Why Multitouch Apple Monitors Would Be Dumb


The Mac sites are humming with rumors of Multitouch Apple Cinema Displays. I can trace the inspiration for these posts from two sources, at least here at Giz. First, the video above. Stunning, ain't it? Secondly, I received this loosy-goosy email the other day:

During a dinner with a very old friend, who happens to be an anonymous designer at Apple...when my dad mentioned his plans to get two large flat screen monitors side by side for his macpro, the designer said wait just 2 years, then...proceeded to demonstrate the multi-touch screen of the iPhone.

An email isn't enough to spark a rumor, but that's not what this is about. The blogs are excited about the notion. I am, too, but I am also aghast. The thought of doing 12 hours of work on such a monitor reminds me of these terrible things:

a) the inverse relationship of proper ergonomics and proper viewing distance on such a setup b) unnecessary exercise c) being punished in grade school for flying paper airplanes by having to clean the chalkboards after school. It sucked.

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Illustration for article titled Why Multitouch Apple Monitors Would Be Dumb


I like my trackpad. I never have to take my hands off the keyboard to move my pointer. It is the virtual fulcrum of the stone-heaving work that is bloggistry. Don't make me compute the way they're done in meatspace, please. Well, beyond the iPhone's finger flick, and Wiimote that is.

I don't know if Steve would launch something like this without doing a gut check on how useful the tech would be, first. Maybe, it will be left as another secret in the catacombs of the Apple Design Labs.

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DISCUSSION

I think the naysayers are basing their comments on what they've tried before. Existing touchscreen systems don't work very well, the screens aren't positioned right, and yes they smudge up and so forth. I totally agree. I just recently tried the new HP TouchSmart PC which sounded extremely cool on paper, but sucked in reality. I found myself missing the mouse right away.

HOWEVER, done right, touchscreens could revolutionize computers. The touchscreen has to be BIG first of all, because fingers are not as accurate as a stylus or mouse. Second, it has to be extremely responsive. It needs to pick up every finger tap and drag the first time. I don't want to see a Windows pointer moving underneath my finger, struggling to keep up. Third, the OS and every app needs to be designed specifically for touch input.

If someone can do all that, and do it right, then I think we'll all be extremely pleased with the results. Apple could just be the one to pull it off. We'll see. I'm holding on to my Apple stock, and sticking with my three year old PC for now, while I wait to see what happens.