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Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops

timothy posted about a year ago | from the too-soon? dept.

Displays 526

theodp writes "Don't believe everything Steve Jobs and Tim Cook tell you, advises The Verge's Sean Hollister. Gunshy of touchscreen laptops after hearing the two Apple CEOs dismiss the technology (Jobs: 'Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical.' Cook: 'You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not gonna be pleasing to the user.'), Hollister was surprised to discover that Windows 8 touchscreen laptops actually don't suck and that the dreaded 'Gorilla Arm Syndrome' did not materialize. 'The more I've used Windows 8, despite its faults, the more I've become convinced that touchscreens are the future — even vertical ones,' writes Hollister. 'We've been looking at this all wrong. A touchscreen isn't a replacement for a keyboard or mouse, it's a complement.' Echoing a prediction from Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood that 'it is only a matter of time before all laptops must be touch laptops,' Hollister wouldn't be surprised at all if Apple eventually embraces-and-extends the tech: 'Microsoft might have validated the idea, but now Apple has another chance to swoop in, perfecting and popularizing the very interface that it strategically ridiculed just two years ago. It wouldn't be the first time. After all, how many iPad minis come with sandpaper for filing fingers down?'"

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526 comments

Greetings! (-1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year ago | (#42158723)

Folks, let's remember one thing.

Now that we have remembered one thing, let's remember another.

Now that we have remembered another thing, let's try not to forget the first thing we remembered, because if we did, what would be the point of remembering it in the first place?

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!

It's very possible (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#42158725)

It's very possible that the reason we think touchscreen laptops are a bad idea has nothing to do with Steve Jobs or Apple.

Re:It's very possible (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158789)

It's very possible it has more to do with cheetos

Re:It's very possible (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158913)

This. How come no other comments mention this? I don't want to clean oily fingers off my screen all day, every day. Natural oils, not even junk food. I can deal with this on my phone, but not the devices I read/write large blocks of text into 8 (who am I kidding, 14) hours a day....

Re:It's very possible (3, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about a year ago | (#42158985)

Honestly, I though the Cheetos factor would sink the iPad, too. Didn't happen.

Re:It's very possible (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159129)

All my cool, metrosexual, and hot chick classmates have an ipad. None of my cheetos-eating, basement-dwelling, nerd virgin classmates have an iPad.

Re:It's very possible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159085)

If you can't bother to keep your hands clean when using your/a computer, you're probably also too fat or fapping too much.

Re:It's very possible (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#42158827)

It's also very possible that the Asus Transformer range showed that a good touchscreen tablet/laptop combo is a useful bit of gear well before "Microsoft might have validated the idea".

What's the obsession with pretending Apple and Microsoft are the only computer vendors on Slashdot? Most of the stuff they do has been done before and better by more interesting companies.

Let's face facts, W8 is tanking because it's dull and irritating. Why keep talking it up here?

Re:It's very possible (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158867)

Asus Transformer, all 13 geeks who bought them love them!

Re:It's very possible (1)

GeoBain (1954832) | about a year ago | (#42158941)

Make that 14. I use the keyboard maybe a third of the time. But when I do, using the touchscreen along with a wireless mouse is a nice combo.

Re:It's very possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159061)

Using an Apple magic touch mouse, with Better-Touch-Tools to set up some custom macros, I find that I now really only grab the keyboard for typing.
If I want notifications, I three finger swipe down on the mouse. For task switching, I two finger swipe left or right, or threefinger swipe up for expose. For LaunchPad, I just tap over the apple icon on the mouse.
On my desktop though, I do keep the 24" widescreen too far back for comfortably touch the screen, but on my 13" laptop it would be great. Especially as the trackpad is so bad.

Re:It's very possible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159125)

three finger swipe down

That's what she said!
She was then immediately removed from my house, and I am now celibate.

Re:It's very possible (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#42158943)

Partly true. The original Transformer sold (and still sells AFAIK) at a rate of about 400,000 units a month. That doesn't compare with the nearly 1,000,000 Nexus 7 units a month Asus are selling.

It's not bad compared to other manufacturers though, or even the PC market, which is collapsing with a 21% fall in sales.

There was even a rare story about Asus [slashdot.org] here!

Re:It's very possible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159049)

The original Transformer sold (and still sells AFAIK) at a rate of about 400,000 units a month.

Citation needed please.

Re:It's very possible (0)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#42158971)

Missing a few zeroes there. Even I looked at the Transformer, it's a nice machine. And it's made by a company that has been batting well above average; I've been specc'ing Crosshair motherboards into my machines because the quality is there (well, save the on-board sound cards; those drivers are terrible; however, that's a small price to pay for such capacity, and the problem is easily overcome with a discrete soundcard).

Can't remember why we didn't get the Transformer, I think it needed a few more USB ports...we needed to be able to hookup some external hard drives, something like that.

Now if I could only convince them to release a new AMD motherboard that supports 128 GB of RAM, with PCI-E 3.0...

Re:It's very possible (3)

hendridm (302246) | about a year ago | (#42159121)

A shame. My mother owns a Transformer, my brother owns a Transformer and my wife owns a Nexus 7. They barely ever get put down.

I, personally, haven't bought a tablet because I need and prefer a full laptop. However, my next laptop will have a touchscreen because it seems like a nice compliment.

I'm just waiting for a touchscreen laptop that also has a Thunderbolt port (yes, I know /. hates Thunderbolt, but I have a TB monitor, so deal with it). I'm eyeballing the HP Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook [slashgear.com]. My current laptop is getting pretty moldy...

Re:It's very possible (-1, Troll)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#42158957)

What's the obsession with pretending Apple and Microsoft are the only computer vendors on Slashdot? Most of the stuff they do has been done before and better by more interesting companies.

Really? A decent touch screen phone existed before the iPhone and didn't take the market over by storm? A decent tablet existed prior to the iPad and controlled the market and threatened PC sales?

I like your world. I'd be a trillionaire in it.

Re:It's very possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158981)

A lot of us have gotten past any "Microsoft Validation." I've shifted from pirate to Steam gamer, now legally purchased the right to play hundreds of games on Steam. I would have been willing to do the same with Windows this time around, had they not botched it so terribly.

Re:It's very possible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158991)

Um, Windows 8 has already sold more then Windows 7 did in the same out of time. W8 didn't tank, no matter how much you want that to be true. Lenovo Yoga and Surface are selling faster than most stores can stock ... I actually went to go see one in a few different stores only to find they are sold out and waiting on more.

