Linked by David Adams on Sat 31st Jul 2010 06:05 UTC, submitted by fran
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Microsoft had its annual financial analyst meeting on Thursday, and Steve Ballmer answered questions about what the company's answer to the iPad was going to be, and whether Windows Phone 7 was going to be a part of that product strategy. He said, "We're coming . . . We're coming full guns. The operating system is called Windows." Ballmer and Microsoft so don't get it. I can't believe Steve Ballmer is making me feel sorry for Microsoft.
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The touch revolution
by Tony Swash on Sat 31st Jul 2010 16:14 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

The move from the desktop/mouse interface to the couch/mobile/touch interface is as big as the transformation of PC's by the GUI 25 years ago. That revolution was pioneered by Apple as well.

The touch revolution started by Apple has been rolled out in a pitch perfect development cycle.

First Apple spent a long time developing a very robust and extendible software foundations for their touch products - i.e. MacOSX.

Then they thought a long time about the interface issues which go much deeper than skin deep and are actually about an entirely new computing metaphor and interface. Apple are very good at this.

Then they launched nothing until it was truly market ready, they could have pitched a half finished iPhone into the market two years earlier but chose not too.

iPhone V1 was a crucial step as it demonstrated the viability of the touch interface but even more importantly is began to educate and acclimatise people to the new interface of touch. Later when the iPad came out there were millions of people who knew how to use it immediately.

The iPod Touch added hugely to the touch user baser by bringing it to all all those people who didn't want to commit to a phone. Plus it was a lot cheaper.

Then once they had a self evident success in the iPhone V1 and had thus created a new market for developers they rolled out the App Store and Xcode for touch devices. This created a huge developer community almost over night, and added huge value to their product. Still no one has caught Apple in terms of the size of their developer community or number of Apps.

Rather than rushing out lots of confusing and probably inferior touch products Apple concentrated for two years on honing the iOS version of MacOSX, improving the hardware, and building the now global community of touch users.

Then they launched the affordable iPad. Criticised as being just a big iPod Touch (which was like saying a swimming pool is just a big bath tub) the iPad showed the true potential of the new touch computing quickly became the most successful tech launch of all time. Touch had finally arrived big time.

Apple have learned the bitter lessons of relative failure after they launched the GUI revolution in 1984 when they let competitors catch them and then push them into almost obscurity. This time it is clear that Apple has a very comprehensive and long term strategic road map and that Steve Jobs does not intend to be caught again. By the time that Android or Microsoft match iPad version 1 Apple will be onto iPad V2 or 3

It is also likely that they have have further surprises awaiting us.

Apple are going to be almost impossible to catch during the acceleration phase of the touch revolution.

What exciting times these are. I am old enough to remember the GUI revolution and this feels just as much fun.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The touch revolution
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 31st Jul 2010 17:01 in reply to "The touch revolution"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

The original iphone with out cut/paste, multi tasking, or third party development was half baked. Apple's history of product releases always starts off with a half baked version. OSx 10.0 was maybe even quarter baked. Ipod was half baked (firewire, macs only). Itunes was half baked ( no music store).

Apple is typically given a period of time by the marketplace ( other manufacturers are too slow to react) to polish the products.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: The touch revolution
by jtfolden on Sat 31st Jul 2010 19:30 in reply to "RE: The touch revolution"
jtfolden Member since:
2005-08-12

The original iphone with out cut/paste, multi tasking, or third party development was half baked. Apple's history of product releases always starts off with a half baked version. OSx 10.0 was maybe even quarter baked. Ipod was half baked (firewire, macs only). Itunes was half baked ( no music store).


It's a bit silly to look back in hindsight and see "missing pieces" only due to their importance today.

When iTunes was initially released there were NO online mainstream music stores, nor were record companies pushing for such.

The iPod was originally intended for Mac users only, the fact it didn't work out of the box on Windows was irrelevant.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: The touch revolution
by Tony Swash on Sun 1st Aug 2010 01:39 in reply to "RE: The touch revolution"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The original iphone with out cut/paste, multi tasking, or third party development was half baked. Apple's history of product releases always starts off with a half baked version. OSx 10.0 was maybe even quarter baked. Ipod was half baked (firewire, macs only). Itunes was half baked ( no music store).

Apple is typically given a period of time by the marketplace ( other manufacturers are too slow to react) to polish the products.


