Apple job posts hint at multi-touch Macs; iMacs suffer off-color LCDs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple Inc. is recruiting testing engineers to help produce multi-touch Macs. Meanwhile, the company is cracking down on complaints of color problems with iMac displays, and Quicken is near completion of a web finance tool for the iPhone.



Apple seeks reliability engineer for multi-touch Macs



The development of multi-touch displays at Apple is expanding to the company's Mac division, according to a job listing on the firm's website.



Originally found by Engadget, the description asks for an engineer familiar with stress testing and other experiments on pre-production hardware who will support both "Mac and iPod hardware groups" for new technology.



The posting reflects an increasing amount of abstraction for touch input at the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant. A second job posting, discovered by AppleInsider, is aimed at recruiting a senior hardware engineer for a Touch Technology team and focuses on creating new multi-touch flat panels for a variety of devices, regardless of their exact role.



"Pushing the envelope to design and ship innovative products (like the iPhone) with best-in-class technologies and user experiences is the main goal of the touch technology team at Apple," the posting reads.



People familiar with the matter have previously confirmed with AppleInsider that the Mac maker is developing a Newton-like slate computer, while multiple patents have been filed for advanced touch interfaces that can be used both inside and outside of displays.



Aluminum iMacs plagued by off-color LCDs



Owners of Apple's latest iMac models have been newly rebuffed in their attempts to resolve color gradient flaws on their systems' screens, according to reports.



Beginning the day of the all-in-one computers' launch in early August, threads in Apple's support discussions have surfaced that complain of screens with fading colors or with conspicuous color banding, either of which can cover some or all of the display and frequently make precise visual editing impossible.



"As a graphic designer I could not keep the iMac because the gradient was pretty pronounced on my display," says one discussion member. "It was darker on top and a lot lighter on the bottom, [and] therefore I could not see solid colors."



However, while thousands of users have posted to or viewed the threads, the system builder has in recent days begun locking down these discussions and sometimes deleting them entirely, preventing owners from voicing their concerns.



The issue primarily affects 20-inch iMac models, but has also been reported on a small number of 24-inch units. Apple engineers are reportedly aware of the screen flaws.



Quicken to appear as iPhone web service



Intuit is prepping a web-based version of its Quicken financial software as an iPhone-oriented online service, the company has revealed this week.



While the service will run on multiple mobile devices and full-sized computers, its initial format is designed with the Apple handset in mind and should appeal to a young, technically-savvy audience that may never have used dedicated financial software in the past, Intuit says. The functionality will resemble the basic retail software and allow users to download bank information as it's updated and track spending.



Instead of an up-front cost, the company will charge a $3 monthly subscription fee to use the service. An introduction is scheduled for January 8th, a week before the start of the Macworld San Francisco expo on the 15th.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,330member
    Locking down discussions like this, or removing posts from others is something about Apple's behavior that disturbs me greatly.



    Do they really think that no one will know these problems are occurring, or that they are serious because of their doing that? It's not to be believed!
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Locking down discussions like this, or removing posts from others is something about Apple's behavior that disturbs me greatly.



    Do they really think that no one will know these problems are occurring, or that they are serious because of their doing that? It's not to be believed!



    Yeah, I remember the same thing happened with the fiasco that occured with the sudden price drop in the iPhone. Can't believe that Apples initial behaviour (in deleting thousands of posts) didn't also get more press.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,747member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Locking down discussions like this, or removing posts from others is something about Apple's behavior that disturbs me greatly.



    Do they really think that no one will know these problems are occurring, or that they are serious because of their doing that? It's not to be believed!



    I agree. I cannot see how they think that this is a good policy. The only reason for locking down threads like that would be if they truly believed that they were non-issues being trumped up by competitors or something.

    Or possibly after a fix had been provided.

    But to just shut them down just hurts their brand image in my book...
  • Reply 4 of 34
    I think I remember Steve Jobs saying that he didn't see the purpose of mulitouch on a desktop. I think it was at the "All Things Digital" shindig with Billy G. However, in light of that, and their recent patents ... I do believe it will be coming the track pad and mouse. Whats the sense of reaching up to the screen?... who knows ... maybe I'm wrong. Although, I don't think we should over look the fact that we can be more efficient with a mouse. You can move further and faster without as much physical effort. Yes, yes, I've seen Jeff Han's presentations and Microsoft's Milan... they're cute and all, but I think that gestures on the mouse/trackpad is where things are headed.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by HyteProsector View Post


    I think I remember Steve Jobs saying that he didn't see the purpose of mulitouch on a desktop. I think it was at the "All Things Digital" shindig with Billy G. However, in light of that, and their recent patents ... I do believe it will be coming the track pad and mouse. Whats the sense of reaching up to the screen?... who knows ... maybe I'm wrong. Although, I don't think we should over look the fact that we can be more efficient with a mouse. You can move further and faster without as much physical effort. Yes, yes, I've seen Jeff Han's presentations and Microsoft's Milan... they're cute and all, but I think that gestures on the mouse/trackpad is where things are headed.