Microsoft's Windows 8 Numbers Meaningless (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#42159081)

Lies, damn lies, and statistics...

Microsoft says it has sold more than 40 million Windows 8 licenses, but the information is worthless in absence of key data the company won't divulge.

We don't know because Microsoft isn't saying. We don't know how many of the 40 million licenses come from low-cost upgrades, from volume licensing sales that kick in automatically, or from direct sales to consumers. And we don't know how many of the 40 million licenses are sitting on systems that have yet to find a buyer.

So why won't Microsoft provide a breakdown? What is it hiding? Its silence speaks volumes or, perhaps more accurately, low volumes.
 

http://www.informationweek.com/software/windows8/microsofts-windows-8-numbers-meaningless/240142865?cid=RSSfeed_IWK_All [informationweek.com]

Re:Microsoft's Windows 8 Numbers Meaningless (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159169)

Sounds like denial to me. Why should Microsoft provide a breakdown? They didn't with Windows 7 when they provided the same metric (licenses sold), and we can directly compare then and now. Fact: Microsoft is selling exponentially more licenses with Windows 8 than it did with Windows 7. Fact: Windows 8 usage has tripled since launch and has already surpassed all versions of desktop Linux combined. Fact: upgrades (the all important direct to consumer) are selling at a faster rate than Windows 7. So you can sit on your suspicions about Microsoft selling 40M licenses for now... but pretty soon that will translate to up-ticks in market share trackers, and all you'll be left with is your conspiracy theories.

Re:It's very possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159027)

I think it is also because most PC laptop track pads are just so awful. The Dell I have for work is almost unusable for scrolling, it often doesnt pick up two fingers for scrolling, then then the scrolling itself is by default far too slow. I carry a mouse and use that a preference. If it had a touch screen, I'd probably forgo the mouse in most cases, but for precisions and detail a proper digitiser and stylus or a good mouse are hard to beat for price and reliability.
However, I allso had a ply with an HP all-in-one with a touchscreen, and when tipped flat, or slightly inclined like an architects drawing board, would make a great artists tool. For this, a huge 27" screen would be great!
For PCs, it really has been a catch-22. Touchscreens of good quality are expensive, and the OS wasnt optimised for touch.
Now screens are much cheaper, and Windows 8 is terrible with a mouse! Touch will come in a big way this year I think.
Also using my ipad and a keyboard - umm, isnt this really just a touch laptop congiuration too?

Useful even before ASuS Transformer, Vadem Clio? (4, Interesting)

linuxtelephony (141049) | about a year ago | (#42159033)

Anyone remember the Vadem Clio/Sharp TriPad? I do. For all it's clunkiness, if it wouldn't had such a problem with audio quality that would have been my first "tablet" (back in 2000 or 2001). [Oblig. wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadem_Clio [wikipedia.org] ] The whine during media playback killed it for me, and I wasn't willing to settle for the price so I ended up returning it. Other than that, and WinCE, it was a very useful device.

I have had the ASuS TF101 plus keyboard now for about a year and I still like it, even if my daughter has taken it over. Plus how many people run the iPad in landscape/vertical using a special case as a stand? I know I do. I can touch type pretty quick on it too (though I prefer it more of a slant then strictly vertical, probably about 60 degrees up from the table). And don't forget about the Lenovo S10-3t convertible? It was the first "laptop" with a touch screen that I've used, and even though the 1024x600 display kills the usability IMO, I still have a hard time putting it up on eBay because I find the touch screen form factor useful in a pinch.

The bottom line is the touch screen laptop is a very usable configuration and I'm surprised it's taken this long to see more of them. I think an almost perfect machine would be something like a macbook air (either 11 or 13 inch), with a quad core i7 (or comparable), 16 gb of RAM, an iPad 3 retina display w/touch for the display, a detachable keyboard (ala Transformer) or possibly rotating keyboard (Vadem Clio, Lenovo Yoga). It should also have 5+ hours of battery life and not get uncomfortably hot. I don't ask for much. :)

Re:It's very possible (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#42159079)

What's the obsession with pretending Apple and Microsoft are the only computer vendors on Slashdot?

Microsoft is a software company, not a computer vendor.

They have a similar advantage that Google has over Apple. Their OS supports multiple different kinds of hardware, so the end user has more flexibility; it doesn't matter to them which computer vendor sells you the solution, and the Android transformer is a boon to Google's platform.

With Apple, you can only have hardware that Apple has specifically designed, which increases cost and limits your flexibility, expandability, and options.

Last I checked, you couldn't even swap a battery on your iPad, and they won't dare provide SD expansion card slots to add memory.

Google android has the disadvantage that the apps are essentially for one kind of CPU -- you don't get the flexibility to run the same code on both desktop OS and on tablet/smart phone; Windows 8 provides this added flexibility.

Re:It's very possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159105)

Let's face facts, W8 is tanking because it's dull and irritating. Why keep talking it up here?

Um... money?

Guess I better run out an buy my next computer before some asshole decides I just HAVE TO HAVE a fucking touchscreen. I don't need that shit, I like my screen to be CLEAN and not be all scratched and fingerprinted up, and that's why I use a real computer, and not a glorified etch-a-sketch that is the iPad and every other machine that wishes you thought it was an iPad.

Get off my LAWN!!!

Re:It's very possible (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158869)

For years I have been telling people, DON'T TOUCH MY SCREEN, and now with Windows 8, people are going to start touching my screen. The Windows 8 UI on the a laptop is a confusing trainwreck. The Windows 8 UI is pretty good on a phone. I hope MS gets a strategy together soon and is able to attract some developers to write some native Windows 8 apps instead of iOS ports. But I digress. MS can spin this however they want, but don't you dare get fingerprints on my screen, oh and stay off my lawn.

Re:It's very possible (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42158975)

It's very possible that the reason we think touchscreen laptops are a bad idea has nothing to do with Steve Jobs or Apple.

I didn't know anyone actually thought they'd be a bad idea, I've wanted one for years. Too bad I don't have the cash to go get one at the moment...

Re:It's very possible (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#42159155)

I don't know why people think touchscreen laptops are a bad idea, but we've had touchscreens for at least two decades in use commercially, and they've never managed to make it past niche markets. It's not because people haven't tried.