Its only half backed in your opinion, you are almost certainly not the demographic that Apple was interested in attracting. What Apple seem to get just right is judging what is the basic configuration of a device/system which will make is acceptable and popular in the market place.

Apple specialises in stripping away features so as to concentrate on the core functionality - once they have that right (in version 1) they can irritate changes organically with each new release. So, to take one of your examples, the iPod was stripped down so that its core functionality (playing music) was just right - then it could be added to.

By the way lots of us thought that being Mac only in version 1 was a feature not a bug ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

Touch revolution? Give me a break
by nt_jerkface on Sat 31st Jul 2010 17:05 in reply to "The touch revolution"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

This time it is clear that Apple has a very comprehensive and long term strategic road map and that Steve Jobs does not intend to be caught again. By the time that Android or Microsoft match iPad version 1 Apple will be onto iPad V2 or 3


Apple's plan is to sell as many as possible, there is no long term strategic roadmap.

The only advantage Apple has is the app store which won't matter much as these devices are primarily used to surf the web. Most people will not pay an additional $200 for a better game selection.

All a Windows or Linux based tablet needs is a browser and Flash. These are web surfing devices, not computer replacements.

Apple will keep themselves priced out of the $200-$300 range which is where these devices should be.

Edited 2010-07-31 17:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: The touch revolution
by leech on Sat 31st Jul 2010 17:13 in reply to "The touch revolution"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

The move from the desktop/mouse interface to the couch/mobile/touch interface is as big as the transformation of PC's by the GUI 25 years ago. That revolution was pioneered by Apple as well.


No it wasn't, they copied Xerox.

The touch revolution started by Apple has been rolled out in a pitch perfect development cycle.


Again, they didn't create the revolution, they just evolved it.

First Apple spent a long time developing a very robust and extendible software foundations for their touch products - i.e. MacOSX.

Then they thought a long time about the interface issues which go much deeper than skin deep and are actually about an entirely new computing metaphor and interface. Apple are very good at this.


Again, no new metaphor, they simply polished what was already there. Apple aren't innovators per se, they are just good designers. Give credit where it's due.

Then they launched nothing until it was truly market ready, they could have pitched a half finished iPhone into the market two years earlier but chose not too.


It wasn't truly ready, something as simple as multi-tasking and custom wallpapers were missing.

iPhone V1 was a crucial step as it demonstrated the viability of the touch interface but even more importantly is began to educate and acclimatise people to the new interface of touch. Later when the iPad came out there were millions of people who knew how to use it immediately.


They didn't create the new touch interface, it's just that other companies just didn't think touch interfaces were really the way forward. Most other phone manufacturers had a few different touch phones, but none of them were all that popular. Apple's products became trendy with the iPod, so for a lot of people, it was cool for them to get an iPod that could make phone calls (which really is all the iPhone is, and the iPad is just a giant iPod).

The iPod Touch added hugely to the touch user baser by bringing it to all all those people who didn't want to commit to a phone. Plus it was a lot cheaper.


I'd agree with bringing touch to a large user base, but who would buy an iPod instead of a phone? iPods had a cool user interface, and were small. They became a status symbol. Apple just evolved that philosophy into the iPhone. It's like getting a child hooked on Snickers with the smaller bars, then when the kid gets a bit bigger, he wants the large bars instead.

Then once they had a self evident success in the iPhone V1 and had thus created a new market for developers they rolled out the App Store and Xcode for touch devices. This created a huge developer community almost over night, and added huge value to their product. Still no one has caught Apple in terms of the size of their developer community or number of Apps.


From what I understand, they had an 'app store' for the iPod. Could be wrong about that though. A lot of their developers are becoming rather annoyed with Apple's 'my way or the highway' philosophy.

Rather than rushing out lots of confusing and probably inferior touch products Apple concentrated for two years on honing the iOS version of MacOSX, improving the hardware, and building the now global community of touch users.


I only wish they had actually taken MacOSX and slapped it on a tablet form factor. I would have actually bought my first Apple product if they had only done that. But they didn't. They made a giant iPod. Lame.

Then they launched the affordable iPad. Criticised as being just a big iPod Touch (which was like saying a swimming pool is just a big bath tub) the iPad showed the true potential of the new touch computing quickly became the most successful tech launch of all time. Touch had finally arrived big time.


But it IS just a big iPod Touch. You can fit more than one person in a swimming pool, you can't realistically have more than one person browse the net on the same iPad, can you? It wasn't exactly affordable either, you can get a much fuller netbook, or even a netbook with touchscreen for the same or less.