    Personally, trackpads irritate me, I do think it's because of a limited range of motion. I don't know about others, but in some ways, I don't seem to "fit" moving body parts over such a tiny range of useable motion. Gestures can already be done on trackpads, I'm sure there's a haxie somewhere if you want to do that.



    What Steve says doesn't really mean anything. It could be a diversion.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    Any idea what the current failure rate is on 20's and 24's? and what is Apple's position if your unit is faulty?
  • Reply 7 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,330member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by HyteProsector View Post


    I think I remember Steve Jobs saying that he didn't see the purpose of mulitouch on a desktop. I think it was at the "All Things Digital" shindig with Billy G. However, in light of that, and their recent patents ... I do believe it will be coming the track pad and mouse. Whats the sense of reaching up to the screen?... who knows ... maybe I'm wrong. Although, I don't think we should over look the fact that we can be more efficient with a mouse. You can move further and faster without as much physical effort. Yes, yes, I've seen Jeff Han's presentations and Microsoft's Milan... they're cute and all, but I think that gestures on the mouse/trackpad is where things are headed.



    If we counted up all of the things he said wouldn't work, or be a good idea, we would have half of Apple's current product line.



    I always wonder what Jobs is actually meaning when he poo poos a product, or catagory.



    It could be marketing, a sort of reverse vaporware. Instead of announcing a product that never comes to light or only does years later, in the hope of making people wait for yours, rather than buying the competition's, this way is different.



    He says that no one will ever want to use a product like that, in the hope that no one will begin to make them?until Apple's bursts upon the scene, and suddenly, it's the only right way to do it.



    Only two people would ever think of doing that, Jobs, and of course, myself.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by HyteProsector View Post


    I think I remember Steve Jobs saying that he didn't see the purpose of mulitouch on a desktop. I think it was at the "All Things Digital" shindig with Billy G. However, in light of that, and their recent patents ... I do believe it will be coming the track pad and mouse. Whats the sense of reaching up to the screen?... who knows ... maybe I'm wrong. Although, I don't think we should over look the fact that we can be more efficient with a mouse. You can move further and faster without as much physical effort. Yes, yes, I've seen Jeff Han's presentations and Microsoft's Milan... they're cute and all, but I think that gestures on the mouse/trackpad is where things are headed.



    I think it might add something, but it would be a bit of a gimmick, unless it was some sort of combination laptop/tablet, where is would find some use. I think we'll probably see a larger iPod touch sort of machine, coming some way between a Mac and the iPod. With Bluetooth you could add a mouse and a keyboard in a desktop situation (with the unit in a stand) and use it as a tablet when on the go. This would probably be quite useful. Longer term Apple's probably looking to stretch its portable product line between the iPhone at one extreme and laptops at the other. With flash storage in laptops you can see where this might go. Adding touch screens to laptops might provide compatibility so that touch software could run normally on all portable devices.



    It'll be interesting to see what happens in January. If we see a larger iPod touch and a flash based laptop, which we probably will, then it would suggest that one day the two might meet somewhere in the middle.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    I personally doubt that there will be a trackpad as we've known it. I'd rather predict that the whole "chin" of the laptop will remain a single piece -- smooth across -- but that it will function in a multi-touch type way. Gestures, many fingers at once, etc.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    I agree with melgross.



    If this is true, this is stunningly arrogant on Apple's part. This is simply tantamount to treating their customers like crap.



    It is when stuff like this happens, that I go, "well, there are times when only (bite my lip) a lawsuit will get someone's attention in Cupertino."
  • Reply 11 of 34
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    • 11" display, really thin (around 15mm) and pretty light.

    • Silver, aluminum rear, chrome rim, glass front.

    • Built in iSight.

    • Tiny pop-out (and push-in) stand / rest on rear top quarter.

    • Subtle, light-gray rubber grips / pads for protection, for hand-grip and to hide antennas.

    • No sharp edges + very classy, minimal and understated looking.

    • Fully Multi-touch input with a wholly, modified OS - "especially for fingers".

    • Stylus sold separately, for intricate work if that's your thing.

    • No optical drive at all.

    • Comes with dock and syncs through iTunes.

    • Possibly to be able to be used as a digital picture frame also.

    • Possible tag-line: "Take some work with you."

