Innovation occurs in hardware

14 February 2006

Innovation occurs in hardware.

I’m not saying that innovation can’t occur in software. Look at Rails and thingamy. They’re both innovative, but they both also solve real world problems.

And that’s the key. Innovative software has to solve real world (hardware) problems.

Now go look at this video.

Multitouch technology has been around for a while. See Lemur and DViT. But it’s not going to be innovative until it solves a real world problem. So what kinds of things would multitouch be good for?

Anything where the interface, and the user’s interaction with it, can mimic how they’d manipulate things in the real world.

Sound, video, and photo editing. You’ve got jog dials, sliders, pallets, and buttons. You can zoom, pan, rotate, and crop.

File organization. You’ve got an infinite virtual desktop, and it’s all spatially organized. Things live in piles, and you can spread out the contents of those piles to see what’s inside them.

Document design. You can cut, paste, grow, shrink, and slide, text and images into whatever kind of layout you want. Doing a two column layout is easy; you adjust the edges of the container and let the text flow in to fill it.

Keyboards and mice are good for text input and precision clicking. But that’s not how we interact with the real world. And it’s not how we should interact with our computers.

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