Windows 7 starts race with Apple to full multi-touch desktop OS

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The first public showing of Microsoft's next major Windows update reveals an operating system with a familiar-looking dock and a more than slight emphasis on multi-touch displays.



Demonstrated at the Wall Street Journal's D6 Conference, Windows 7 is described by observers from the newspaper as having a touch interface recognizable to "anyone who’s ever used an iPhone."



Similar to what was demonstrated a year ago with the Surface table -- as well as applications preloaded on the iPhone -- the operating system will let users zoom into and rotate photos or maps using natural finger-based gestures, including pinching and flicking. Users can also draw multiple points at once a new version of Paint.



There will also be hooks for multi-touch throughout the entire Windows interface, Microsoft's Julie Larson-Green has said while demonstrating the technology, although none of these have been demonstrated at this early stage. The software is being built with multiple simultaneous users in mind now that touchscreens and other peripherals free users from being tied to a keyboard.



"In the next few years, the roles of speech, gesture, vision, ink, all of those will become huge," adds Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.







The technology to implement the feature outside of the multi-thousand-dollar Surface is already getting close, according to Larson-Green. An example Dell Latitude XT modified to recognize multiple inputs can already perform some of the functions with reasonable accuracy, while a larger desktop LCD smaller than the Surface is closer to Microsoft's intended experience.



While such technologies are expected to ultimately filter into most computer technology over time, their appearance at D6 effectively begins a race between Apple and Microsoft to commercialize a fully multi-touch desktop operating system. Apple is the first of the two to put any multi-touch product into the market with 2007's iPhone, but the Mac maker has so far limited its computer support to an enhanced trackpad for certain MacBooks that has only a handful of uses in Finder as well as some built-in apps, such as iPhoto.



The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm has all the same taken early steps to develop and patent forms of multi-touch that would extend to a whole software platform, including pressure-sensitive screens as well as unique advanced multi-touch surfaces that would be used for typing in addition to gesture input. The iPhone by itself has over 200 associated patents, many of which relate to its multi-touch display.



Whichever of the two wins the contest for touch interfaces, Microsoft may also have to explain a more conventional similarity in Windows 7 when it arrives as soon as late 2009. The still very young operating system features a revamped, more colorful taskbar and the conspicuous addition of a Mac OS X-like dock for quickly managing apps.



"Multi-touch and a Dock. In Windows," comments the Journal's John Paczkowski. "Steve Jobs would be proud."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 106
    Imagine a virus being able to steal your fingerprints or give you an electric shock, Ladies and Gentlemen...Welcome to Windows 7
  • Reply 2 of 106
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IAmMacUser View Post


    Imagine a virus being able to steal your fingerprints or give you an electric shock, Ladies and Gentlemen...Welcome to Windows 7



  • Reply 3 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IAmMacUser View Post


    Imagine a virus being able to steal your fingerprints or give you an electric shock, Ladies and Gentlemen...Welcome to Windows 7



    hahaha very funny

    i love how the lady kept on referring to the iphone, made me feel good knowing i own several apple products
  • Reply 4 of 106
    svesan03svesan03 Posts: 61member
    Anyone who would use anything Microsoft makes unless they absolutely, positively had to must be nuts, or, retired with too much time on their hands. I dream of the day when the two programs I need for my work become web based and I can finally take my copy of Windows out and put a bullet in its brain.



    Mind you, I'm surprised the demo went off at all, I saw the demo on their speech recognition software, THAT was hilarious!
  • Reply 5 of 106
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,215member
    When MS starts hyping a feature you know it's become passe.



    The race to make a fully multi-touch desktop is absolutely absurd. Geez thanks

    you've turned my computer into a Kiosk. I'm impressed.



    Tell me why I would rather reach up and take two fingers and pinch or extend them to resize a picure when a mouse click in the area and a scroll of the mouse wheel could do the same thing with less effort?



    Is this really what "innovation" has come to? You mean to tell me that the thousands of 1500+ SAT Comp Sci students over the years have put their thinking caps on for this?



    Clearly MS has lost their minds and if Apple is trying to push the same absurdity they've lost theirs as well. Multi touch desktops are an anathema to ergonomic computing if you're talking about computing on a vertical surface. It's just a horrible idea.



    Someone today with a rotator cuff injury could still compute. They certainly couldn't multi touch on a vertical screen without severe pain.



    Multi touch is fine on a small portable device where you want to eschew a keyboard and mouse but makes absolutey NO sense on a deskop.



    "Have IQs suddenly dropped while I was away?"



    Lt Ripley
  • Reply 6 of 106
    11thindian11thindian Posts: 181member
    For desktops, Apple's solution might be closer than anyone thinks. What's to stop Steve from unleashing a mult-touch "keyboard/screen" onto the public within the next year? As a USB peripheral, people would just need to buy it and install the software update which enables the functionality.



    MacPro's, iMac's, and Mini's would immediately be able to upgrade; while laptops would have to wait for a hardware revision which would essentially see two screens instead of a screen and a keyboard.



    I can't wait for this. Customized interfaces that suit every application.