    • Targeted at desktop users, and people who own only a 15+" Mac notebook as their main home or work computer.

    • Solid state storage, 64GB and 128GB versions.

    • Only one screen size.

    • NO BUILT-IN SLIDE-OUT OR FLIP-OUT HARDWARE KEYBOARD!!!!!

    • Named: Mac touch!

    *Puts crystal ball away*
  • Reply 12 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    If we counted up all of the things he said wouldn't work, or be a good idea, we would have half of Apple's current product line.



    I always wonder what Jobs is actually meaning when he poo poos a product, or catagory.



    It could be marketing, a sort of reverse vaporware. Instead of announcing a product that never comes to light or only does years later, in the hope of making people wait for yours, rather than buying the competition's, this way is different.



    He says that no one will ever want to use a product like that, in the hope that no one will begin to make them—until Apple's bursts upon the scene, and suddenly, it's the only right way to do it.



    Only two people would ever think of doing that, Jobs, and of course, myself.





    and me! I love to talk nonsense or act dumb when someone asks about a secret product im working on. All part of the game
  • Reply 13 of 34
    mydomydo Posts: 1,888member
    I would be kind of cool to replace the keyboard area of a notebook with a multitouch display. That way you could use that area to display stuff other than just a keyboard. You can modify the interface there anyway you want. No keyboard, keyboard only, keyboard plus track pad. Put widgets on the palm rests?



    It may be hard to type on?
  • Reply 14 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mydo View Post


    I would be kind of cool to replace the keyboard area of a notebook with a multitouch display. That way you could use that area to display stuff other than just a keyboard. You can modify the interface there anyway you want. No keyboard, keyboard only, keyboard plus track pad. Put widgets on the palm rests?



    It may be hard to type on?



    See this is what I have been considering also, I think it would be fine to type on. It will happen and I look forward to buying it, using it.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,330member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    • 11" display, really thin (around 15mm) and pretty light.

    • Silver, aluminum rear, chrome rim, glass front.

    • Built in iSight.

    • Tiny pop-out (and push-in) stand / rest on rear top quarter.

    • Subtle, light-gray rubber grips / pads for protection, for hand-grip and to hide antennas.

    • No sharp edges + very classy, minimal and understated looking.

    • Fully Multi-touch input with a wholly, modified OS - "especially for fingers".

    • Stylus sold separately, for intricate work if that's your thing.

    • No optical drive at all.

    • Comes with dock and syncs through iTunes.

    • Possibly to be able to be used as a digital picture frame also.

    • Possible tag-line: "Take some work with you."

    • Targeted at desktop users, and people who only own a 15+" Mac notebook as their main home or work computer.

    • Solid state storage, 64GB and 128GB versions.

    • Only one screen size.

    • NO BUILT-IN SLIDE-OUT OR FLIP-OUT HARDWARE KEYBOARD!!!!!

    *Puts crystal ball away*



    PRICE= Between $2,500 and $4,000.



    With those specs, who is going to buy this?
  • Reply 16 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,330member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    and me! I love to talk nonsense or act dumb when someone asks about a secret product im working on. All part of the game



    Of course!
  • Reply 17 of 34
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    PRICE= Between $2,500 and $4,000.



    With those specs, who is going to buy this?



    You may be wrong about those pricing guesstimates, way wrong.



    If Apple made a gamble with Sammy, and bought 1,000,000 of those 64GB (or those secret 128GB) SSD's, they would get them for a hell of a lot cheaper than anyone could imagine. And yes, by-Joe I do see 1,000,000 of these things selling, heck I can see 10,000,000 of them selling over the next 5 years.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,330member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mydo View Post


    I would be kind of cool to replace the keyboard area of a notebook with a multitouch display. That way you could use that area to display stuff other than just a keyboard. You can modify the interface there anyway you want. No keyboard, keyboard only, keyboard plus track pad. Put widgets on the palm rests?



    It may be hard to type on?



    I think it's more a matter of what we're used to, and how it's implemented.



    Someone here once cited a "study" in which experienced typists used a regular keyboard, and another group of experienced typists used a planar keyboard. After some time, I don't remember how long, but it was a somewhat decent number, weeks, I think, they tested typing speed, and accuracy.



    To little surprise on my part, those who used the regular keyboard did much better. But, just as in real life, the test had a major flaw.



    By using experienced typists on both the control, and the test subjects, something was inserted into the experiment that biased it to the point of invalidation.



    People who are good at something, particularly when there is a physical component, acquire muscle memory. That is, because of constant practice, they don't need to concentrate on the task. A good typist reads what they are copying, and pays little or no attention to the keyboard.



    So, with this test, the control group was simply validating their skills, and muscle memory.