Re:It's very possible (1)

hambone142 (2551854) | about a year ago | (#42159117)

I have a tablet and a netbook as well as a couple of laptops and desktops. I find myself using the netbook most of the time. Portable, long battery life, real keyboard (although a little smaller) and a screen that I can read. Tablets are OK for some web browsing however I need to expand the screen to tap on very small hyperlinks. If I hook a keyboard to a tablet, what's the point? I may as well use my netbook. I find the touchscreens on darned near any device a PITA due to their small size and inability to type on them (I do type well).

Re:It's very possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159143)

Does it come with Gangnam area's style?

Let's except touches a practical and superior display technology I keep meaning to set 1 up standing up in my home office but I'm not a big spender so not yet

Um, have you used OSX recently? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158727)

There's a ton of stuff that's basically useless in a non-touch environment (Launchpad, I'm looking at you). It's obvious Apple is planning for it eventually.

Re:Um, have you used OSX recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158945)

Also, the change in scrolling to match iOS devices was done now so that it's not a shock in a few years when they are touch.

Seriously? (3, Insightful)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#42158729)

" I'm not going to touch-type 70 words per minute on a touchscreen keyboard. But when I'm in the cramped quarters of a train, plane, or standing in a line — say, when the only thing standing between a critical email and its recipient is a few dozen words and a tap of the button marked "Send" — I can grab that Windows 8 laptop by its hinged section, one hand on either side of the screen, and tap out that message with my thumbs."

You have to be kidding me. That is the most ridiculous way to type anything on a laptop. Ever.

Re:Seriously? (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#42158813)

Indeed. Think about it -> even in economy class on planes, you have more than enough room for a regular laptop.

I can, however, think of one place where a tablet would work better than a laptop, and that's on a peak SEPTA train. Of course, that's also the kind of train where you probably wouldn't want to take out the tablet, for fear of someone spotting an easy mark.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159089)

Indeed. Think about it -> even in economy class on planes, you have more than enough room for a regular laptop.

you must be skinny. Us fat bastards find economy seating inadequate for comfortable laptop usage.

Re:Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159149)

If you are so fucking fat, then put the laptop on your fat idiot.

Re:Seriously? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#42158845)

I'm confused about this whole article at some level. I love my Transformer Prime (Android tablet with docking keyboard) but when I'm using it in a primarily touch-based fashion, I disconnect the keyboard because its in the way.

Re:Seriously? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year ago | (#42158901)

Not exactly a compelling use case, indeed.

On the other hand, while typing I've noticed it's often faster to quickly jab buttons or perform gestures on the screen than to reach down and use a trackpad.

I agree that most screens will be touch screens...eventually. In the same way that most televisions will be 3D...eventually. It's still primarily a gimmick at this point, but it has some use. As the price goes down and the practical downsides are slowly engineered away, it will become a standard feature and applications will evolve to better use it.

(p.s. I don't own a touch screen laptop, but I do have an iPad with keyboard which works the same way...and, ironically, predates modern touch screen laptops.)

Re:Seriously? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year ago | (#42159087)

Not exactly a compelling use case, indeed.

On the other hand, while typing I've noticed it's often faster to quickly jab buttons or perform gestures on the screen than to reach down and use a trackpad.

I agree that most screens will be touch screens...eventually. In the same way that most televisions will be 3D...eventually. It's still primarily a gimmick at this point, but it has some use. As the price goes down and the practical downsides are slowly engineered away, it will become a standard feature and applications will evolve to better use it.

(p.s. I don't own a touch screen laptop, but I do have an iPad with keyboard which works the same way...and, ironically, predates modern touch screen laptops.)

I think my aversion to the idea is the fact that currently most software makers are demonstrating that they have no sense of moderation when it comes to touchscreens. Almost simultaneously the Ubuntu and Gnome people, Microsoft - hell, everybody - decided that touch must be everywhere! and started running roughshed over their interfaces to force it into every nook and cranny, no matter inappropriate.

So I'm not really expecting the user experience to improve when this happens - instead I'm expecting to find my interface options to lose customizability and basic features.

Steve Jobs didn't write the BIBLE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158733)

He could be wrong, and he could change his mind.

He's not Yahweh - think of him as KRS-ONE - full of contradictions but usually miles ahead of the competition.

Re:Steve Jobs didn't write the BIBLE (5, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#42158759)

No, but he's the principal subject of The Book of Jobs...

The Book of Jobs
The "King Steve" translation

In the beginning, Intel created the microprocessor. And the microprocessor was without form or function, and hobbyists lay across the Valley of Silicon. And the brewers said, "Let there be bytes," and there were bytes. And the evening and the morning were the first wave.

Now Jobs was a man of ambition, and he walked in the way of Technology. And it came to pass that he was in the garden, and there he met with the Wozniak. And the Wozniak said, "Come, let us eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of ones and zeros." But they found the tree was barren of fruit, so Jobs and Wozniak fashioned an Apple that others who came looking for the tree might want to buy.

Now many tasted of the Apple and saw that it was good, and Jobs grew most prosperous. And he fashioned a new apple, which he called Mac, because its pictures were most sweet and because it attracted mice. And there was great rejoicing throughout the Valley of Silicon, and the people clicked their icons and waited for the floppy drive to respond.

The Apple grew large and strong, and Jobs proclaimed himself emperor. And Jobs hired a Sculley to help him care for the garden. And the Sculley brought together the holders of stock and he said unto them, "Verily, this Jobs understandeth not how a major corporation maketh its bread by the sweat of others' brows. So let us bring forth a great flood of water that will rain for forty ticks and forty clock cycles, and let us rid ourselves of him." And the holders of stock cried, "Hosanna!"

PROPHET AND LOSS

So Jobs was cast forth into the wilderness. There he wandered for many years until he dropped down onto his knees, weak with boredom. And he cried out, "Oh, Great CPU, do not forsake me. I have followed in your footsteps since teletypes roamed the Earth, and it hath rewarded me not--except in fame and fortune. Please, Oh Calculating One, give thy humble servant a sign of what to do next."

And lo, the last word he spoke rang in Jobs' ear. And Jobs understood that he must next build a NeXT.

And Jobs built his NeXT of black, and it was one cubit long by one cubit wide by one cubit tall, making it a cubit cubed. And to operate the system he hired many Eunuchs.

