Opinion: Next gen, touchscreen Macs running Mac OS X/iPhone OS hybrid coming
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Opinion: Next gen, touchscreen Macs running Mac OS X/iPhone OS hybrid coming

Touchscreen desktops and laptops won't be the norm for several years, but I think Apple will, not surprisingly, be head of the curve.

In fact, I think by late 2011, if not before, we'll see Macs with touchscreens running an operating system that merges features of the iPhone OS and Mac OS X. Apple is already prepping us for this with multi-touch on its laptops and the multi-touch features of the Magic Mouse.

Touchscreen Macs will first gain ground among young end users, move onto small and home business owners, then -- dare we hope? -- the enterprise. Research from the Gartner research group backs this up.

"What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," says Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. "By 2015, we expect more than 50 % of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2% in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than 10% of computers sold to enterprises in 2015 for mainstream knowledge workers will have touchscreens."

Of course, Apple has never seemed overly interested in the enterprise arena, so I think they'll be happy to have their next gen Macs flourish first among the young. Fiering said that although touch and pen input are not new to the computer industry -- both have been available, largely as niche products for vertical industry applications, for over 20 years -- there's renewed interest in touch input today. Multitouch on smartphones and the iPhone/iPod touch phenomenon have shown users how useful touch can be with the right implementation -- and Apple's introduction of the larger iPad has set off a wave of speculation about changing the industry.

The earliest adopters of touch-enabled devices will be consumers who rarely deal with legacy issues. They'll be looking for entertainment and casual gaming applications. Gartner predicts that iPhone and touch-enabled smartphone users will want to extend the multitouch experience to their computing. The iPad and the overwhelming majority of slate, tablet and touch-enabled convertible devices planned for 2010 will have a consumer focus.

Touch-enabled devices will have slow adoption in the enterprise, due to heavy requirements for typing and text input, Gartner analysts say. The "muscle memory" of mouse users and the potential problems of moving a user's hands from the keyboard to the mouse will create particular adoption barriers for knowledge workers. Instead, consumers and education will be the earliest adopters of touch-enabled computers and notebooks.

One of the key target usages for the next wave of tablets will be media content consumption (movies, newspapers and e-books), and the real success driver for entertainment devices will be the content delivery ecosystem. If this category succeeds, it'll create greater market awareness of and demand for touch in other computer applications.

As prices drop, education will become a major market for touch and pen-enabled devices. Younger children just entering school find direct manipulation on the screen a natural way to interact with their computers. Older students are already using pen input to annotate class material or capture formulae and graphics that can't be recorded with keyboards (for math, chemistry and physics classes, among others).

However, most school districts don't want to support two separate devices -- one for touch and another for pen. To deal with the differing requirements of the different grades, most districts are looking for dual-input screens that support both touch and pen in a single device.

"Consensus among the Gartner client U.S. school districts is that over half, and possibly as many as 75%, will be specifying touch and/or pen input within the next five years," says Fiering. "Consider this as the precursor to a major upcoming generational shift in how users relate to their computing devices."

And you can count on Apple being in the forefront of that generational shift.

Conversely, enterprises will be slow to adopt touch input for mainstream knowledge workers. The long tail of legacy enterprise applications that don't leverage touch, and the large contingent of mouse-trained employees, will make many enterprises doubt the business case for adding touch -- and any additional costs -- to computer hardware standards. However, employees are increasingly bringing their own computers and technologies to work, whether sanctioned or not, and as with other consumer technologies, enterprises will eventually be forced to acknowledge the use of touch for their mainstream knowledge users.

Touch and pen are already being used in many enterprise vertical applications for field service, law enforcement and clipboard replacements. Touch is also being used in many customer-facing situations like information kiosks and automated teller machines (ATMs). This trend will grow as touch-enabled hardware prices continue to drop and application software gets more sophisticated. Restaurants, retail and healthcare providers (for patient admittance, charting and patient records) may be among the largest adopters.