Apple have learned the bitter lessons of relative failure after they launched the GUI revolution in 1984 when they let competitors catch them and then push them into almost obscurity. This time it is clear that Apple has a very comprehensive and long term strategic road map and that Steve Jobs does not intend to be caught again. By the time that Android or Microsoft match iPad version 1 Apple will be onto iPad V2 or 3


For all intents and purposes you're correct. You're just leaving people out of the game. Don't discount the Intel / Nokia / Linux Foundation. Already there are videos of MeeGo on youtube that people think smash the crap out of the iPad's interface. Next year will definitely be an interesting gadget year.

It is also likely that they have have further surprises awaiting us.

Apple are going to be almost impossible to catch during the acceleration phase of the touch revolution.

What exciting times these are. I am old enough to remember the GUI revolution and this feels just as much fun.


I'll agree with the last part. Though I think more than the 'touch revolution' I would call it more of a 'mobile revolution'. Look where the computers were of the mid to late 80s. We had the Apple Macintosh, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, IBM Compatibles, etc. This was a great time to be a computer user because we had actual competition between platforms. After Commodore went bankrupt and Atari decided to get out of the computer biz... and then subsequently was sold off more times than anyone can count.. and Apple mostly became an obscure spec on the map and we were left with the IBM compatibles... well the computer industry basically got boring. You no longer had people who would say "Oh yeah, my Amiga costs a 3rd the price of your system, actually has color graphics and stereo sound... yours has... 4 color CGA, a 5.25" floppy and looks like it was built by the military." Fortunately Linux came along and gave people an alternative to the mainstream crap that was / is Windows. Apple finally started a turn around with Mac OS X and became 'trendy' and then feeding off that trendiness they created the iPod.

Really Apple should be congratulated on evolving things a certain way and thinking about the User Interface above all. And on Marketing. They shouldn't be slapped on the back for innovating, because that would require an original idea, and the last original ones they have produced were when Wozniak was with them.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: The touch revolution
by Tony Swash on Sun 1st Aug 2010 02:10 in reply to "RE: The touch revolution"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

No it wasn't, they copied Xerox.


A common urban myth amongst techies. Version 1 of the Mac OS was nothing like the Palo Alto system. It had been inspired by the work at Palo Alto but the system that emerged on the first mac had taken another couple of years of refinement. Just as Gauguin inspired Van Gogh - Van Gogh didn't "copy" Gauguin.

In addition the system used at Palo Alto was nowhere near ready for the market let alone capable of being run on the current desktop systems. It took Apple to bring the GUI to the market place and to get the design fundamentals so strong that if you sat down in front of a version 1 Mac today you would know how to use it.

Interestingly what Job's and co didn't notice at Palo Alto was SmallTalk the underlying object based operating system behind the Palo alto desktop. So the first MacOS was written in Pascal (I think). But Jobs sure is a quick learner and when he founded Next after being ejected from Apple he made sure that OS was built use the same concepts of object based programming.

Again, they didn't create the revolution, they just evolved it.


The same Gauguin - Van Gogh metaphor applies. Sure there had been demos of multitouch before, people dragging things around and resizing them ect but there was no practical system available in the market anywhere before the iPhone that used multitouch to actually get complex real world work done. When iPhone OS V1 launched you could use it to manipulate photos, play and manage music, play and manage movies, surf the web, manage your contacts, manage your diary, etec etc. Its was a real working system ready for the masses. Making interesting stuff in labs and putting together demos is kids play to actually making something work and making it ready for the market.


It wasn't truly ready, something as simple as multi-tasking and custom wallpapers were missing.


That mistaken concept of what constitutes market ready is why so many companies fail where Apple often succeed. Apple's design by iteration approach means starting with the pared down core functionality of what needs to be present to make something do its basic work. If the device is intended to play music all the work goes into making damm sure that its easier to play music on it than anything else. Apple avoids bundling extra functions for the sake of it. Get the core basic right and then you can build. and that's why they can then proceed to role out such a steady and solid programme of upgrades and improvements.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: The touch revolution
by tupp on Sun 1st Aug 2010 23:00 in reply to "The touch revolution"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Geez Louise!


The move from the desktop/mouse interface to the couch/mobile/touch interface is as big as the transformation of PC's by the GUI 25 years ago. That revolution was pioneered by Apple as well.

Such notions might be true in the Apple RDF, but not in the real world.

Of course, 90% of the GUI that is common today was developed at Xerox years before Apple computer existed. Apple fans can argue that Apple "bought" the technology and hired some Xerox employees. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the modern GUI was not invented by Apple.

Furthermore, the first open sales of computers with a modern GUI began in early 1980, with the Three Rivers Perq: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PERQ

So, the Perq GUI computer was being openly marketed and sold three years before the first Apple GUI computer appeared. In regards, to the time-line of innovation, it really doesn't matter when an invention is marketed and/or sold. I mention these facts merely because a lot of Apple fans somehow equate marketing and sales with innovation, but Apple was not the first in either area.

The Perq had almost all of the features that we see in current common GUIs/computers: mouse and/or trackpad; floating windows; floating menus (drop-down menus are just floating menus stuck to the top of the window/screen); drag-&-drop; GUI animations; etc. It even had the first dock: http://yahozna.dyndns.org/computers/perq/photos/accent-small.jpg

There were other GUI computers/OSs before Apple, including the Xerox Star and Visi On. Incidentally, an early public demo of Visi On is what inspired Bill Gates to create Windows -- not Apple.


The touch revolution started by Apple has been rolled out in a pitch perfect development cycle.

Wow! All of those zillions of touch screens that appeared in the 1980s on ATMs and on slot machines came from Apple? Apple certainly started the "touch" revolution!


First Apple spent a long time developing a very robust and extendible software foundations for their touch products - i.e. MacOSX.

Yes. I remember that it took a very long time for OSX to get to the point that my friends using OS9 weren't scared to use it.


Then they thought a long time about the interface issues which go much deeper than skin deep and are actually about an entirely new computing metaphor and interface.

Does it ever occur to anyone else that Apple fans often make-up fantasies in their heads and, then, proclaim these notions as fact?


Apple are very good at this.

Apple certainly did "good" on their Iphone touch interface with: cut-&-paste; typing ellipsis; typing numbers; and making readable file names: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2470148&tstart=45...

Let's not forget the wonderfully effective Newton touch interface (which was preceded by others, including a Sony touch pda). "Eat up Martha!"


Then they launched nothing until it was truly market ready, they could have pitched a half finished iPhone into the market two years earlier but chose not too.

Oh. That goes without saying! Apple has a long history of never "launching" anything, until it they are sure that "it just works," such as:

- overheating original Mac (tell-tale sign of things to come);
- the round mouse;
- overheating laptops;
- ipod batteries dying;
- lack of connectivity;
- non-standard, proprietary connectors;
- glass laptop touchpads cracking;
- Imac 27" yellow screens;
- Imac graphics issues (black screens on boot-up);
- MacBook plastics cracking;
- MacBook fan "mooing" (fixed with firmware);
- Time Capsule PSU death;
- iPhone 3G/3GS case cracking;
- G5 cooling issues;
- Magsafe connector/cable shorting and burning;
- Mighty Mouse ball susceptible to constant malfunction from dirt;
- Machined laptop enclosures that bent (caused them to go back to plastic);
- Iphone 4 back glass suceptible to shattering;
- and, last but not least, the Iphone 4 antenna fiasco!

This is just off the top of my head -- this list is not exhaustive -- and, probably, the number of serious engineering/design problems in this list is greater than the total number of similar problems for the last decade from all of the major, non-Apple, electronics manufacturers combined!

[Part 2 of this response is posted below]

Edited 2010-08-01 23:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: The touch revolution
by sorpigal on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 18:23 in reply to "RE: The touch revolution"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02


"The move from the desktop/mouse interface to the couch/mobile/touch interface is as big as the transformation of PC's by the GUI 25 years ago. That revolution was pioneered by Apple as well.

Such notions might be true in the Apple RDF, but not in the real world.

Of course, 90% of the GUI that is common today was developed at Xerox years before Apple computer existed. Apple fans can argue that Apple "bought" the technology and hired some Xerox employees. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the modern GUI was not invented by Apple.
"

While I share your dismay at the somewhat breezy was the GP declared Apple the god of computer UIs, you must be perfectly correct and say that Xerox pioneered the GUI *concepts* that are common today. The actual UI they developed influenced many, but Apple is responsible for the, shall we say, application of it that became popular.

What PARC gave us was a metaphor and an approach, Apple created one implementation of the vision and most people followed Apple's lead from there. If you examine the GUIs that are Xeroxy that came out prior to the Mac, and up to shortly after, you'll find many things which are just a bit odd by today's standards. GUIs where development began after 1984 are mostly quite Mac-like.