So it came to pass that the NeXT was at last ready, and Jobs showed it to the multitudes. And the multitudes were sore impressed by the NeXT's greatness, and they cried hosannas out loud and fell down on their knees and sang songs of praise to Jobs. Then they pulled out their cards of credit and purchased thus great numbers of computers running Windows.

And Jobs, most puzzled by the multitudes, cried out, "I shall stop making my NeXTs of black, and I shall sell the labor of my Eunuchs to those whose machines run Windows." But he did not realize many men were made frightened by Eunuchs, and many women liked them not.

Then Jobs did grow bored of the Valley, and he wandered out into the Point of Richmond, where he looked with envy to the Land of the Holly Wood. And he made for himself a Pixar, or at least he paid others to make it for him. And he said, "If the people will not buy my toys, then I shall tell a story of them and win great Oscar."

THE PRODIGAL FUN

Now it came to pass that as man did buy of machines that ran Windows, the Apple began to shrivel. And as it shriveled, those who holdeth stock did demand the head of the Sculley. And the Sculley was cast out into the wilderness, with naught to keep him warm save a parachute of gold.

But the Apple found no happiness still. For although the Apple's followers did proclaim their love daily and most annoyingly, they continued to leap through Windows in great numbers.

So the holders of stock were filled with great anxiety, and they gnashed their teeth and swore great oaths. And they asked many men of White to fill the sandals left by Jobs and the Sculley. But none were found.

Now there lived at that time a man named Amelio, who could neither sing nor dance, although he was famous throughout the land for turning 'round. So it came to pass that the holders of stock did choose Amelio to lead the Apple to the land of milk and black ink.

And Amelio called forth his minions and said unto them, "Must all good things be invented here? Let us banish that syndrome far beyond the horizons of our vision. And let us next buy NeXT, for surely the people will love the Eunuchs if we present them on a Mac. And verily we shall bring back Jobs as a great hero for all to worship."

And so the prodigal Jobs returned to the Apple, and was given the mighty title of consultant. And he did promise to merge his Eunuchs with the Apple, yea, to make of them a new being called MacEunuch. And Amelio killed the fatted RAM and had it proclaimed throughout the land that all were to rejoice, for the Apple would surely prosper and multiply.

And the multitudes, the Eunuchs, and the holders of stock raised their voices as one as they said as one - "Amen".


Shamelessly Stolen [usd.edu]...

Jobs (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42158743)

"Don't believe everything Steve Jobs and Tim Cook tell you, advises The Verge's Sean Hollister.

Interviewer: "Hey Steve, what do you think about Touchscreen laptops?"
Steve:
Interviewer: "That's amazing Steve. How long do you think before they go on sale?"
Steve:
Interviewer: "Steve, a lot of people seem to think you're wrong. Care to comment?"
Steve:
Interviewer: "Well, that's it for today! Tune in again tomorrow when we ask Abraham Lincoln what he thought about the play he went to!"

Really? (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42158745)

Touchscreens have been around for decades. If pointing your arm at a vertical surface was such a hot idea for 8 hours a day, why have we not seen touchscreens being used everywhere for the last 30 years? NEC had an excellent touchscreen in the mid 80s. This isn't new technology and writing articles presenting it as new tech doesn't make it new.

Gorilla arm exists. Fatigue exists. Keyboards and other stuff are better input devices than touchscreens and probably always will be, except for the times you *can't* have a keyboard or mouse/tablet/trackball/etc., like a factory floor, restaurant, bar, hospital cart in sugery, etc, where dirt, grime, bodily fluids are a threat to operation, or where ease of portability trumps having a better input device, like tablets or phones (styluses are passe).

If touch was so superior for every day use, we'd already be using it.

--
BMO

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | about a year ago | (#42158815)

This is slashdot, so I can forgive you for not reading the article, but for your convenience I'll provide the relevant excerpt here:

When Steve Jobs decried touchscreen laptops in 2010, he was merely relaying the common wisdom of decades of user experience research into "gorilla arm syndrome." Simply put, it's the idea that if you hold out your arm in front of a touchscreen for an extended period of time, it's not going to be particularly comfortable. However, that assumes an awful lot — what if you're not holding your arms out in space waiting to touch things, but resting them comfortably on a keyboard?

We've been looking at this all wrong. A touchscreen isn't a replacement for a keyboard or mouse, it's a complement. If I want to type things on my laptop and have enough room to comfortably open that clamshell and stretch out my arms, the keyboard's still my best bet. I'm not going to touch-type 70 words per minute on a touchscreen keyboard. But when I'm in the cramped quarters of a train, plane, or standing in a line — say, when the only thing standing between a critical email and its recipient is a few dozen words and a tap of the button marked "Send" — I can grab that Windows 8 laptop by its hinged section, one hand on either side of the screen, and tap out that message with my thumbs.

You're issuing a false dilemma by saying that it's all touch or all keyboard/mouse. It can be both, and that's the point of the article. Keyboards are usually better for typing, but using a mouse isn't always easier for pointing, and sometimes using a keyboard isn't convenient. Having touch, mouse, and keyboard all available makes sense, because you can use whichever is best for the situation you're in.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42158887)

Where did I introduce the false dichotomy?

I didn't say that touch is bad. I said it has its place. We could have been using touch in conjunction with keyboards, mice, and other input devices on office desktops for 30 years or more (Touchscreens actually go back a decade or so before that, and light pens even before that), but we haven't. There was no explosion of touch and light pens on the desktop. And as soon as the mouse showed up in large numbers, light pens pretty much disappeared, with LCD display technology putting the final nail in the light-pen coffin.

Because people actually dislike having to poke at a vertical surface all stupid day.

As the guy up in the thread there said, it's not because of Apple and Jobs that we hate touch on vertical surfaces, the hate goes back *much* farther than that.

--
BMO

Re:Really? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year ago | (#42159057)

We could have been using touch in conjunction with keyboards, mice, and other input devices on office desktops for 30 years or more (Touchscreens actually go back a decade or so before that, and light pens even before that), but we haven't.

I think there are many reasons for this... foremost, interface design was focused around adoption of the mouse, which was also met with much criticism when it was introduced in a world of keyboard-centric software. But also, most touchscreens were not as accurate as they are today, and the ones that were as accurate were prohibitively expensive. It wasn't until the 2000s that we got really good mass-market capacitive multi touch displays.

