere! and started running roughshed over their interfaces to force it into every nook and cranny, no matter inappropriate.

        So I'm not really expecting the user experience to improve when this happens - instead I'm expecting to find

  • Jobs (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:23PM (#42158743)

    "Don't believe everything Steve Jobs and Tim Cook tell you, advises The Verge's Sean Hollister.

    Interviewer: "Hey Steve, what do you think about Touchscreen laptops?"
    Steve:
    Interviewer: "That's amazing Steve. How long do you think before they go on sale?"
    Steve:
    Interviewer: "Steve, a lot of people seem to think you're wrong. Care to comment?"
    Steve:
    Interviewer: "Well, that's it for today! Tune in again tomorrow when we ask Abraham Lincoln what he thought about the play he went to!"

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:23PM (#42158745)

    Touchscreens have been around for decades. If pointing your arm at a vertical surface was such a hot idea for 8 hours a day, why have we not seen touchscreens being used everywhere for the last 30 years? NEC had an excellent touchscreen in the mid 80s. This isn't new technology and writing articles presenting it as new tech doesn't make it new.

    Gorilla arm exists. Fatigue exists. Keyboards and other stuff are better input devices than touchscreens and probably always will be, except for the times you *can't* have a keyboard or mouse/tablet/trackball/etc., like a factory floor, restaurant, bar, hospital cart in sugery, etc, where dirt, grime, bodily fluids are a threat to operation, or where ease of portability trumps having a better input device, like tablets or phones (styluses are passe).

    If touch was so superior for every day use, we'd already be using it.

    --
    BMO

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Z80xxc! (1111479) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:35PM (#42158815)
      This is slashdot, so I can forgive you for not reading the article, but for your convenience I'll provide the relevant excerpt here:

      When Steve Jobs decried touchscreen laptops in 2010, he was merely relaying the common wisdom of decades of user experience research into "gorilla arm syndrome." Simply put, it's the idea that if you hold out your arm in front of a touchscreen for an extended period of time, it's not going to be particularly comfortable. However, that assumes an awful lot — what if you're not holding your arms out in space waiting to touch things, but resting them comfortably on a keyboard?

      We've been looking at this all wrong. A touchscreen isn't a replacement for a keyboard or mouse, it's a complement. If I want to type things on my laptop and have enough room to comfortably open that clamshell and stretch out my arms, the keyboard's still my best bet. I'm not going to touch-type 70 words per minute on a touchscreen keyboard. But when I'm in the cramped quarters of a train, plane, or standing in a line — say, when the only thing standing between a critical email and its recipient is a few dozen words and a tap of the button marked "Send" — I can grab that Windows 8 laptop by its hinged section, one hand on either side of the screen, and tap out that message with my thumbs.

      You're issuing a false dilemma by saying that it's all touch or all keyboard/mouse. It can be both, and that's the point of the article. Keyboards are usually better for typing, but using a mouse isn't always easier for pointing, and sometimes using a keyboard isn't convenient. Having touch, mouse, and keyboard all available makes sense, because you can use whichever is best for the situation you're in.

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bmo (77928) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:44PM (#42158887)

        Where did I introduce the false dichotomy?

        I didn't say that touch is bad. I said it has its place. We could have been using touch in conjunction with keyboards, mice, and other input devices on office desktops for 30 years or more (Touchscreens actually go back a decade or so before that, and light pens even before that), but we haven't. There was no explosion of touch and light pens on the desktop. And as soon as the mouse showed up in large numbers, light pens pretty much disappeared, with LCD display technology putting the final nail in the light-pen coffin.

        Because people actually dislike having to poke at a vertical surface all stupid day.

        As the guy up in the thread there said, it's not because of Apple and Jobs that we hate touch on vertical surfaces, the hate goes back *much* farther than that.

        --
        BMO

        • We could have been using touch in conjunction with keyboards, mice, and other input devices on office desktops for 30 years or more (Touchscreens actually go back a decade or so before that, and light pens even before that), but we haven't.

