Apple's New Calling: The iPhone -- Tuesday, Jan. 09, 2007 -- Page 2 -- TIME:

"Because there's no intermediary input device like a mouse or a keyboard there's a powerful illusion that you're physically handling data with your fingers. You can pinch an image with two fingers and make it smaller."

(Via Projectionist: A tumbleblog.)

I was actually expecting some announcement about Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard during yesterday's Macworld Conference. Unfortunately, the spotlight seems to be taken by the iPhone and Apple TV. I do not see myself getting the iPhone just yet. It's too expensive, has a touch screen that is probably going to have smudges all over and, I believe, requires a service plan (most probably the higher end ones) with Cingular.

However, what is more interesting about the iPhone is the multi-touch display. Most tablet PCs out there today only support interaction via the stylus. This is good. You do not want your fingers to interfere with the process of writing. However, for some tasks, using the stylus is no better than using a mouse in the first place. For instance, for drag-and-drop, the gesture for the stylus resembles using the mouse.

With multi-touch display, however, you get more interaction. Like the TIMES article says, you should be able to "pinch" with two fingers and have the image shrink. No more having to point at the corner of the picture and drag. This opens a new world of interaction. HCI enthusiasts should begin analyzing and researching new idioms and metaphors for such interactions.

If you have seen the BumpTop videos, you will notice that it is more suited for use with a multi-touch display rather than a conventional tablet.

So, for me, the iPhone itself is not that revolutionary: integrated music player, cell-phone and smart-phone. It's the multi-touch screen that will be interesting in the long run. And it will be nice to see what else can be done with the multi-touch screen for normal computers and laptops.

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