    Bring it on!
  • Reply 7 of 106
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    When MS starts hyping a feature you know it's become passe.



    The race to make a fully multi-touch desktop is absolutely absurd. Geez thanks

    you've turned my computer into a Kiosk. I'm impressed.



    Tell me why I would rather reach up and take two fingers and pinch or extend them to resize a picure when a mouse click in the area and a scroll of the mouse wheel could do the same thing with less effort?



    Is this really what "innovation" has come to? You mean to tell me that the thousands of 1500+ SAT Comp Sci students over the years have put their thinking caps on for this?



    Clearly MS has lost their minds and if Apple is trying to push the same absurdity they've lost theirs as well. Multi touch desktops are an anathema to ergonomic computing if you're talking about computing on a vertical surface. It's just a horrible idea.



    Someone today with a rotator cuff injury could still compute. They certainly couldn't multi touch on a vertical screen without severe pain.



    Multi touch is fine on a small portable device where you want to eschew a keyboard and mouse but makes absolutey NO sense on a deskop.



    "Have IQs suddenly dropped while I was away?"



    Lt Ripley



    You make some nice points, but in all fairness the lady who demoed the multi-touch features did mention that it would complement the traditional input methods, ie. mouse and keyboard.



    How about a touch pad to use for multi-touch input? I do think Apple will use mt as an input method on all its computers in some fashion. I also believe they will do it differently than MS and hopefully better and more thought out.



    I can't wait to see 10.6.
  • Reply 8 of 106
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    Begun the Touch Wars have between Microsoft and Apple. Survive only one will.
  • Reply 9 of 106
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    I don't think Apple cares if Microsoft is the first to the table with touch screen PC's because Apple already has the iPhone, which is OS X.



    Most of the public is not ready for a multi-touch Windows 7 PC. It may be built in, but most people won't use it except on small devices.



    Who gives a flying fu** about Bill's multi-touch extravaganza. Just get the damn OS into the modern ages and working right. No, wait.... they put MinWin off until 2013. The world will have to stick with Vista and Vista 2 until then.
  • Reply 10 of 106
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    You make some nice points, but in all fairness the lady who demoed the multi-touch features did mention that it would complement the traditional input methods, ie. mouse and keyboard.



    How about a touch pad to use for multi-touch input? I do think Apple will use mt as an input method on all its computers in some fashion. I also believe they will do it differently than MS and hopefully better and more thought out.



    I can't wait to see 10.6.



    I just wonder aloud "at what cost to consumers?"



    Multi touch screens rank pretty low on my desirability scale but screens with a larger gamut of colors and higher PPI rank high.



    Applications that are responsive under all situations rank highly with me. Applications that rotate and shuffle pictures around with my finger input do not.



    This is attempting to recreate the wheel. I'm sure it'll complement current input methods but if multi touch is a game changer i'll gladly eat my words 5 years from now.
  • Reply 11 of 106
    Think the touch screen could be useful for artists in using digital sculpting programs like Zbrush. Seems like a solid alternate to buying one of those 2 grand wacom tablet. Other than that it, would take some convincing to purchase. Seems like reaching out to touch on the screen would require far more effort than just clicking and dragging with the old-fashioned mouse.
  • Reply 12 of 106
    phlakephlake Posts: 91member
    The thing that I dislike most about Microsoft's solution is the apparent disconnect between the actual touches and what happens onscreen.



    For example, on the iPhone, try enlarging an image. Your fingers will stay in about the same place in the image. If you started on a face and a hand, you will end on a face and a hand.



    Everything I've seen from Microsoft seems to just use the gesture, not the locations. Look in the video at the enlarging images: the pictures grow disproportionately quickly.



    I think that touch is best used for the direct manipulation of data. Redmond apparently disagrees.
  • Reply 13 of 106
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    I'll have to agree with hmurchison here...the utility of multitouch for desktop is extremly low...even on custom apps that would make fascinating use of multitouch such as paint apps or photo organization apps, nobody in their right mind would have their hands on their desktop display for more than a few seconds before getting tired.



    Multitouch works better on small surfaces. Microsoft is barking up the wrong tree with their multitouch ventures.



    Two things wrong with what they demoed:



    1. Both hands reaching a screen to zoom in on pictures and rotate them. As hmurchison has said, nobody's gonna prefer that method over the mouse because the effort involved is an order of magnitude greater.



    2. The concept of the demo itself is flawed considering spatial handling organization of pictures is absolutely the last thing on anyone's mind. People prefer apps like Picassa, iPhoto, Aperture, etc. because they take care of the organization for the user. We're moving *away* from spatial organization. Computers are here to solve spatial problems that we're confronted with in the real world. Bad demo...MS could have picked something that made more sense to show off the multitouch feature.
  • Reply 14 of 106
    minimoeminimoe Posts: 14member
    Windows 7... carrying on a long tradition of copying Apple.
  • Reply 15 of 106
    retroneoretroneo Posts: 240member
    The XO-2, scheduled for 2010 is the best concept yet. Dual multi-touch displays that can be used as a keyboard too. You can open it like a book as well as an e book reader. Nice.



