Saturday, January 27, 2007

MultiTouch Display

I guess it's a Tipping Point phenomenon, but I wonder who the cool kids are, everytime this happens. The iPhone demo features a multitouch display, and Jeff Han's demo of this functionality on YouTube has been getting a lot of blognoise; but this idea has been around in the research community for a while. What makes something finally get out of R&D "interesting idea" and into "must have innovation wow" in a product seen as widely as the iPhone? It was even around at Apple, and ignored for years. What does it take to get visibility and get on a product development and business radar? Some links:
  • The Jeff Han video that's been circulated a lot (ok, points for music, for high density of info and fast cutting to demo points -- is this what makes it spreadable?)
  • The Tog column that discusses some of the design history that went into the iPhone (many many ideas over many years, including random access voicemail -- we discussed and prototyped this at AT&T and at Excite 10 years ago too), some of it (but not most of it) at Apple itself.
  • Bill Buxton's article referenced by Tog on multitouch displays. I know some of the people he's referencing, and I feel their mystification too.
I guess this is one of the reasons I stay as plugged in as I can to what's happening in R&D--the best of that work will eventually make it into products, and I'd like to lessen that time by figuring out the tipping point for it.

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