Because people actually dislike having to poke at a vertical surface all stupid day.

You're still not getting it. It's not poking at the screen all day: it's poking at the screen where it makes sense and where/when touch is more convenient. Multi-touch interfaces have a real advantage that cannot be replicated with mouse and keyboard (i.e. to manipulate more than one object at a time). To dismiss this outright seems like dismissing the mouse in the 80s.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158895)

Because keyboards are depreciated, touch/gestures/voice are the future (at least according to Microsoft). You could say the same thing about serial/parallel ports compared to USB.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158997)

You're issuing a false dilemma by saying that it's all touch or all keyboard/mouse. It can be both, and that's the point of the article. Keyboards are usually better for typing, but using a mouse isn't always easier for pointing, and sometimes using a keyboard isn't convenient. Having touch, mouse, and keyboard all available makes sense, because you can use whichever is best for the situation you're in.

No, you're looking at it wrong. The only time you want a touch screen is when you don't have a mouse or keyboard available. The touch screen isn't as good as either of those. It's far worse as a keyboard because it takes up screen space, is probably at an awkward angle, lacks the tactile feedback and is probably limited in how well it can respond to touches. It's worse than a mouse because you can mouse over things, touched the screen blocks your view of the screen and it less accurate than a mouse, and requires greater movement.

The touch screen is a compromise that doesn't work as well as a keyboard, or a mouse, but is a passable replacement for either or both in those times you don't have them. It is sure as hell not a compliment to them, because if you have a keyboard and mouse, you never use the touch screen.

Re:Really? (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#42158837)

Well, it's easy to understand why touch surfaces are now the hotness -> the people promoting them need something, anything to entice customers to buy their latest product; and the people promoting them are not the kinds of people who need to use them for long periods of time to create content.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158905)

... what?

Just because a technology wasn't adopted before today doesn't mean it doesn't have a place. The interfaces to support it must be there. What OS was in such high use in the 80's that had an interface compatible with touch screens?

I use a samsung slate on windows 8(for about a year it was windows 7). It's a touchscreen, I have a mouse and a keyboard to go with it. Sometimes I will use it without either, depending on the situation. Sometimes I use a pen for input due to restrictions or the need to draw (because a keyboard and a mouse in that case are terrible input devices).

However, even when I've got the keyboard and mouse out, I'm often touching the screen (again, even on win7, where the interface was much less optimized for touch). Why? Because I'm not doing strictly "input." I might be switching windows, scrolling, or reading a PDF and would like to zoom in.

Sure, I imagine if people were using their computers 8 hours a day strictly for typing a touch screen would be a terrible idea. That's for the most part not the case. The best part about the touchscreen on my laptop/slate? If I don't want it, it stays out of the way. If I want it or need it, it's right there ready to go.

Gorilla arm doesn't exist with a slate for over a year, at what point should I expect it? Or do you assume that because I've got a touch screen I must use it and only it 100% of the time?

Re:Really? (1)

donweel (304991) | about a year ago | (#42158917)

I don't remember NEC but Hewlett Packard had an IBM compatible that had a touchscreen monitor. I believe was around 1980, it used infra red beam grid. It did not sell. Lets face it taking your hand off the keyboard is non productive. At least the mouse is a shorter distance for your hand. If you are a power user you are going to use a bunch of shell scripts with short names and keyboard macros.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158937)

Because earlier implementations were horrible to use? Alternatively, touchscreen technology was encumbered by patents?

Re:Really? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#42158987)

Complaints about gorilla arm with touch screens come from the same type of people who complain that their wrist gets tired trying to click out a report by using their mouse to click on a virtual keyboard.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159181)

So you are saying RTS isn't real, and everyone is just lazy?
That's not gonna get you very far.

Microsoft never ceases to amaze me (5, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year ago | (#42158751)

Microsoft never ceases to amaze me at their skill in manipulating the press, reviewers of tech, and a certain group of power users into pushing all of this crap down our throats. I take the word of the Independent Software Vendors that have chastised Windows 8 time and time again better than a bunch of pundits working for a bunch of sell-out bloggers and news agencies. Microsoft is a dying empire, with Windows 2000/Office 2000 being it's peak. Ever since then it's been down hill with the occasional plateau. I'm just waiting for someone else to come in and do better. Right now if you're looking to build a whitebox machine and load it up with the latest and greatest, you're going to be full of disappointment.

Re:Microsoft never ceases to amaze me (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#42158915)

MS was doing fine with Windows 7, but their fear is now controlling them. They saw Apple create a new market, one which should have been MS's; would have been, had they only refined the technology. Now they're freaking out, because Ballmer thinks he is having a B. Gates moment -> that moment when Gates realized his company was going to be side-swiped by the internet, and needed to change their strategy to survive; he is not, he is actually having a Marketing moment, similar to a mid-life crisis, when you are worried that because you are not considered the industry darling, you must be doing something wrong, so you start doing something, anything, to get some attention to validate your self-worth. It's the same thing that movie stars / record artists go through after they hit their 'peak'; they may still be on top, but since they measure themselves by relative or dynamic amounts (delta), as opposed to absolute amounts, a lack of change seems like they are failing.

If MS wants a new technology to pioneer, let them pair up with John Romero (or whoever it is) that is working on a new virtual glove interface. That's something that Apple hasn't touched yet, and something which even I am interested in. Tactile (smart metal, using a grid in the palm) feedback gloves, using a Bluetooth connection in each glove, to send and receive 3D information, with a mini-USB cable for charging. Like John, I am disturbed at the lack of progress in this realm, and have been considering building a prototype (I have been designing one) since the price for the components has dropped. This is where MS should be looking, especially since one of ID's people is looking into it. Of course, the question will be, if they do pioneer it, can they make a glove that 1.) works well, 2.) is easy to program for, 3.) integrates into Windows / Office, and 4.) is aesthetically pleasing to look at (the Hipster factor / Apple factor). Or will they wait for Apple to adopt it first, before considering it?

Re:Microsoft never ceases to amaze me (5, Funny)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about a year ago | (#42159015)

It's the same thing that movie stars / record artists go through after they hit their 'peak'; they may still be on top, but since they measure themselves by relative or dynamic amounts (delta), as opposed to absolute amounts, a lack of change seems like they are failing.

Clearly Ballmer's next step should be to hire some storyboard consultants and videographers, and leak a sex tape.

