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Gadgets -Multi-Touch+Camera+Voice+Force = New Interface

September 05, 2008

Multi-Touch+Camera+Voice+Force = New Interface

By Rich Tehrani
President and Editor-in-Chief

Remember when I said the GUI would become the gesture-based user interface or GBUI? I mentioned Apple's (News - Alert) patents in the blog entry and now a new patent application shows Apple is looking to fuse gestures, voice, a camera and motion sensors together to create a brand new interface.

Ironically, last night I was showing some young relatives photos on an iPhone (News - Alert) and within a moment each of them took the phone and started to flip backwards and forwards through photos. This was the first time I remember not having to show someone how do what I had just done on a computer or phone. Apple's new GBUI is so easy, a 3 year-old and a 4 3/4 year-old were able to intuitively understand how to do what they wanted with no help from me at all.

It occurs to me the power of combining gestures and the above technologies if done correctly will transform how we interact with computers and as a result, at least two things will happen:
  1. We will use computers in brand new ways. Just as we use an iPhone as a Web browser and portable picture viewer when we didn't do this with prior phones.
  2. We will see productivity skyrocket. I am convinced that when computers can communicate with us in the same manner we communicate with one another (this seems to be what the interface 2.0 is going) we will get more done than ever.

Of course the ball is in Apple's court and I am really interested in learning more about how new Apple products will take advantage of such interfaces. Speaking of which, there has been minimal talk of Apple making an acquisition with their cash hoard... Should they pick up Nintendo to get the Wii motion-sensing technology?

But onto grander questions - What is Microsoft doing to combat Apple's increasing dominance in the user interface game? After all, since the mouse and GUI, I don't remember Apple making a new interface leaving others in the dust. They seem to be on the verge of doing so again. Shouldn't Microsoft (News - Alert) be worried? Last time it took about 11 years for Microsoft to catch up with Apple. If it takes that long this time along, the company should just stick a fork in its desktop OS business.

Moreover, although I was a reluctant Vista user at first and have gotten used to the new OS, it seems the majority of users are rebelling. Microsoft has never been so vulnerable and if Apple keeps making interface leaps and patents them, how will Microsoft catch up?
Mark your calendars for INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year.  ITEXPO (News - Alert) will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Register now!

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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