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GUI Handhelds Apple Hardware

The Apple Tablet Interface Must Be Like This 278

kylevh writes "On one side, there are the people who think that a traditional GUI—one built on windows, folders and the old desktop metaphor—is the only way to go for a tablet. In another camp, there are the ones who are dreaming about magic 3D interfaces and other experimental stuff, thinking that Apple would come up with a wondrous new interface that nobody can imagine now, one that will bring universal love, world peace and pancakes for everyone. Both camps are wrong: The iPhone started a UI revolution, and the tablet is just step two. Here's why." There are lots of cool UI ideas in there, even if it is entirely speculation. It's worth a read just to think about what the future could be like.
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The Apple Tablet Interface Must Be Like This

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 21, 2010 @02:31PM (#30848864)

    I get that the idea of an Apple tablet is intriguing, but is it worth all the stories popping up in the tech world? I mean, there's speculation about it showing up on gaming blogs. Lots of these articles are genuine, but I'm starting to smell a little astroturf too.

  • by trafic_man ( 774311 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @02:36PM (#30848936)
    From the article “For its part, Asus has netbooks and smartbooks running on Android and Chrome OS in its R&D labs, according to Shih, but is waiting until conditions are right to release them.” “Prototypes of tablet or slate PCs - touchscreen machines with no keyboards suited to watching media, reading e-books and web browsing - are sitting in Asus labs but Shih said the company is holding back on releasing any devices.” There may also be a product cycle from a hacked prototype in the R&D lab to full consumer release. The article makes it seem like they have the things in boxes ready to ship, its just that the Chairman Jonney Shih is waiting for the right time to slam his hand on the easy button and get them to market. What bothers me about this is it seems these comments are aimed at confusing investors into believing Asus is leading the way with these technologies like they did with the Eee PC. That does not seem to be the case.
  • by cjeze ( 596987 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @02:41PM (#30849012)
    I'll be disappointed. But if it is going to be a color eInk reader with similar friendliness as the iPhone, then there might be hope.
  • In short: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) < minus herbivore> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @02:53PM (#30849160)


    At the very least, forcing users to learn something new can hardly be considered a usability improvement. Trying to represent files on a computer in anything more than two dimensions is always going to fail because it messes up the presentation to information ratio.

    3D file managers are like powerpoint presentations with lots of animations and noises. The concept sounds really cool, until you actually realize that you are not adding information, but rather distracting from it.

  • RIP Desktop Metaphor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @02:53PM (#30849164)
    I've always thought that the desktop metaphor was a short sighted misstep in interface design. It doesn't scale well. It tries to duplicate a convention that is the result of the realities of storing and managing physical files, and along with that it duplicates all of it's shortcomings. I have been very pleased to see, through the iPhone and the internet, that it is finally passing away.

    I too hope that the tablet mac follows this trend. Rest in peace desktop metaphor, may your days on my computer soon be ended.
  • by Em Ellel ( 523581 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @03:00PM (#30849254)

    Can someone please SERIOUSLY ( no pro or anti apple fanaticism please) explain what exactly is so revolutionary about iPhone interface?

    They have pages of icons - kind of like desktop UI, but pretty much EXACLY like 90's PalmOS and many other portable OS's.

    They added gestures on OS level (scroll bar everywhere, instead of certain part of the screen), which was also available on PC and some advanced PalmOS apps - although it was a nice touch to make it part of OS. Multi-touch is cute, but hardly a revolution (except maybe literally)

    They removed many standard UI components like date pickers and replaced them with clunky wheels - that was probably a step back.

    They added a software repository- the kind Linux world was using for a decade.

    They added extra sensors to the OS - which were nice, but also been available on other devices for a while.

    There is nothing new here except for putting bunch of existing things all together, for which they certainly deserve praise, but all in all it seems like a great evolutionary work, hardly a revolutionary one.


  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @03:04PM (#30849308) Homepage

    Except that, in Windows land at least, many applications seem to be designed to be run maximised. So we alt-tab between them. Office, Photoshop, Eclipse, they all do it.

