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Old Jan 21, 2007, 11:20 PM   #1
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iPhone: PC Mag Review, Fingerworks, and Jeff Han



PCMag's Cade Metz was given the opportunity to play with the Apple iPhone for 10 minutes at Macworld San Francisco.

He provides his impressions from his brief time with the device.

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A day after Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPhone during his MacWorld keynote on Tuesday morning, I actually got my hands on one. For all of ten minutes. Ten minutes isn't much, but I can safely say that the iPhone is even more impressive than it appeared during the Jobs keyote. And that's saying something.
Metz remarked at the ease of use of the Multitouch interface, but during his brief exposure, found the touch-keyboard typing awkward.

The technology surrounding the Apple's Multitouch technology remains a great source of speculation. DelawareOnline delves into some of the history behind Apple's acquisition of Fingerworks and spoke with Wayne Westerman (founder of Fingerworks). While Westerman declined to comment about a relationship between Apple and Fingerworks due to confidentiality agreements, he did offer this tidbit:

Quote:
"The one difference that's actually quite significant is the iPhone is a display with the multi-touch, and the FingerWorks was just an opaque surface. That's all I'm going to say there. There's definite similarities, but Apple's definitely taken it another step by having it on a display."
Meanwhile, Jeff Han, a researcher at NYU, has received a lot of attention due to his popular Multi Touch demo video. Despite ongoing speculation and comments that Han had been somehow connected to Apple's iPhone, Han's research appears to be entirely independent. A Guardian.co.uk article quotes Han:

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"The iPhone is absolutely gorgeous, and I've always said, if there ever were a company to bring this kind of technology to the consumer market, it's Apple."
Indeed, Han has started his own company (Perceptive Pixel) to market Multitouch technology. NYDailyNews reports the company will start installing big versions of his screen for "film studios and other operations where people can use them as high-tech blackboards to brainstorm on projects".

The article also reveals that Han will be buying an iPhone "as soon as it goes on sale in June."
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 11:26 PM   #2
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more good news is, well, good. especially from PCmag. people that typically bash people might pay a little more attention to the iphone if it's so highly reviewed in a pc magazine.

Last edited by justflie; Jan 22, 2007 at 01:09 AM.
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 11:38 PM   #3
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the company will start installing big versions of his screen for "film studios and other operations where people can use them as high-tech blackboards to brainstorm on projects".
This would be marketable even to small studios. It really would make editing easy.
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 11:55 PM   #4
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This would be marketable even to small studios. It really would make editing easy.
Heck, at first I thought they said they were gonna market it as backgrounds to movie studios. Imagine the fun you could have teching out the bridge of the Enterprise with these.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 12:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by justflie View Post
more good news is, well, good. especially from PCmag. people that typically bash people might pay a little more attention to teh iphone if it's so highly reviewed in a pc magazine.
i agree here. more good news is good news...and from a PC magazine....it sure helps Apple i think......bring on the iPhone!
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 12:28 AM   #6
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I have used Jeff Han's Multi Touch system and can say that it is incredible. Knowing that the iPhone is similar to the Multi Touch system makes me very happy (of course I could see that it was similar from the keynote demo but hearing that it feels similar is a good thing).
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 03:50 AM   #7
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It's good to hear favorable comments by the few outside Apple who have gotten to try an iPhone, even briefly. Sure, Apple says their own product is great, but it's reassuring to hear that others like it on first impression too. I'll expect to hear more reviews as time progresses.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 04:16 AM   #8
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I just wonder if the iphone keyboard is actually a little dodgy, or if your fingers merely need a bit more than a rushed 10 minute grope to get the hang of it.

Also, I found a much better video of Jeff Han unveiling his interface at a conference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcKqyn-gUbY
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 04:33 AM   #9
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Looks great on the video. I definitely want a computer that does all this and could imagine it even combining in the first instance with a traditional keyboard and mouse/trackpad to increase speed and functionality.

How long until we see multi touch implemented on Apple desktops and laptops?
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 06:46 AM   #10
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I'm actually wondering what Fingerworks actually contributed to the iPhone's development.

If all they had was a multi-finger touch interface on an opaque surface - well Apple already has that: every MacBook and MacBook Pro has a touchpad which accepts two-finger gesture input (two finger for right click, two finger scrolling, drag-lock, two finger zooming).

