Please, No

Apple recently bought a chip maker by the name of PA Semi for a measly $278 million. At the same time rumors are floating around that Apple will unveil the next generation of the OS X which, if the rumors are true, has been called “snow leopard”*. I think that we may get to see something so insanely great that it will make everybody’s jaw drop.

I think that Apple is going to sound the death knell for Microsoft’s Windows 7 which, not surprisingly, utilizes multi-touch. Since, Apple was among the first companies to use multi-touch in a product; it’s obvious that they’re planning to use it on the Macintosh platform. So, why haven’t they done it yet? My guess is that they need to get the hardware right first. They probably need to have lots of processing power to handle all the data for the screen, hence Steve acquired PA Semi to get custom fabricated or modified processors to handle a huge multi-touch display. This is what I think the guys at Cupertino have been up to.

However, the thing I am really interested in is if it will have some kind of VUI, if it does then I am going to be in trouble. Apple has always been a pioneer in human interface design and many key players in the industry look to Apple for, um, inspiration. If Apple does indeed announce a VUI then we’re in trouble, for every major company out there will put their huge resources into creating yet another slapstick product. In short, I don’t want to let simone get lost in a crowd. In shorter terms I am afraid because there are plenty of challenges to conquer and I don’t want my effort to be doomed from the start. On the other hand, I should throw such thoughts out of the window for they get in the way of what’s truly important; innovation.

I can’t believe that I think that this will go somewhere. I mean all I have is this crazy idea and an algorithm of how it could be done. Combine that with my blind confidence in our ability to do the impossible and you have a possible recipe for a colossal screw up on the intergalactic scale. I really need to take another sip of my Kool-Aid.

* Here we have another insanely great example of Apple’s propaganda machine at work. I think that any commercial entity worth its products should replicate this for commercial success.

Ankur’s take: Here, I’d like to disagree with Anuj. Touch surfaces is simply not the way forward. It’s unique, yes, but once that wears of, people will be begging for the keyboard and mouse combo. Maybe because everyone’s used to that, but touch computing really doesn’t have that preciseness. I can’t precisely crop a picture using just my fingers on a touch surface, simply because a finger point is a large area. And so on. Similarly, I also feel that voice-activated, or brainwave-activated computing is also dead, after you get over the initial euphoria. Good for disabled people, but doesn’t cut the ice for normal users.

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