    I think this is the direction Apple will head. Nov 2009 MacBook Pro with dual multi-touch displays and Mac OS X 10.6??



    Apple will no longer need to produce a different computer with a different keyboard for each country too!



    [CENTER][/CENTER]
  • Reply 16 of 106
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    This video was cringeworthy!! It was embarrassing for MS. All the lagging, a number of touches not responding to the girls finger, repeat mentioning of the iPhone, nothing in any way revolutionary. I almost couldn't watch it. Poor Bill, we feel for you. What in the heck was that keyboard on the screen? It looked like bloody 8bit graphics.
  • Reply 17 of 106
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by retroneo View Post


    The XO-2, scheduled for 2010 is the best concept yet. Dual multi-touch displays that can be used as a keyboard too. You can open it like a book as well as an e book reader. Nice.



    I think this is the direction Apple will head. Nov 2009 MacBook Pro with dual multi-touch displays and Mac OS X 10.6??



    Apple will no longer need to produce a different computer with a different keyboard for each country too!



    [CENTER][/CENTER]



    Dual screens eat twice the battery life. That is reason alone to forget about that idea. No, I think the tablet is where it's at. If done right it could take away some of the notebook market which will stay around for years to come.



    I hate to keep on reminding people, but... shall we say, Mac touch FTW!



  • Reply 18 of 106
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 11thIndian View Post


    For desktops, Apple's solution might be closer than anyone thinks. What's to stop Steve from unleashing a mult-touch "keyboard/screen" onto the public within the next year? As a USB peripheral, people would just need to buy it and install the software update which enables the functionality.



    MacPro's, iMac's, and Mini's would immediately be able to upgrade; while laptops would have to wait for a hardware revision which would essentially see two screens instead of a screen and a keyboard.



    I can't wait for this. Customized interfaces that suit every application.



    Bring it on!



    I think if any "computer" came out as a touch screen it would be redesigned kinda in the triangular shape of a keyboard only extended with a slight swoop upwards and outwards of the "monitor" with some nice "curve" appeal" (c'mon Jonathon Ives), but both pretty much laying flat on your desk. The keyboard would not have physical keys but like the multi-touch keyboard of the iPhone and the screen would have to be flat on the table, otherwise who wants to be raising their arms all the time to use their fingers to gesture the icons and such. So we get rid of the keyboard and mouse and have an iMac like all in one unit but not standing vertically upright as an iMac screen looks now but as if you took the iMac and laid it flat on top of you desk. Of course instead of carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists you'd always have a crick in your neck from constantly looking down.



    Anyone else out there have a design idea as to how to make a multi touch, touch screen computer/laptop? What would yours look like?
  • Reply 19 of 106
    labrats5labrats5 Posts: 17member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Dual screens eat twice the battery life. That is reason alone to forget about that idea. No, I think the tablet is where it's at. If done right it could take away some of the notebook market which will stay around for years to come.



    I hate to keep on reming people, but Mac touch FTW!







    Um... what? the screen is no longer the main energy draw for a laptop. Not by a long shot. And the situation will get even better once OLED becomes affordable in the next few years. besides, two screens with total surface area X will not consume much more power than a single monitor with surface area X, so if this technology stays on smaller laptops (which seems to be the case) I don't see the energy requirements being absurd. Abandoning rotating hard drives and optical drives more than makes up for it in terms of battery life.



    Mind you, I still think it's a terrible idea, but not for that reason.
  • Reply 20 of 106
    alandailalandail Posts: 689member
    some of the comments in this discussion sound a lot like the comments 24 years ago about the mouse. The mouse never replaced the keyboard, but it sure did a heck of a job supplementing it and making computers both easier to use and more functional. Touch/multitouch has the potential to advance user interface in much the same way.



    Forget the MS demo, which was awful (I love how when the reporters weren't saying "works like like an iPhone", they asked about the new mac style dock) and instead just look at the Mac and the iPhone.



    Both have cover flow - it's a heck of a lot easier to use coverflow on the iPhone than on the Mac - i.e. you don't need to hit a scroll bar with a mouse to start moving through the list, you just flip through with your finger. And after nearly a year of using an iPhone, I have yet to wish I could hook a mouse up to it.



    Both have safari - one works with mouse and keyboard, the other works with multi-touch. Both UIs work quite well. And again, it would certainly be easier to scroll safari on the mac if you could just flip it with your finger instead of having to hit the scroll bar with the mouse to get started.



    And just because the iPhone has a small screen doesn't at all mean multi-touch is only suited for a small screen. My #1 desired feature in a future iPhone would be a larger screen, which would make Safari, Mail, Maps, iPod, etc, all work even better.



    Apple didn't do an iPhone first because they don't thing multi-touch would work on a desktop computer, they did it first because it was a huge untapped market where they could innovate and there was no legacy installed codebase to deal with during a transition period.



    Just as MacOS X runs the iPhone, I'm sure Cocoa Touch runs on prototype macs in Apple's labs, and not just in an iPhone emulator.
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