Two Interfaces, One Future | The Future Of Computers and Mobile Phones User Interface – Part I

This post is part of an old unmaintained blog called Technology isn’t perfect.


Computers are now touchable, but.

 Let’s forget the title a second and focus on this date: January 2007. Do you know what this date refers to? Uh? No, the earth didn’t stop spinning that month… :)

January 2007 refers to 2 things actually. On January 9, 2007, Apple introduced a product that gave a real meaning to the word “touch”: the iPhone. With the iPhone and its amazing touchable screen, people discovered a new way to use their phones, to play games and to connect to each others.

But, two days before the official announcement of the iPhone, another touchable product was announced, but this time by another company: Microsoft. On January 7, 2007 , Bill Gates introduced the first touchable desktop PC: HP TouchSmart, which can be used as a normal computer or as a touchscreen.

From these 2 announcements, the technology industry was officially in a kind of war. Every company wanted it own touch product. The touch was THE thing to have.

Back to 2010, only 3 years after the start of the “Touch Buzz”, touch products are now clearly the future of IT.


But let’s think about it. 

What made the touch products from 2007 cool? I mean that touch screens did existed, but, from the announcement of the iPhone, everything was being renovated.

The reason is the iPhone was the first touch device with such an amazing interface. Apple has always been one of the companies that innovated in the interface design – this confirms their first initiative to bring a user-friendly interface to operating systems in the beginning of the personal computers’ revolution. And with the iPhone, they invented a new way of user interaction, a new user experience. So icons, animations, buttons…were all adapted for fingers touch, no need anymore for a stylus to interact with the touchscreen, and the icing on the cake, the iPhone’s screen was multitouch, you can use more than one finger to move things, zoom or play…

So let’s see why I chose this title. Let’s take for example the TouchSmart PC, it’s a cool computer I had an opportunity to try, the touch quality is quiet good, but what made it unfavorable for me was the OS running. The TouchSmart was running Windows 7. I’m not saying that Windows 7 is bad; yet, the OS is GREAT, but for a mouse use only. Actually, all the computer operating systems’ are not so suitable for a touch use, and you can now realize why Apple made a new mobile adapted OS ( iOS ) which they used for the iPhone as well as the iPad. And, yes, the iPad with a large (touchable) screen -and so approaches a computer’s screen- was commercialized with iOS, the touch system by Apple, because they knew that Mac OS wasn’t suitable for the iPad -without forgetting that they’ll also lose the mobile apps advantage if they would have done so.

So the question now is: If the future of technology is touch, for when THE operating system that will make the difference? The OS that’ll be cool for mouse use as well as touch use? And how would it be like: and mobile phone like interface, a normal computer interface with some tweaks (the actual interface) or a new one specially made for touchable computers?

As you may have noticed, this topic was divided in parts (I don’t know yet how many parts there will be), but keep checking the blog to know that ;) .

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Amine Zafri picture

My name is Amine Zafri, I’m a product designer & web developer from Morocco. I worked previously at Facebook in London as a Product Design Intern, and I recently designed & helped build… more

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