    When windowing was starting to mature, we had some nice desktop environments that encouraged cooperation between applications that shared a screen. For example, in Sun's OpenView, to load a file into their TextEditor, you'd drag from a file window onto "document" hotspot. To save you'd drag from the hotspot into the file window.

    Acorn's RiscOS was really big on drag & drop between windows.

    We see a lot less of that now. When you do drag and drop, you usually drop onto an application, rather than a specific part of its window. It's a mechanism for doing less precise things. And it's usually acheived by dragging to the MacOS Dock, or in Windows by doing the tedious "drag to the task bar, hover til your app comes to the front, drag back up, drop" routine.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @03:13PM (#30849464)

    It might be genuine people writing genuine articles, but it's still fed from the strategic "leaks" put out by Apple, with the purpose of generating hype. So the genuine people writing their genuine articles are actually Apple's PR strategy for getting people to talk about this without them having to make an official announcement. Of course, when they actually do make the announcement the hype will be so much that the free media coverage Apple will get out of it will be worth more than they would have ever wanted to spend on a pre-promo campaign for it.

    So yeah, the articles are genuine, and it's also astroturfing, even if the authors don't realize they're astroturfing. Apple speculation is ridiculous and useless. It doesn't matter what the speculation is, we'll all found out exactly what Apple plans to do, exactly when Apple wants us to find that out, and it will have all of the features that it would have had if no one had been speculating.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 21, 2010 @03:28PM (#30849676)

    The average Slashdot reader probably owns about 50 paperback books. It sure is a neat for factor, isn't it?

    The thing is that nobody has ever made a half-decent paperback-sized tablet. Odds are that it will sell.

    I agree with TFA that the iPhone OS is the best choice of OS for Apple. Not because it is the best possible OS for a tablet, but because it is a great OS that people like. It has an interface that keeps people buying apps and songs and whatnot (books seem like a good thing for a table). It has an interface that keeps them from developing their own software and thus keeps them from hacking and "stealing" so-called "intellectual property"...

    Or so it would seem. Good luck with that in the long run. :-)

  • by ynotds ( 318243 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @03:28PM (#30849678) Homepage Journal

    I hate posting negatively, even more so about the dead, but it really is time the legend was buried with the man.

    Back when it was still possible I was in a fortunate position which gave me access to many of the Valley's elite.

    Raskin still sticks out in my mind as far and away the least credible.

    Put simply, he suffered problems I've seen afflict other failed would-be futurists in other places. His ideas were all grounded on a past that had never existed. And when the world didn't turn out to match his dreams, it was everybody else's fault.

    On a more positive note, I'm looking forward to forming an opinion of the tablet next Thursday (my time) but don't have over-inflated expectations. At launch, the Touch was clearly the most important user interface innovation since 1984 and the only product in recent years I both ordered and received on the first possible day. But applying Stuart Kauffman's analysis of navigation strategies for rugged fitness landscapes, there is ever less scope for radical innovation and more likelihood of gain from incremental strategies, the bleedingly obvious double click on a word resolution of the supposed problem of a selection interface being a case in point.

    Leaving aside the media capabilities that we can safely assume, my judgment of the tablet will be based on whether it looks likely that it will eventually run a few litmus test applications well enough: Bento, OmniGraffle, Keynote, TextWrangler and Perl 6. I won't need all of them, but might find it harder to justify without at least a couple.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @06:22PM (#30852816)

    It might be genuine people writing genuine articles, but it's still fed from the strategic "leaks" put out by Apple, with the purpose of generating hype.

    What evidence do you have for that claim?

  • by jedwidz ( 1399015 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @06:39PM (#30853104)

    From my perspective, the iPhone really is a revolution in easy-to-use, intuitive user interface design.

    At 20 months old my son could pick up an iPhone, unlock it, start apps, browse videos and play games.

    Six months later, I'm still trying to explain to him the relationship between the touchpad and a little arrow on the screen - before we even get to clicking things, opening the 'Start' menu, etc, etc, etc.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn