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Summary:

Yesterday Microsoft showed a few things about the next generation operating system, Windows 7.  First up they showed they can’t keep their self-imposed silence about it and just had to show a little of the forthcoming innovation in Windows 7.  This apparently means predominantly multi-touch, the […]

Yesterday Microsoft showed a few things about the next generation operating system, Windows 7.  First up they showed they can’t keep their self-imposed silence about it and just had to show a little of the forthcoming innovation in Windows 7.  This apparently means predominantly multi-touch, the ability to make things happen with two or more fingers on the screen.  They showed how to manipulate photos by touch, zooming and unzooming, dragging them around, and the like.  Then they showed another big use for multi-touch, moving around an on-screen map with two fingers.  Both of these are brand new uses for multi-touch, oh wait, we actually have seen this before by Apple.  Millions of iPhone and iPod Touch users today are doing those exact same functions with two fingers.  This harks back to why I don’t think that multi-touch will be the Next Big Thing (NBT) in Windows 7.  Been there, done that.

  1. Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t really seem that useful for anything besides zooming.

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  2. it doesnt matter when the only thing Apple has managed to implement it in is their handheld OS, wait until they can manage to do it for their real OS like OSX. i wont be holding my breath though, they dont even have good HW recognition for that yet.

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  3. It looks like Microsoft are once again following the trends rather than developing them!

    I’d much rather Windows 7 be a lightweight and efficient virtual machine OS, both the OS and the applications could run as separate protected entities. If you need to run an XP application then you’d run a lightweight XP OS image in one virtual machine just to ran that application. Give them a protected way to share data and you’ll have a very powerful system.

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  4. well, if all you’re doing is manipulating photos, and zooming in on maps, yea not so impressive.

    But if you’re in design, this could be very good. Imagine drafting, using multitouch, or 3d modeling, or conceptual design.

    Now, if i could just get the multitouch wall integrated into a a drafting table,

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  5. test

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  6. Rick Huizinga Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    James, handwriting recognition wasn’t new or innovative when MS introduced XP Tablet PC edition either. My point being is that you find this to be a very useful feature of the operating system today, and I’m sure that multi-touch technology will be a very useful method to interact with a computer in the future (when it is integrated in the OS).

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  7. The problem with Multi-Touch for Microsoft is that it’s a hardware feature. So until everyone has compatible hardware the functionality is limited.

    Unless there is a common standard, which Apple can apply to their own hardware but Microsoft will have trouble specifying to the multitude of OEMs, the implementation will change from system to system.

    Multi-Touch will be nice, don’t get me wrong, but we’ll all need something like a multi-touch Wacom Cinq 21UX to get the most from it.

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  8. That got me thinking….

    What we need is a 7+” iPhone type MID device which can be used standalone, but can be docked with a PC/Mac to provide a consistent secondary display with multi-touch capabilities.

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  9. Yes it’s true that Apple has of course led the way on this but that has been on their mobile devices, and to some extent multitouch touchpads.

    The majority of computer users however still associate PC use with Windows. The article on Windows 7 and ‘Touch’ has been the 3rd most read article on the BBC News page today, so it IS still news.

    It is possible Microsoft could still take a lead on this, gaining on the experience of Tablet PC and let’s face it, one thing Vista does have going for it is its ‘touch’ awareness.

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  10. Wow James, why so sarcastic today?

    Please, please don’t let yourself fall into the (all too common lately) trap of thinking that anyone doing multi-touch is just copying Apple; how many multi-touch concept demos did we see in the couple of years prior to the announcement of the iPhone? (I can think of at least two or three, although I didn’t save the links) The one that stands out the most in my mind is also the one that I first remember seeing the types of gestures that Apple ended up implementing (like spreading fingers to zoom), and that demo certainly wasn’t funded by Apple or on an Apple device. I’m not trying to bash Apple here, I’m just getting tired of the number of people who think that anyone using multi-touch is just “copying the iPhone.” Yes, Apple was the first to bring multi-touch to the market, but they didn’t invent it.

    I’m definitely still hoping that Microsoft will make Windows 7 better for scaling onto different hardware (aka, a “Windows Lite” for less powerful devices), but that doesn’t take away from how much I’m excited at having multi-touch on a tablet (I know that you don’t see much need for it with your usage model, but I personally think it’ll be really useful).

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