          I think there are many reasons for this... foremost, interface design was focused around adoption of the mouse, which was also met with much criticism when it was introduced in a world of keyboard-centric software. But also, most touchscreens were not as accurate as they are today, and the ones that were as accurate were prohibitively expensive. It wasn't until the 2000s that we got really good mass-market capacitive multi touch displays.

          Because people actually dislike having to poke at a vertical surface all stupid day.

          You're still not getting it. It's not poking at the screen all day: it

          • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by bmo (77928) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @12:09AM (#42159309)

            > which was also met with much criticism when it was introduced in a world of keyboard-centric software.

            You know, I lived through that era and the era before that (the one where there were no microcomputers) and i knew of nobody who criticized the mouse.

            I *did* know a lot of people who criticized the Macintosh for lacking a command line altogether, though, and the Lisa for being the expensive and slow machine it was, with rectangular pixels and the really weird floppies. I think you're confusing things. (Yes, the Lisa was slow. We had a later one in an office with the 3.5 inch floppies that ran our COGO program. You started it up and went to go make coffee. When you had coffee all set up, the machine was booted).

            > It's not poking at the screen all day: it's poking at the screen where it makes sense and where/when touch is more convenient.

            I am not some kid who has only known one kind of computer type through my life. My first experience with a computer was sitting at a paper TTY at the University of RI playing with my dad's homework running on the IBM 370. I have seen computers large and small and input methods from card stacks to the most frou-frou GUI that the industry has seen. I have farted around with 8 since the Dev Preview, within hours of its release. It's *not* convenient to be reaching up to touch the screen when you're sitting at a desk. It simply isn't. It's klunky.

            As the size and distance of the screen and verticality increases, the klunkier it becomes. Orientation means something. Back before the days of CAD, drawing boards were canted at around 20-45 degrees. Nobody draws on a vertical surface. Touching a vertical surface to make sweeping gestures (akin to drawing) is a pain in the ass. Imagine an E size screen, vertically in front of you (because displays have been getting larger over time, not smaller) and you're required to touch the upper right or upper left or top part of the screen as 8 requires you to do so in metro mode.

            Don't BS me.

            Touch has its place. Trying to shoehorn it onto the desktop and laptop is one of the most misguided things I've ever seen, and then to call people who have tried it and criticize it based on their direct experience as "uninformed" at the very least, well, I have not enough middle fingers.

            --
            BMO

    • Well, it's easy to understand why touch surfaces are now the hotness -> the people promoting them need something, anything to entice customers to buy their latest product; and the people promoting them are not the kinds of people who need to use them for long periods of time to create content.

    • by donweel (304991)

      I don't remember NEC but Hewlett Packard had an IBM compatible that had a touchscreen monitor. I believe was around 1980, it used infra red beam grid. It did not sell. Lets face it taking your hand off the keyboard is non productive. At least the mouse is a shorter distance for your hand. If you are a power user you are going to use a bunch of shell scripts with short names and keyboard macros.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Complaints about gorilla arm with touch screens come from the same type of people who complain that their wrist gets tired trying to click out a report by using their mouse to click on a virtual keyboard.
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:53PM (#42159219)

      The Plato "learning system" that was around at Illinois and other schools in the 70's/80's was touch screen with keyboard, and if you had to do more than an hour with it, it was tiring. Fine for one class' lab, but awful if you had to spend an entire night on it. Of course today's touch screens and UI designs are probably better, but there are thousands of people who got to experience gorilla arm in a production environment, many of whom went on to careers in silicon valley, and oddly the industry didn't jump on touch technology when that generation took over.

  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:24PM (#42158751) Homepage
    Microsoft never ceases to amaze me at their skill in manipulating the press, reviewers of tech, and a certain group of power users into pushing all of this crap down our throats. I take the word of the Independent Software Vendors that have chastised Windows 8 time and time again better than a bunch of pundits working for a bunch of sell-out bloggers and news agencies. Microsoft is a dying empire, with Windows 2000/Office 2000 being it's peak. Ever since then it's been down hill with the occasional plateau. I'm just waiting for someone else to come in and do better. Right now if you're looking to build a whitebox machine and load it up with the latest and greatest, you're going to be full of disappointment.
    • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:50PM (#42158915) Homepage