It will probably look better than Windows 8.

Re:Microsoft never ceases to amaze me (4, Insightful)

Keen Anthony (762006) | about a year ago | (#42159077)

I feel this has less to do with Microsoft and more to do with The Verge. Reading the article again, it spends as much time talking about Apple as it does talking about Windows 8 not sucking. Hollister makes a point to mention that Apple did not invent the first MP3 player or the first touchscreen smartphone, or the first graphical user interface, or the first solid state drive in a laptop. As an Apple fan myself, my gut instinct it to just dismiss the statement as typical of Apple haters that sell the fictitious storyline that Apple and Apple's fans claim invention above all else as opposed to taking existing things that aren't being used right and then making them work seamlessly. Then, Hollister immediately follows by pointing out that Apple likes to wait for a technology to mature, then "swoop" in and perfect then popularize it. Putting aside the fact that I've never seen mature MP3 players, GUIs, or touchscreen smartphones prior to Apple getting involved, the writing is designed to generate talk which, in turn, generates clicks.

The article is garbage. It's premise about touchpad laptops not sucking despite what Steve Jobs said isn't even accurate in context. Touch screens have existed for years. Anyone working at a steakhouse now could have pointed that out. Jobs' problem with touchpad laptops in 2010 was that 2010 era laptops were loud, hot, and big. Hand-writing recognition sucked. Jobs was correct. All those Windows powered touch screen laptops did suck, and they didn't want to be used vertically. Almost three years later, things have changed. We have Surface, Transformer, and ultrabook laptops, and higher pixel density screens. So no, NOT surprisingly touch screen laptops don't suck. That said, about the only use I have for a touch screen ultrabook type laptop is by my beside as a kind of info kiosk and Skype interface for when I'm on the road. Anywhere else where I want a laptop, I can use a real laptop with far better performance.

Hollister should have concluded with it a GOTO 10 statement. And as one person above already put it: cheetos. Cheetos are a reason touch screens suck and I don't want them on my laptops. As it is now, I'm constantly polishing my phone and iPad.

I wouldn't count out Microsoft yet. Surface and Windows Phone 8 are exciting. So Microsoft has to settle for being third in the mobile space for a while, so what? There's still Windows and Xbox. The people who use those products either love them or are in some way forced to use them.

Re:Microsoft never ceases to amaze me (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | about a year ago | (#42159103)

Basically this.
Microsoft is a company thats history consists of unethical backstabbing, lack of polish and vaporware. Remember that dual tablet thingy that could have been awesome that disappered into thin air? Some of us sure do. All those amazing Tablets that more or less died because the interface for touch was awful? What sorts of devices that ran Windows CE? The default settings for Windows, and especially Windows update? Netscape? Vista and the OpenGL controversy? AppLocale still being a solution to a silly problem? The Xbox being competetive because its competing?

Its stupid on a laptop or desktop (-1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#42158753)

Keyboard and mouse all the way. Now to prove I am not a middle aged man who hates change I an open to touch on a tiny device that is ultra portable like an IPAD or a Surface. Nothing more than 10 inches max. THe length of the keyboard gets in the way otherwise.

If touch is so awesome why doesn't the Surface Pro include touch support? That is right it has a pen/stylus. No touch. Why is that? Probably because it is bigger than the regular surface and with a keyboard it would mean you would need to stretch forward.

Re:Its stupid on a laptop or desktop (5, Informative)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | about a year ago | (#42158797)

The Surface Pro does include touch support - 10 point multitouch [microsoft.com], in fact. It happens to also have an active digitizer to support pen input. It can do both.

The fact that you didn't know that implies that you really have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Its stupid on a laptop or desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158891)

Hur dur Microsoft is awesome 3

massive muscle build up (2)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#42158761)

holding your arm out for long periods of time causes a lot of strain on the muscles. i would gather that ppl who use these touchscreen laptops will after a while start growing muscle in their main arm. kindof like ppl who fap too much.

Uh Yea... (1)

SINternet (1194899) | about a year ago | (#42158763)

Got my son a Panasonic Toughbook with Touchscreen and noticed how he and his friends wove Touchpad and Touchscreen actions together. I tried to always impress weaving Keyboard shortcuts actions and Mouse use to get things done faster. The improvement is not enough to get frontpage news but to say its useless is like everything else that suffers a slow adoption, ie People are slow to change sometimes when it suits them (lazy), even Steven Jobs. SIN

Color me skeptical (2, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | about a year ago | (#42158769)

I don't even see the mouse as complementing the keyboard. The lack of accelerator keys on web sites/browsers is frustrating, the inability to alt-tab out of the various VMs and VNCs is frustrating. Touch is going in the wrong direction.

Here's the direction computers should be going in: Intelligent User Interfaces. Computers should guess the next noun/object or verb/action and list them in descending likelihood -- kind of like IntelliSense. Quick keyboard commands 1-9 or first-letter/auto-complete select out of the prioritized list. We're so far away from that that file selector dialogs don't even default -- let alone remember to! -- sort reverse chronological. (Nor do they remember last directory, cross-application)

OK, mouse is good for panning 2D (Google Maps), and zooming and sliders. Maybe there's something touch is better at than both mouse and keyboard, but I don't know what that might be.

First priority is to fix keyboard UI.

Toughbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158777)

My toughbook had a touchscreen. In some cases using the touchscreen was quicker than using the shitty trackpad. I would like it on any laptop I owned even if I didn't use it very often. The side benefit of having a (necessarily) tougher screen is nice too.

Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to say: (2)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | about a year ago | (#42158781)

Do or do not. There is no try.

Until you've actually used a touch/laptop hybrid device, don't go knocking it. When I say "use", I don't mean "try", I mean actually used it for day-to-day tasks for a couple weeks. Not "poked one in the mall and didn't know how to do everything right away, so I gave up," or worse yet, "saw a picture or video online and haven't even tried one in person." Spare me the "but I know I won't like it," because until you've actually used the device, you don't know.

The overwhelming opinion of people I know who have actually used these devices that are neither a tablet nor a laptop, but really a bit of both, is that they work well and are not just a gimmick. New things can take some getting used to. That doesn't mean they're bad.

Re:Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to s (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42158809)

It's funny how the criticisms of touch get brushed aside and people like you and SINternet insult the people criticizing.

