Remember FireWire? Apple poured tons of resources into a superior technology with hopes of driving an industry to see data transfer from device to device in a new, faster way. With 53 patents protecting the project, it represents one of a number of over-hyped, under-utilized areas of technology now that 802.11n has emerged.
Multi-touch on the iPhone is receiving the same hype, but in the long run, its all talk and no walk, here’s seven reasons why…
Seven reasons multi-touch is Apple’s next FireWire:
1. Typing is not a multi-touch process [mostly]. Sure, the shift key is an exception, but the Blackberry alternative works well as a next best alternative.
2. Multi-touch isn’t being extensively used today on the iPhone and Jobs has said that other devices using multi-touch seems improbable. The feature is being treated for what it is by Apple: tertiary candy more than a critical feature.
3. Multi-touch requires computational resources better used on predictive computing efforts, like predictive word typing algorithms. See #5 for more here.
4. Pictures and movies won’t be edited on the ‘third screen’ anytime soon. Apple’s iWeb initiative is brilliant use of interacting with web resources as a “citizen journalist” (I struggle to use the phrase without feeling trendy). Ever use a computer mouse to edit an image? Try translating that to a touch pad, then make your monitor 2″ x 3″ and you’ve got a perfect storm for wasting a ton of money. A double tap to zoom works just as well as two finger scaling and that’s all you’ll be doing with pictures on your cell phone.
5. Touch screen displays are not cost viable for user input, but I’ll readily admit that they have potential to be more broadly applied. (re: the OLED keyboard).
6. Voice recognition is the future, and touch interfaces will wither as the technology advances. Oh yeah, Apple has about 50 patents in that area as well.
7. Nasty finger marks all over your beautiful devices. As David Mackey aptly noted on Josh’s post on the MacBook going Multi in October: “now we can get grimey grease all over our displays on our laptops – not just our phones.”
This isn’t the death of the iPhone, but Apple’s passion for voice recognition over the past 20 years will finally pay off in the next five years that will eat this really fun candy that is a short, not a long.
Update: Thanks for the heads up on #5, Sam, it is added.