      MS was doing fine with Windows 7, but their fear is now controlling them. They saw Apple create a new market, one which should have been MS's; would have been, had they only refined the technology. Now they're freaking out, because Ballmer thinks he is having a B. Gates moment -> that moment when Gates realized his company was going to be side-swiped by the internet, and needed to change their strategy to survive; he is not, he is actually having a Marketing moment, similar to a mid-life crisis, when you are worried that because you are not considered the industry darling, you must be doing something wrong, so you start doing something, anything, to get some attention to validate your self-worth. It's the same thing that movie stars / record artists go through after they hit their 'peak'; they may still be on top, but since they measure themselves by relative or dynamic amounts (delta), as opposed to absolute amounts, a lack of change seems like they are failing.

      If MS wants a new technology to pioneer, let them pair up with John Romero (or whoever it is) that is working on a new virtual glove interface. That's something that Apple hasn't touched yet, and something which even I am interested in. Tactile (smart metal, using a grid in the palm) feedback gloves, using a Bluetooth connection in each glove, to send and receive 3D information, with a mini-USB cable for charging. Like John, I am disturbed at the lack of progress in this realm, and have been considering building a prototype (I have been designing one) since the price for the components has dropped. This is where MS should be looking, especially since one of ID's people is looking into it. Of course, the question will be, if they do pioneer it, can they make a glove that 1.) works well, 2.) is easy to program for, 3.) integrates into Windows / Office, and 4.) is aesthetically pleasing to look at (the Hipster factor / Apple factor). Or will they wait for Apple to adopt it first, before considering it?

      • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:11PM (#42159015)

        It's the same thing that movie stars / record artists go through after they hit their 'peak'; they may still be on top, but since they measure themselves by relative or dynamic amounts (delta), as opposed to absolute amounts, a lack of change seems like they are failing.

        Clearly Ballmer's next step should be to hire some storyboard consultants and videographers, and leak a sex tape.

        It will probably look better than Windows 8.

    • by Keen Anthony (762006) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:23PM (#42159077)

      I feel this has less to do with Microsoft and more to do with The Verge. Reading the article again, it spends as much time talking about Apple as it does talking about Windows 8 not sucking. Hollister makes a point to mention that Apple did not invent the first MP3 player or the first touchscreen smartphone, or the first graphical user interface, or the first solid state drive in a laptop. As an Apple fan myself, my gut instinct it to just dismiss the statement as typical of Apple haters that sell the fictitious storyline that Apple and Apple's fans claim invention above all else as opposed to taking existing things that aren't being used right and then making them work seamlessly. Then, Hollister immediately follows by pointing out that Apple likes to wait for a technology to mature, then "swoop" in and perfect then popularize it. Putting aside the fact that I've never seen mature MP3 players, GUIs, or touchscreen smartphones prior to Apple getting involved, the writing is designed to generate talk which, in turn, generates clicks.

      The article is garbage. It's premise about touchpad laptops not sucking despite what Steve Jobs said isn't even accurate in context. Touch screens have existed for years. Anyone working at a steakhouse now could have pointed that out. Jobs' problem with touchpad laptops in 2010 was that 2010 era laptops were loud, hot, and big. Hand-writing recognition sucked. Jobs was correct. All those Windows powered touch screen laptops did suck, and they didn't want to be used vertically. Almost three years later, things have changed. We have Surface, Transformer, and ultrabook laptops, and higher pixel density screens. So no, NOT surprisingly touch screen laptops don't suck. That said, about the only use I have for a touch screen ultrabook type laptop is by my beside as a kind of info kiosk and Skype interface for when I'm on the road. Anywhere else where I want a laptop, I can use a real laptop with far better performance.

      Hollister should have concluded with it a GOTO 10 statement. And as one person above already put it: cheetos. Cheetos are a reason touch screens suck and I don't want them on my laptops. As it is now, I'm constantly polishing my phone and iPad.

      I wouldn't count out Microsoft yet. Surface and Windows Phone 8 are exciting. So Microsoft has to settle for being third in the mobile space for a while, so what? There's still Windows and Xbox. The people who use those products either love them or are in some way forced to use them.

      • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @02:47AM (#42159843)

        Putting aside the fact that I've never seen mature MP3 players

        There were plenty. You are confusing the software on the personal computer that is used to put tracks on the mp3 player with the device. What made the iPod look "mature" was a 2nd or 3rd version of iTunes with Gracenote on a Mac putting tracks on the iPod. By then the device was solid state (just like some before the iPod) and USB (just like every other mp3 player before the iPod), so was starting to look as good as it's competitors on it's own merits, but it was really iTunes on a Mac that made it a mass market device.
        I'll reserve comment on iTunes for MS Windows, I don't want to use so many four letter words that I'll have none left over for special occassions.

    • Basically this.
      Microsoft is a company thats history consists of unethical backstabbing, lack of polish and vaporware. Remember that dual tablet thingy that could have been awesome that disappered into thin air? Some of us sure do. All those amazing Tablets that more or less died because the interface for touch was awful? What sorts of devices that ran Windows CE? The default settings for Windows, and especially Windows update? Netscape? Vista and the OpenGL controversy? AppLocale still being a solution to a

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      I'm just waiting for someone else to come in and do better. Right now if you're looking to build a whitebox machine and load it up with the latest and greatest, you're going to be full of disappointment.

      I dunno, I installed Windows 8 on my desktop computer, and I was pleasantly surprised.

      Mind you, this is because my expectations for Windows 8 were so low that the fact that it isn't a complete disaster is pleasantly surprising. I mean, it only took two installs before trying to open "all apps" on the Start screen didn't crash everything. (Well, the second install was a "refresh," which is basically a complete reinstall under a different name.) And I only rarely have to log out and back in again to get thing

  • Color me skeptical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:26PM (#42158769) Homepage

    I don't even see the mouse as complementing the keyboard. The lack of accelerator keys on web sites/browsers is frustrating, the inability to alt-tab out of the various VMs and VNCs is frustrating. Touch is going in the wrong direction.

    Here's the direction computers should be going in: Intelligent User Interfaces. Computers should guess the next noun/object or verb/action and list them in descending likelihood -- kind of like IntelliSense. Quick keyboard commands 1-9 or first-letter/auto-complete select out of the prioritized list. We're so far away from that that file selector dialogs don't even default -- let alone remember to! -- sort reverse chronological. (Nor do they remember last directory, cross-application)

    OK, mouse is good for panning 2D (Google Maps), and zooming and sliders. Maybe there's something touch is better at than both mouse and keyboard, but I don't know what that might be.

    First priority is to fix keyboard UI.

  • by Z80xxc! (1111479) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:28PM (#42158781)

    Do or do not. There is no try.

    Until you've actually used a touch/laptop hybrid device, don't go knocking it. When I say "use", I don't mean "try", I mean actually used it for day-to-day tasks for a couple weeks. Not "poked one in the mall and didn't know how to do everything right away, so I gave up," or worse yet, "saw a picture or video online and haven't even tried one in person." Spare me the "but I know I won't like it," because until you've actually used the device, you don't know.

    The overwhelming opinion of people I know who have actually used these devices that are neither a tablet nor a laptop, but really a bit of both, is that they work well and are not just a gimmick. New things can take some getting used to. That doesn't mean they're bad.

    • by bmo (77928) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:34PM (#42158809)

      It's funny how the criticisms of touch get brushed aside and people like you and SINternet insult the people criticizing.

      "You haven't used it long enough!"
      "You're a luddite!"
      "You're lazy!"
      "It's really great, you're just old!"
      "Look, this 3 year old can open a program! If you don't like it, you're stupider than a 3 year old!"

      And on and on it goes.

      Good job selling us on this. Really. Good. Job.

      > New things can take some getting used to

      Hey, this isn't marmite in this sandwich. It smells like shit! Hey, wait...

      "Just take smaller bites!"

      --
      BMO

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Z80xxc! (1111479)
        So you're suggesting that we should never have transitioned from horses and buggies to motor cars, because driving a car takes some getting used to? The fact of the matter is that if you haven't used something, you can't make an informed opinion of it. You can have an opinion, and you're welcome to have that opinion, but it won't be an informed opinion.
        • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:14PM (#42159029)

          More like, should we transition from horses and buggies to llamas and rowboats?