"You haven't used it long enough!"
"You're a luddite!"
"You're lazy!"
"It's really great, you're just old!"
"Look, this 3 year old can open a program! If you don't like it, you're stupider than a 3 year old!"

And on and on it goes.

Good job selling us on this. Really. Good. Job.

> New things can take some getting used to

Hey, this isn't marmite in this sandwich. It smells like shit! Hey, wait...

"Just take smaller bites!"

--
BMO

Re:Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to s (2, Insightful)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | about a year ago | (#42158843)

So you're suggesting that we should never have transitioned from horses and buggies to motor cars, because driving a car takes some getting used to? The fact of the matter is that if you haven't used something, you can't make an informed opinion of it. You can have an opinion, and you're welcome to have that opinion, but it won't be an informed opinion.

Re:Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to s (3, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about a year ago | (#42159029)

More like, should we transition from horses and buggies to llamas and rowboats?

Because that's what Microsoft is now expecting us to do with Windows 8.

Re:Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to s (1)

SINternet (1194899) | about a year ago | (#42159045)

My comment wasn't so much insult as its the reality we see all the time. I'm 50+ and get annoyed when my peers expect someone younger to do the "research/computing" for them. I take almost any opportunity to embarrass the hell out of them. They along with others are lazy like those who can't meet lifting requirements and duck out of "Heavy" work but expect the same pay. Quit your whining and learn what to do with those devices other than buying them for bragging rights and barely get off the home screen. SIN

Re:Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159005)

A true Scotsman would love touch laptops.

Re:Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159135)

My smartphone may be different but let's look at long-term use of touchscreens in both business and recreation settings.

For these examples, I'll use Point Of Sale devices for business and slot machines for recreation.

Any of the two DEFECTS can occur after long term touchscreen use:

* Miscalibration: touching in one area activates another area. This even if the device was still in proper calibration earlier. This can include either touching one button and another button activates OR with the stylus type signature, the signature appears above or below the actual position where the stylus is being used to sign the signature line.

* Dead spots--touching the same area multiple times still results in no action. (However, 26 times touching the same spot triggered a Watchdog Reset condition on one specific Aristocrat "Money Honey" slot machine--after the machine went blank and reset the Watchdog Reset message was visible on screen and the game reverted right back to the pick-a-clover bonus round where the reset occurred BUT THE SPOT WAS STILL DEAD and remained unresponsive.)

Let's see if there are any failures on these touchscreen monitors and touchscreen laptops running Windows 8 before outright calling them a success. Miscalibration or dead spots both count as failures.

It would be worthless for work (4, Informative)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#42158785)

Anything that forces you to break concentration and shift into another mode kills productivity. It's why mice have been so hard to replace. I can easily use a mouse and keyboard at the same time. Having to reach up to do an operation would seriously piss me off and cut my productivity in half. For everyday playing people love gimmicks but I think people will get tired of it fast. It's why i hated to see Windows go down that road. If vendors start requiring it to use software I'm going to have to find different software. He said they were a bad idea and I have to agree, he didn't say they wouldn't sell some before people got sick of them.

Re:It would be worthless for work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158947)

Anything that forces you to break concentration and shift into another mode kills productivity. It's why mice have been so hard to replace. I can easily use a mouse and keyboard at the same time. Having to reach up to do an operation would seriously piss me off and cut my productivity in half.

So you type with one hand too, huh?

Re:It would be worthless for work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158995)

I can easily use a mouse and keyboard at the same time.

I definitely can't. I used only the command line from MS-DOS 2.11 through Windows 95. In 2004 I got a desktop with XP installed, and it finally converted me to the GUI, and I'm using KDE today. But I still hate moving my right hand back and forth between the mouse and keyboard.

Re:It would be worthless for work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159069)

>Anything that forces you to break concentration and shift into another mode kills productivity. It's why mice have been so hard to replace. I can easily use a mouse and keyboard at the same time.

You do realize that old farts said the same stupid things about the mouse? "The mouse will kill your productivity because you have to take your hand off the keyboard home row to use it. It's just a fad." Guess we all know how that turned out.

Re:It would be worthless for work (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year ago | (#42159097)

I can easily use a mouse and keyboard at the same time. Having to reach up to do an operation would seriously piss me off and cut my productivity in half.

Then how about only using touch where it makes sense and saves you time, and stick to keyboard and mouse where it makes sense and saves time. My favorite example of this is in photoshop. When you select a layer, you get a bounding box with anchors at each corner. With mouse you can then rotate, scale, or translate the layer... but only one at a time, and in the scaling case only along one axis at a time. This makes the process of properly placing a layer iterative. That is, move it, scale it, rotate it, scale it again, rotate it, until you've got it just right.

With multitouch, this could be done in a single fluid gesture: move your fingers to translate, pinch your fingers to scale, spin your fingers to rotate, and it's a completely natural intuitive gesture. I yearn for a day when this is possible in Photoshop, and I will gladly move my hands from keyboard and mouse to the screen in this scenario because it is much more efficient with touch than with the mouse.

hmm (1)

MakersDirector (2767101) | about a year ago | (#42158787)

Next thing you know, they're going to be inventing 'skin' for androids, to let androids feel...

Boy, we've NEVER been down this road before, have we?

Sorry, the madness of the cycle is stopping. I'm the end, that I can promise you.

SLASHDOT: HOW NAKES IS A JAYBIRD ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158799)

And have you ever witnessed one ??

Works fine on the iPad no problems at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158811)

The reaction time to type can be slow on an iPad
The apple software jail sucks
But with open source and similar interface to the iPad it should be fine, Linux just needs to get with the program
Touch is better than a mouse, except for precision stuff drawing in high fidelity

Yoda says (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158839)

Laptops Touchscreen About Wrong Was Jobs Steve. Article title backwards. Funny part is that it comes out pretty much the same meaning either way. Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops.

Laptops DO need touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42158857)

I find I touch the screen of my Windows laptop, and get frustrated when I realized it isn't a touch screen. But that's NOT because a vertical touch screen is any good. It's because I'm so use to using tablets now that I EXPECT it to be there on Windows boxes.

But wouldn't it be better if it wasn't a laptop form factor at all?!?

Do you really want to take the keyboard with you? If you're after portability wouldn't you make do with the on screen keyboard when on the go, and a full sized keyboard on the dock?! As it is you have a crap keyboard when at home and on the move.

That form factor sucks for touch, touch the screen near the bottom edge and your the part of your hand that dandles down hits the keyboard.

