iSlate: a Mac-iPhone Hybrid Apple on Tuesday?August 6, 2007
As Apple prepares to make a Mac-related hardware on Tuesday, my thoughts inevitably turn to my — a potent hybrid of the iPhone multitouch interface and full Mac OS X functionality melded into a sleek and totable tablet.
While the scale of the hype around the event likely portends a less-revolutionary change (i.e., a major revamp of the iMac), I can still hope that the new machine(s) — whatever they might turn out to be — will give some hint of future fusion of the now-branched lines in Apple’s evolutionary tree. Apple’s are already strongly hinting at such a machine, one that will finally bring life (with no small irony) to Bill Gates’ unrealized for tablet computing.
My with the Lenovo X61T Tablet PC show that the concept is solid — the machine is powerful enough for day-to-day computing while providing a uniquely-useful form factor for tasks like , drawing or light web browsing. Where it stumbles is in its interface. The Vista touch implementation still feels like a superficial and inadequate layer on top of a fundamentally mouse-centered paradigm. I find myself constantly having to switch between fingertip, stylus and keyboard to get things done.
A more deeply-designed touch interface — like the iPhone’s — minimizes such discontinuities. Tasks flow fluidly and naturally, and the user is shielded from the underlying machinery whenever possible (good-bye, Vista confirmation screens!). That’s the real magic that makes the iPhone special, and I’m looking forward to using it on a future multitouch Mac.