          Because that's what Microsoft is now expecting us to do with Windows 8.

        • by ColaMan (37550) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @12:56AM (#42159493) Homepage Journal

          We transitioned to cars because there was a great many advantages to do so - speed, load carrying capacity, etc, etc.

          What are the advantages of using a touchscreen over a keyboard/mouse in everyday situations?

          Mobile? Well sure, if you're wandering around and you want to quickly tap something out or go through a few apps, there's a good advantage to a touch screen.

          But at the office? I don't know. The time taken to take your hands off the keys, reach out and tap something... is that quicker than getting the mouse and clicking? I don't really know. I'd suspect that that with my setup (2 x 24" monitors) it's going to be slower. And I'd bet that if I was forced to use a touchscreen in an office situation where I still had a keyboard, I'd be learning a lot more keyboard shortcuts quick-smart.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:28PM (#42158785)
    Anything that forces you to break concentration and shift into another mode kills productivity. It's why mice have been so hard to replace. I can easily use a mouse and keyboard at the same time. Having to reach up to do an operation would seriously piss me off and cut my productivity in half. For everyday playing people love gimmicks but I think people will get tired of it fast. It's why i hated to see Windows go down that road. If vendors start requiring it to use software I'm going to have to find different software. He said they were a bad idea and I have to agree, he didn't say they wouldn't sell some before people got sick of them.
    • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:27PM (#42159097)

      I can easily use a mouse and keyboard at the same time. Having to reach up to do an operation would seriously piss me off and cut my productivity in half.

      Then how about only using touch where it makes sense and saves you time, and stick to keyboard and mouse where it makes sense and saves time. My favorite example of this is in photoshop. When you select a layer, you get a bounding box with anchors at each corner. With mouse you can then rotate, scale, or translate the layer... but only one at a time, and in the scaling case only along one axis at a time. This makes the process of properly placing a layer iterative. That is, move it, scale it, rotate it, scale it again, rotate it, until you've got it just right.

      With multitouch, this could be done in a single fluid gesture: move your fingers to translate, pinch your fingers to scale, spin your fingers to rotate, and it's a completely natural intuitive gesture. I yearn for a day when this is possible in Photoshop, and I will gladly move my hands from keyboard and mouse to the screen in this scenario because it is much more efficient with touch than with the mouse.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        With multitouch, this could be done in a single fluid gesture: move your fingers to translate, pinch your fingers to scale, spin your fingers to rotate, and it's a completely natural intuitive gesture.

        Yeah, because getting pixel-accurate scaling and rotation is just so easy when using big fat fingers instead of a mouse.

        And the problem is not that touch could be useful in some situations, but that the interface has to be designed to be usable with a touchscreen, which means it becomes incredibly tedious with a mouse; for example, the big, huge buttons all over the place so you can press them with your fingers, and the wonderful 'gestures' you have to create with your mouse instead of just clicking on the

        • Yes, in fact it is easier on the experimental interfaces I've designed and tested. As for big huge buttons, it's called modality: the right interface for the right input adjusting for what you're currently using. Seriously, where is your vision? The right interface doesn't exist, but people like you seem to think its impossible and never will. I think that's very short sighted.
  • It's true. Windows 8 has ruined non-touch monitors for me forever. It's just so easy and natural to want to reach up and touch the monitor now. In fact I get very frustrated when it doesn't respond. All screens should be touch.
    • by Zibodiz (2160038) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @01:03AM (#42159523)
      This. I have Win8 on my Fujitsu T5010, and love touch scrolling with it. So much more natural. I've touched my office monitor and my wife's laptop screen a couple times now without thinking. I love having a convertible laptop/stylus/touch PC (the T5010 has a 'dual digitizer'; the active stylus digitizer is awesome for my comics, but the touchscreen is better for games/surfing/reading), and I'm never switching back to an ordinary laptop.
      Oh, and by the way, I'm a web developer who has written thousands of lines of code on a convertible tablet pc. That's what the keyboard is for.
  • Full of apologising for crack-brained-isms of Windows8.

