The iPad's Interface and Gestures: What's Actually New (Video)

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The iPad is a gargantuan iPhone, perhaps more precisely than many hoped. But, if you look closely, you can see hints of what's truly coming next.

There are a few new scraps of gestures and interface bits, all thanks to the larger screen, which you can see sprinkled throughout the keynote video:

True multi-finger multitouch
Two finger swipes, three finger twirls—multitouch gestures that weren't really possible on the iPhone's tiny screen, unless you're a mouse. This is what people were excited about, and we only get a taste. Though, the gesture Phil uses to drag multiple slides in Keynote, using two hands, looks a bit awkward and belabored.


The most significant new UI element of the iPad vs. the iPhone are popovers, which you see all over the place when you need to dive further into the interface, or make a choice from a list (since blowing up lists to full screen size doesn't make a whole lot of sense now). A box pops up, and has a list of choices or options, which might take you down through multiple levels of lists, like you see in the demo of Numbers, with selecting functions to calculate. Gruber has more on popovers, and why they're significant, here.

Media Navigator
In some ways, the media navigator Phil Schiller shows off in iWork is the most interesting bit to me: That's what Apple sees as replacing a file browser in this type of computer. It's a popover too, technically.


Long touches and drags
Lots of touch, hold and drag, something you didn't see much of in the iPhone. With more UI elements, and layers of them, you need a way of distinguishing what type of motion action you're trying to engage.

These are all pretty basic, so far, building right on top of the iPhone's established interface, but it points to the future: More fingers, more gestures, more layered UI elements and built-in browsers.