For workers immersed in graphics data analysis, touch will extend the value of the datasets as users directly manipulate the resulting graphs. Software support will be the big issue. Over time, as more touch-based graphics analysis applications become available, the features will move down market for mainstream employees, but not in the near term.

Gartner expects progress to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. No single "killer application" will change the market overnight; rather, there will be an incremental introduction of user interface and ergonomics improvements, drops in hardware prices and increases in touch-enhanced software.

"As with many recent technology advances, touch adoption will be led by consumers and only gradually get accepted by the enterprise," Fiering says. "What will be different here is the expected widespread adoption of touch by education, so that an entire generation will graduate within the next 10 to 15 years for whom touch input is totally natural."

As for those next gen, touchscreen-enabled gen Macs? They may well run Apple-developed chips. But that's a story for another day.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Can PokeMatch help you find love with Po...
The unofficial Pokemon GO companion app space has exploded almost as fast as the game itself over the last few weeks. Aspiring app developers, many of them working solo, have given us apps that locate Pokemon, keep track of the server status, and... | Read more »
How to get started with Prisma
If there's one thing people like to do more than taking pictures with their smartphones, it's tinkering with those photos in some way. Numerous apps have sprung up over the last several years that allow you to use filters and special effects to... | Read more »
6 Pokemon GO updates you can expect, acc...
Pokemon GO had a scheduled appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con for a while, but it was only relatively close to the show that it was upgraded to a spot in Hall H. That's the biggest venue at SDCC, one usually reserved for the largest... | Read more »
How to evolve Eevee in Pokemon GO
By now, almost everyone should be hip to how to evolve Pokemon in Pokemon GO (and if not, there's a guide for that). Just gather enough candy of the appropriate type, feed them all to the Pokemon, and evolution happens. It's a miracle that would... | Read more »
CSR Racing 2: Guide to all game modes
It might not seem like there are all that many ways to go fast in a straight line, but CSR Racing 2 begs to differ. [Read more] | Read more »
Bulb Boy (Games)
Bulb Boy 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Multi-award winning 2D point & click horror adventure about a boy with a glowing head. | Read more »
5 top free emoji keyboard apps
If we're not at peak emoji yet as a society, it feels like we definitely should be. The emoji concept has gone far beyond what anyone in Japan could have envisioned when the people there unleashed it on an unsuspecting world, but the West has... | Read more »
How to unlock more characters in Disney...
One of the big charms of Disney Emoji Blitz is seeing a wide variety of beloved Disney and Pixar characters transformed into smiling emojis. Even someone like the sneaky Randall from Monsters Inc., who probably never cracked a smile on film, is... | Read more »
Cubway (Games)
Cubway 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubway is a journey with an abstract story of lifecycle of rebirth, called Samsara. Guide the cube through the long way full of dangers... | Read more »
Colorcube (Games)
Colorcube 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Turn pieces and blend colours in this minimal yet visually stunning puzzler.Over 200 handcrafted and challenging levels. Features... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

GSK Rheumatoid Arthritis Study Leverages iPho...
Global healthcare products company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says that since 2014 they have begun transforming the way they conduct research, by leveraging state-of-the-art digital technologies — a... Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1199 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $799.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku MMGG2LL/A): $999.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
Free iOS Business App notably* Helps Service...
PayStudio Inc. has introduced their new business app notably* 1.0, developed for iPhone and iPod touch. notably* was specifically developed to help service and trade professionals go digital and... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP
Amazon has 27″ iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD iMac 5K... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3799, $200... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Willow...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Evangelist - JAMF Software (United S...
The Apple Evangelist is responsible for building and cultivating strategic relationships with Apple 's small and mid-market business development field teams. This Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
Job Summary The Apple Professional Learning Specialist is a full-time position for one year with Apple in the Phoenix, AZ area. This position requires a high Read more
*Apple* Picker - Apple Hill Orchard (United...
Apple Hill Orchard, Co. Rte. 21,Whitehall, NY 9/7/16-10/228/16. Pick fresh market or processing apples Productivity of 60 boxes and 80 boxes processing fruit per Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.