    But, the test subjects were also doing the same thing, to their frustration. Before they could "learn" the new planar keyboard, they first had to UNLEARN their skill with a standard keyboard. they then had to RELEARN typing on this new, very different model.



    Not a valid test process.



    The experiment should have started with two groups who had never typed before, and then given each group its keyboard. The problem is also a question of how long the experiment goes on. Just how long does it take to really learn to keyboard properly? I've read that it can take at least 6 months, and as long as two years.



    This makes an experiment very difficult to implement.



    But, it would give us a good idea of what to really expect.



    The other problem is that the hardware and software for planar keyboards is advancing at a rapid rate. So, which system does one test? And will the test be valid at the end if the devices have improved meanwhile?



    Well, all of that was merely to give some weight to the point that we use these planar keyboards and say that they're uncomfortable, and that they are too mistake prone. But, is that true? Is it just that we have a memory of typing that we can't give up because in our lives, we are using regular keyboards AND then using these planar ones as well?



    I wonder how kids would do when presented with modern planar keyboards based on, say, Apple's multitouch with the software that the iPhone/iTouch uses from the very beginning, rather than a standard keyboard.



    Perhaps they will do better?
  • Reply 19 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,330member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    You may be wrong about those pricing guesstimates, way wrong.



    If Apple made a gamble with Sammy, and bought 1,000,000 of those 64GB (or those secret 128GB) SSD's, they would get them for a hell of a lot cheaper than anyone could imagine. And yes, by-Joe I do see 1,000,000 of these things selling, heck I can see 10,000,000 of them selling over the next 5 years.



    I MAY be wrong, but I don't think so.



    Just how much do you think an 11" multitouch screen would cost?



    What kind of technology would Apple need to make a computer that runs at an acceptable speed if it's 15 mm thick?



    Do you really think that Apple would take the chance of buying a million drives that will still cost them enough that the retail price at point of sale in the computer would still be around $800?



    And what about that 128GB drive? would you say now that it would cost Apple $1,600 or more (most likely more)?



    Don't think pleasantly low. Just look around at the prices these thing are actually selling for.



    Don't forget that Apple has the iTouch with a screen that's got perhaps a 50th of the screen area that you are looking at. They also get very good prices for the Flash because they paid for large amounts at the beginning.



    But, the tiny iTouch costs $400. Any reasonable scale-up with much more powerful processing, and a much larger battery (MUCH larger) would cost far far more.



    And, how can they get a battery with sufficient power in a computer with that much inside, in such little thickness? I don't see it.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    You may be wrong about those pricing guesstimates, way wrong.



    If Apple made a gamble with Sammy, and bought 1,000,000 of those 64GB (or those secret 128GB) SSD's, they would get them for a hell of a lot cheaper than anyone could imagine. And yes, by-Joe I do see 1,000,000 of these things selling, heck I can see 10,000,000 of them selling over the next 5 years.



    If this product happens, is there any need for such 'large' amounts of memory?

    I dont think this device will be targeted for long term memory storage, it's just an add-on to your existing mac (or PC?).

    Much of the data could even be stored/retrieved online if need be.



    Also (if the market requirements suggested large memory storage), what benefit would there be to go fully solid state at this stage? To keep costs down (which they will need to for it to be a winner) why not use oldskool tech.





    I have been into much depth on this website (or another i forget) a while back as to what I would like to see, but to recap..



    7" or 8" touch screen portable wifi internet browser, email receive/sending via 'full on-screen' keyboard. A pdf/doc/txt/rtf viewer. iCal, address book, dictionary, calculator

    Chuck in Pages/Numbers (or cut down versions) and the business market will be salivating.

    Encourage game developers.

    40gb internal storage. USB memory (or similar) could hold additional external data, and future proof the device. Online data storage. Streaming. And 'synching' with your current computer could keep internal memory requirements to a minimum.

    There is no reason why this machine could not retrieve 2G /3G data, maybe through your existing iphone contract for a small fee.

    HDMI, 1 x USB 2.0,

    This device is not pocket sized, its briefcase/bag/rucksack/glovebox/handbag sized.

    This product could seriously 'slice and dice' and be attractive to many markets.

    < $999 pricetag (dependent on features)

    Is there any reason this device could not be sold for $500? the 7" touchscreen is the only costly component, most of the other components have been available in Apple TV for the past year for $400 (or whatever it is, I haven't checked)



    I think we should consider this as iPhones big brother, a product which blurs the line between cell phones and traditional computers, rather than seen as standalone laptop substitute. Media streaming potential should be plugged massively also.





    MARKETS: Media Streaming, Mobile Internet/Email, Business/Organiser, E-Book Reader, Gaming (to small extent)
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