He described what he was talking about in the interview linked in the article. He wants some of the desktop OS paradigms to translate to a touch tablet, as most people did when the iPad launched and what Microsoft is currently demonstrating. You will also notice the original hardware for the dynabook has a physical keyboard - is that an example of the best human-computer interface when it requires learning a legacy input model?
For content creation until intelligent agents which were part of the concept yes. Even past that.
For symmetric content consumption and creation, yes.
His point is that learning a legacy input model has significant value because it provides a richer interaction model than just touch. This is why pen input has value as well. Content creation is aided with these input mechanism we have developed over time. Just like why artists use pencils, brushes, etc and not just finger painting in physical medium and styluses in the digital realm.
Likewise I can enter textual content far faster using a hardware keyboard than a touch keyboard AND it doesn't take any space from the display AND both keyboard and display is angled correctly. This is why many folks buy keyboard folios for their iPads.
Originally Posted by Marvin
It has Hypercard:
"Even before its cancellation, HyperCard's inventor saw the end coming. In an angst-filled 2002 interview, Bill Atkinson confessed to his Big Mistake. If only he had figured out that stacks could be linked through cyberspace, and not just installed on a particular desktop, things would have been different.
"I missed the mark with HyperCard," Atkinson lamented. "I grew up in a box-centric culture at Apple. If I'd grown up in a network-centric culture, like Sun, HyperCard might have been the first Web browser. My blind spot at Apple prevented me from making HyperCard the first Web browser."
"How did creator Bill Atkinson define HyperCard? "Simply put, HyperCard is a software erector set that lets non-programmers put together interactive information," he told the Computer Chronicles in 1987."
You want to make a drawing program:
a Text Editor:
you can do it and if you wanted a system to integrate them all, you do it server-side and link the databases together. There's nothing stopping anyone from doing this. These apps can all be created on iOS with software Apple would have no problem with. Right now it uses programming but it's not a requirement.
Web browser/HTML5 does not fit the description:
"Simply put, HyperCard is a software erector set that lets non-programmers put together interactive information"
The "Right now it uses programming" IS the failure. The "it's not a requirement" is the challenge. As is persisting the experience while in an offline mode. HTML5 does have offline persistence for web apps buy few use it at all and even fewer use it effectively. Google is going to address this shortfall but in my opinion on the Blink thread in a way that only really benefits Google.
Expecting 800,000 native apps to somehow integrate together without a security model is disconnected from reality.
So is expecting web apps to not pose a security threat. In fact, web apps pose an even greater challenge than the type of composable objects Kay outlined because those object are vetted in the app store, local AND sandboxed. The app store screening helps maintain security more than your proposed webapp solution. Malicious objects should be rare. The same cannot be said for webapps not vetted by Apple.
There's no question that there are better systems, there is a question of it being possible to build them and that part is usually someone else's job and when they fall short of the ideal, the idealists criticise. Everyone should be free to air reasonable views but they aren't exempt from criticism.
His primary criticism is that Apple will not allow other interpreted languages on iOS. This is a valid criticism and we're not talking about folks here providing criticism or airing reasonable views but hateful and ignorant attacks about a "has been".
We'd all like to use our iPads like we use our Macs but you can't until you introduce a scalable windowing system and take away the sandboxing and it doesn't work. There can be two modes like the way Windows 8 works but it works very poorly. I don't like that reality and I didn't like the iPad when it came out for that reason but I acknowledge that reality and the fact that (ignoring phones) the iPad in its current form is the single most popular personal computer in the world. In that regard, Alan Kay was right. If he wants to run eToys and split views, an x86 Windows 8 tablet is what he's after and if that's the right way to do things, Windows 8 tablets will rule the world in no time at all.
The fact is that you can largely use your iPad like you use your Mac if you add a keyboard and a way to hold your ipad screen in a viewable orientation.
Having multiple windows open on the same screen at the same time isn't a hard requirement given the way you can currently switch between apps with a keyboard: cmd-shift-tab to the next app and cmd-tab to switch back. Option+Left and Option_Right to navigate through the dock.
The classic example of the current shortfall in touch screen only mode and the desire for multiple apps on the screen is where writing a paper or creating a presentation and you want to cut and paste from the web browser or photo album or another document or presentation. This is really annoying to do with just the home button.
With the keyboard cmd-shift between the browser and Pages. Cut and paste in between.
Not quite as good as drag and drop but it's a 10" screen and on a 11" MBA you're using spaces a lot (and CTRL UP/DN/LEFT/RIGHT with Cut/Paste) as well because of real estate issues. Maybe CTRL-UP/DN would have been more natural than cmd-shift-tab since desktop and apps are the same thing in iOS.
So what you write is expressly untrue and your criticism of the keyboard on a dynabook is misguided.