The screen is landscape, but sometimes I want it portrait! Yet the keyboard shape is landscape only.

Trackpads, WHY? Yes I know Windows classic needs it, but it's just wasted space, weight, and they're completely unusable, even for Windows work. Fix the damn software to work with touch.

So is he really saying Jobs was wrong (Tim Cook is Sculley Mk II who cares what he thinks)? Or is he saying Windows sucks less if it also does touch?

Re:Laptops DO need touch (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#42158959)

I find I touch the screen of my Windows laptop, and get frustrated when I realized it isn't a touch screen. But that's NOT because a vertical touch screen is any good. It's because I'm so use to using tablets now that I EXPECT it to be there on Windows boxes.

If you see a picture of food on your monitor, do you try to eat it too? I mean after all, you've eaten food before so you'd expect... see where I am going? I think your problem is that you have to adjust your brightness.

Bad Analogy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159037)

Am I being so unreasonable to expect one computer to perform as well as another computer?

I know the Windows box sellers are trying to pretend that Windows boxes are computers and tablet are toys, but that's not real. My Transformer Infinity is no toy. It's far more powerful than my Acer One laptop running Windows 7.

Is one food and one a computer? Or are they really just both computers?

Re:Laptops DO need touch (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about a year ago | (#42159099)

Do you really want to take the keyboard with you?

Yes. I even bought a clamshell UMPC (Viliv N5) instead of a tablet so that I would not have to carry a separate keyboard. The builtin keyboard is not very good (because it is very small), but it still is better than using an on screen keyboard or having to carry around a separate keyboard.

Speaking of on screen keyboards - to me touchscreen-only phones suck. They are difficult to use with one hand because I cannot slide my thumb on the keypad and only press the button I want to press - no, I have to lift it up from the screen and there is no way to find the button without actually looking at the screen.

After using my Surface I keep touching my monitor (2)

elabs (2539572) | about a year ago | (#42158903)

It's true. Windows 8 has ruined non-touch monitors for me forever. It's just so easy and natural to want to reach up and touch the monitor now. In fact I get very frustrated when it doesn't respond. All screens should be touch.

Typical Crack-Smoking Article (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about a year ago | (#42158961)

Full of apologising for crack-brained-isms of Windows8.

I for one cannot imagine using a touch-the-screen solution on the desktop or laptop.

On the other hand (er, so to speak) I am seriously looking forward to non-contact gesture technologies like Leap Motion [gizmag.com].

Reaching forward and touching an exact spot with your finger (eg an Icon, a screen-control widget) fundamentally DOES NOT MAKE SENSE for anything other than a tablet solution.

On the flipside, reaching out towards your screen for a broad-scale gesture (swipe to move an app the the other screen, maximise an app, finger-zoom or select an area, control 3D space {google earth, etc}, shuffling a bunch of images onscreen, etc) seem completely natural. Touch-screen-ing an 82 inch display makes sense, but at desktop scales that's like sitting 3 inches from your monitor - and even then it really only makes sense because you're now using that display as an advanced information kiosk not as your personal computer (different interaction rates, different interaction precision for common usage).

Having said that, there's no sane reason why in the future we will not see our displays using BOTH interaction methods (ie fully capable of direct-touch as well as Gestures in 3D Space). But I'm also sure they (er, the main computer/OS) will include some kind of basic voice control as well.

Re:Typical Crack-Smoking Article (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#42159147)

Touch-screen-ing an 82 inch display makes sense, but at desktop scales that's like sitting 3 inches from your monitor

I have a 25" LED monitor in front of me. I can barely touch its center with a fully extended right arm. My fingers don't reach the edges of the screen unless I lean forward. Why would I do that? This is bad for posture, this is bad for vision. From my position in the chair I simply cannot touch the monitor.

But even if I could touch it, just imagine how much effort would it require to swipe across such a large monitor! I could do it a few times; but in the course of just reading the fine Slashdot one needs to scroll a hundred times. This is not feasible, and I have no interest in ever getting large touch monitors. As matter of fact, one of my friends has one - and the first thing he did he asked me to disable touch. It has no function there. It is good only for palm-sized devices, where touch and gesture operations are not just natural - they are also energy-efficient.

So basically some industry shill's opinion... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year ago | (#42158979)

...and of all things, it's an opinion that Windows is great. Why, exactly, is is posted here?

Long live resolution independence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159003)

"At 1080p on a small screen, Windows 8 needs pinch-to-zoom for the entire operating system"

Panasonic toughbook has had this for a while! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42159011)

I use two toughbook laptops at work. It's actually really handy. You're driving down the road and need to get dispatch notes on your call, just peck at the screen and you've got them, another peck at the screen and you're back to mapping. Peck at the screen and you're on scene/transporting/at destination, which is epic when the radios are saturated/down/out of range.

i hate dirty fingerprints on my screen (1)

brainscauseminds (1865962) | about a year ago | (#42159065)

I like my touchscreen phone, but I hate the fingerprints on it. As for my computer, I clean my laptop screen and external monitor once a week to get rid of all that dust and cr*p that gets on it. The idea of going with my sweaty fingers all over it gives me goosebumps. How would I dare to show anything to my boss or co-workers in my computer if the screen is full of s**t?

todays news... (1)

pbjones (315127) | about a year ago | (#42159127)

Steve is dead, the company moves on...
If you look at MacOSX on a laptop, it uses the big multi-touch mousepad instead of a touch screen. Win8 needs a touchscreen because they put a tablet UI on a PC. Different OS, Different requirements.

Touchscreen desktops too (3, Interesting)

tannhaus (152710) | about a year ago | (#42159163)

I have one of the Gateway 6971 all-in-ones. I paid the $15 or whatever to get the Windows 8 upgrade. My computer before this one was a 24 inch iMac I'd had for 5 years. I have to say that I don't regret the change at all. When it comes to reading a website, I'm more likely to reach up and scroll than even use the scroll wheel on the mouse. When I'm playing music or watching videos, I don't have to be sitting at my computer desk. All I have to be able to do is touch the screen. The article is right. It complements the mouse and keyboard and allows for more relaxed use of the computer.

Keen observation (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | about a year ago | (#42159185)

"A touchscreen isn't a replacement for a keyboard or mouse, it's a complement."

Gee, thanks for listening to feedback from the community for the last few years.

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