The proliferation of touch screens on electronic devices over the past several years has included mobile phones (notably Apple’s iPhone), satellite navigation systems and portable game consoles. Now, according to this article, PCs will soon join the crowd. The author points out that Microsoft has already demonstrated a prototype of the next version of its flagship operating system based around “multi-touch” capabilities that allow a touch screen to sense more than one finger at once. Soon one will be able to press buttons, tap icons, call up windows and rotate and stretch onscreen objects using two fingers at a time. Apple, for its part, has put multi-touch track pads on its laptop computers and is rumored to be working on touch screens for its next line of computers.
This article gives readers a brief history of touch screens and their growing influence on the marketplace and provides a glimpse of what capabilities they will bring to users, including:
- Calling up images and charts and navigating through three-dimensional maps, panning and tilting them using special multiple finger gestures; and
- The ability to design gestures like drawing a loop with one finger to call up the options menu. [Microsoft is developing gestures and Apple has already introduced several of its own.]
The author notes that many applications have yet to be developed to take full advantage of this technology but insists that the growing popularity of touch screens will drive applications to market in great numbers. Market research firm iSuppli predicts the sale of touch screens will grow from 341 million in 2008 to 833 million in 2013.
Link to original source: The Economist (London); September 6, 2008, v388 i8596 p1