    I for one cannot imagine using a touch-the-screen solution on the desktop or laptop.

    On the other hand (er, so to speak) I am seriously looking forward to non-contact gesture technologies like Leap Motion [gizmag.com].

    Reaching forward and touching an exact spot with your finger (eg an Icon, a screen-control widget) fundamentally DOES NOT MAKE SENSE for anything other than a tablet solution.

    On the flipside, reaching out towards your screen for a broad-scale gestur
    • by tftp (111690)

      Touch-screen-ing an 82 inch display makes sense, but at desktop scales that's like sitting 3 inches from your monitor

      I have a 25" LED monitor in front of me. I can barely touch its center with a fully extended right arm. My fingers don't reach the edges of the screen unless I lean forward. Why would I do that? This is bad for posture, this is bad for vision. From my position in the chair I simply cannot touch the monitor.

      But even if I could touch it, just imagine how much effort would it require to swi

      • Touch-screen-ing an 82 inch display makes sense, but at desktop scales that's like sitting 3 inches from your monitor

        If you continued to read the rest of my comments you'd see I was meaning these massive displays make sense because you're NOT USING THE COMPUTER, you're just using a PHREAKINHUGE DISPLAY (think touchscreen enabled TV WeatherMan, lecturer in a classroom flipping electronic charts, etc)

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:57PM (#42159249) Homepage

      I for one cannot imagine using a touch-the-screen solution on the desktop or laptop.

      But TFA is correct. I've spent a day messing around with a tablet running Windows 8, touching away, and then when I go back to a regular PC with a monitor -- also running Windows 8, FWIW -- I automatically start reaching for the monitor for the first couple of moments. And this is for the Desktop UI, too. Once you get used to certain habits on one device, you want to do the same thing on other devices, especially when they are running the exact same OS and everything looks virtually identical to you. You know the touch points are supposed to be there, so you reach for them.

      Whether this is a "good" thing or not is open to debate.

  • Steve is dead, the company moves on...
    If you look at MacOSX on a laptop, it uses the big multi-touch mousepad instead of a touch screen. Win8 needs a touchscreen because they put a tablet UI on a PC. Different OS, Different requirements.

  • by tannhaus (152710) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @11:40PM (#42159163) Homepage Journal

    I have one of the Gateway 6971 all-in-ones. I paid the $15 or whatever to get the Windows 8 upgrade. My computer before this one was a 24 inch iMac I'd had for 5 years. I have to say that I don't regret the change at all. When it comes to reading a website, I'm more likely to reach up and scroll than even use the scroll wheel on the mouse. When I'm playing music or watching videos, I don't have to be sitting at my computer desk. All I have to be able to do is touch the screen. The article is right. It complements the mouse and keyboard and allows for more relaxed use of the computer.

  • "A touchscreen isn't a replacement for a keyboard or mouse, it's a complement."

    Gee, thanks for listening to feedback from the community for the last few years.

  • We've been touching monitors for quite a long time without any issue. It's been completely unnecessary up until now, but I doubt there will be many issues with monitors finally responding to user touch and doing something useful in return.

    -- Dave

  • by John Biggabooty (591838) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @12:07AM (#42159287)
    This article reads like something a cheerleader on Microsoft's payroll wrote. It it is, that should be disclosed. I am not impressed with Windows 8 at all.
  • Lenovo Yoga (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @01:07AM (#42159541) Homepage

    I got one of these for work the first day they came out. Here's how I use it:

    * At the office, I use it like a traditional Windows laptop, running virtual machines and whatnot for development.
    * On the train, I turn it into a tablet and read books, play games, read the newspaper and magazines. There's a great PDF reader and a Kindle app. Also, I use it in a singing group I belong to for my sheet music.

    In short, it's a laptop plus an iPad.

    Also, I've had zero problems with smudging on the screen. I've had the device for over a month and have never cleaned the screen. Maybe I'm just super clean? I keep it in a soft case made for a Mac Air, so maybe sliding it in and out of that case cleans it off.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.

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