There is certainly a strong Apple influence going in here.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: The touch revolution
by tupp on Sun 1st Aug 2010 23:11 in reply to "The touch revolution"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

[Part 1 of this response is posted above]

iPhone V1 was a crucial step as it demonstrated the viability of the touch interface but even more importantly is began to educate and acclimatise people to the new interface of touch. Later when the iPad came out there were millions of people who knew how to use it immediately.

The viability of the touch interface was demonstrated long before Apple. People have been commonly using touch interfaces for decades via ATMs, slot machines, touch cash registers, etc, and those everyday interfaces are designed so that anyone can use them easily, on the first encounter, even though they may differ dramatically from one to the other.

It's not that difficult to make icons/buttons bigger and put more spacing between menu items, like they have had since the beginning of time on ATMs, slot machines, etc. It is no great mental leap to incorporate multi-touch and to use multi-touch gestures that were developed by non-Apple organizations back in the 1980s (Nintendo did so on a handheld device, before Apple did). Also, it is not an incredible feat to add a couple of animations (which might have also come from another source).


The iPod Touch added hugely to the touch user baser by bringing it to all all those people who didn't want to commit to a phone. Plus it was a lot cheaper.

Not really. Again, more people use ATMs, slot machines, touch kiosks, etc. than use Iphones.


Then once they had a self evident success in the iPhone V1 and had thus created a new market for developers they rolled out the App Store and Xcode for touch devices.

Keep in mind, the App Store is just a direct rip-off of a *nix repository, except the user has to pay.


This created a huge developer community almost over night, and added huge value to their product. Still no one has caught Apple in terms of the size of their developer community or number of Apps.

It certainly did attract a lot of people trying to "make it rich" off of their dips**t apps.


Rather than rushing out lots of confusing and probably inferior touch products Apple concentrated for two years on honing the iOS version of MacOSX, improving the hardware, and building the now global community of touch users.

Apple never rushes anything to market. Again, how does one cut-&-paste in iOS?


Then they launched the affordable iPad. Criticised as being just a big iPod Touch (which was like saying a swimming pool is just a big bath tub) the iPad showed the true potential of the new touch computing quickly became the most successful tech launch of all time. Touch had finally arrived big time.

I see. We're talking about the new touch computing.

In regards to the popularity of the Ipad launch, I wonder how Ipad sales figures compare to those of the latest Justin Beiber album or Miley Cyrus album. No doubt, more units sold means better quality -- just look at the Windows sales figures!


Apple have learned the bitter lessons of relative failure...

Well, they certainly have a lot of failed designs and usability problems, but I am not sure that they have learned much from their mistakes, as they seem to be endlessly having the same form-over-function mishaps.


...after they launched the GUI revolution in 1984 when they let competitors catch them and then push them into almost obscurity.

From the fanboys, it seems that Apple has had more than it's share of "launches" and "revolutions." However, as explained above, Apple did not "launch" the first GUI computer -- not by a long shot.


This time it is clear that Apple has a very comprehensive and long term strategic road map and that Steve Jobs does not intend to be caught again. By the time that Android or Microsoft match iPad version 1 Apple will be onto iPad V2 or 3

I doubt it. I think that Apple will always put Steve Jobs' ego (and that of the designer) over proper, reliable functionality in their products.


It is also likely that they have have further surprises awaiting us.

What?! They are going to actually innovate and make a product that is powerful, inexpensive, reliable and open?


Apple are going to be almost impossible to catch during the acceleration phase of the touch revolution.

Perhaps, but I wouldn't put my money on it now.


What exciting times these are. I am old enough to remember the GUI revolution and this feels just as much fun.

I'm giddy with anticipation about the next I-thing!

Reply Parent Score: 3

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Apple never rushes anything to market. Again, how does one cut-&-paste in iOS?


Imagine the process you would use to do that using a touchpad, and then imagine doing it wearing oven mitts.

In 3 years, Apple hasn't managed to implement basic text manipulation on par with even a first-gen Palm Pilot from 1997. If that doesn't demonstrate a commitment to form over function, then nothing does.

"It is also likely that they have have further surprises awaiting us.


What?! They are going to actually innovate and make a product that is powerful, inexpensive, reliable and open?
"

That, or iPad 2.0 will feature "wings" and "extra absorbency".

Reply Parent Score: 2