Flutterby™! : Touchscreen

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2013-07-22 14:47:04.440867+00 by ebradway 3 comments

I've never used one of the many Windows 8 "touchscreen" laptops but I have to wonder... Apple took the touchscreen from a novelty to common-place and they make some of the best laptops. Why would the king of usability not make a laptop with a touchscreen? And is this part of Microsoft's problem?

I've always held that Microsoft doesn't differentiate their platforms better. Or rather, they don't differentiate them from a consumer perspective. And they try to eliminate differentiation form a programmer perspective. Unfortunately, they end up differentiated from a QA/Support perspective.

Sure, I can write code that runs on many platforms. But it only works on some of them. And only works well on one or, if I'm lucky, two.

I fear that Ubuntu is charging down the same path...

[ related topics: Apple Computer Interactive Drama Humor Microsoft Software Engineering moron Consumerism and advertising ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2013-07-22 15:28:41.630949+00 by: markd

The programming methods for the two Apple platforms are really different. Yeah, the language is the same and frameworks are similar (and identical in the lower-level pieces), but it's a different mindset programming for a ubiquitous keyboard with pixel-resolution pointing device and an unstable surface with a blobby finger for interaction (which also blocks part of the screen while you're interacting with it).

Putting two such radically different interaction mechanisms in the same box without some incentive for the developers to use their strengths when appropriate, will lead to a half-assed result.

Apple does have some gesture stuff built into the trackpad, so you can pinch, swirl, fold, spindle and mutilate, but it has that same kind of interaction indirection you have with the mouse.

(not to mention smears. I don't find I mind the smears on the pads or phones that objectionable (probably because it's easy enough to tilt it slightly and change the reflection angle. And also, if you never clean the screen, it eventually becomes a matte surface), but on monitors it's maddening. 'DON'T TOUCH MY SCREEN DAMMIT."

#Comment Re: made: 2013-07-22 16:13:34.750522+00 by: Dan Lyke

Data point: Signing for Square purchases vs signing on a stylus device at a supermarket vs signing a paper receipt.

My signature looks completely different on all three of those.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-07-22 18:20:50.399424+00 by: ebradway

markd: You bring up a good point. Apple doesn't attempt to unify their APIs. Doing so would simplify the programmer's job at the cost of user experience. Hence Microsoft's user experience!

I always thought that the reason Apple's iPad took off while Windows Tablets only ever floundered was because Microsoft used their desktop UI on their tablet. Now, with Windows 8, Microsoft has taken the opposite tact and put their tablet UI on their desktop. Any wonder that Windows 8 is floundering?