It appears Apple just added a few new gestures for the iPhone, and applied it to a touch screen.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 07:54 AM   #11
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How long until we see multi touch implemented on Apple desktops and laptops?
I can't really see how the mutitouch concept will work on a laptop screen (certainly not on a desktop). With regards to its implementation on the iphone, the dragging of contacts or pressing of buttons is ideal; if I'm using photoshop on a laptop, I can't see how not being able to see the cursor (because it's buried under my finger!) will be as productive as using a mouse; and besides, if I'm using a mouse/trackpad and button, I can't see me being bothered to move away from it and press a button on my screen rather than click on it with my mouse... my view, anyway
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 08:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by dazzer21 View Post
I can't really see how the mutitouch concept will work on a laptop screen (certainly not on a desktop). ... if I'm using photoshop on a laptop, I can't see how not being able to see the cursor (because it's buried under my finger!) will be as productive as using a mouse;
Photoshop is probably a bad program to picture using multi touch with, general OS interaction is the key - next time you have your laptop on your knee and have a lot of windows open - touch your screen and imagine being able to move /resize the windows using your fingers or whilst your hands are up there being able to move sliders etc.(think garage band with a virtual mixing desk (and Apple have a patent for that...)).

I wouldn't want multi touch to replace my keyboard/mouse but when used in parallel for direct manipulation of objects it could be amazing.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 08:30 AM   #13
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Yes the iPhone sounds great, but...

...I won't be standing in line to buy one.

Sounds great, sounds revolutionary, but I am not switching providers to Cingular for this phone. Why did Apple choose the provider with the weakest data offerings to bring the newest and best smart phone with full internet browsing capabilities?

In fact, I'm tired of hearing about the previews until we get some actual production models, or actual consumers get their hands on some. I don't care what processor its got in it, how much the parts cost, or how many mac friendly journalists call it the best thing since sliced bread.

Give me Leopard, give me a new reason to buy a Mini (CD2), or a new MacBook. Top secret features anyone?

Well, maybe I am just cranky because my coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

--HG
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 08:39 AM   #14
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Why did Apple choose the provider with the weakest data offerings to bring the newest and best smart phone with full internet browsing capabilities?
Because most people's favourite carrier is Cingular, according to this informal poll: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=269950

And at least in the US, there's competition. Where I live (in Canada) has only one GSM carrier which charges a ridiculous amount (understatement) for data services.

Anyways, these first impressions from all these reviews seem to be good...only the keyboard issue keeps popping up, but as someone said, it might take more than using it for 10 minutes to get used to and for it to be really efficient.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 08:49 AM   #15
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I'm pretty sure fingerworks had little to do with this. Remember that apple patent of a screen thats also a camera??

I think thats what this is, jeff han uses a normal camera behind a projection. It would follow that this screen instead of using a far away camera, uses the LCD itself to sense the FTIR images
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 08:53 AM   #16
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Not a bad review - lack of GPS still amazes me.

Love to see a review like this in PC Mag, still surprises me though that there is no mention of GPS. I would think that it would be a bigger deal. It's an omission that could possibly keep me from buying one. At least until they include it.

And I'm already on Cingular, would be a no brainer if it were location aware.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 09:01 AM   #17
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Ummm I wouldn't exactly call 10 minutes with the thing a "review". Maybe a preview though.

I still expect to see someone take the multitouch patent to court at some point. Its no better then patenting a hierarchical file browser IMHO.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 09:07 AM   #18
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Love to see a review like this in PC Mag, still surprises me though that there is no mention of GPS. I would think that it would be a bigger deal. It's an omission that could possibly keep me from buying one. At least until they include it.

And I'm already on Cingular, would be a no brainer if it were location aware.
Yeah, I'd love to see GPS included on the phone - would be a really neat feature, especially considering you could mount in your car and then it's replacing the need for yet another pretty expensive device.

I mean, I guess it's cool that they have maps, but GPS would be even better - but maybe that's just cause I'm a chick and always getting lost everywhere... lol
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 09:16 AM   #19
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I can't really see how the mutitouch concept will work on a laptop screen (certainly not on a desktop). With regards to its implementation on the iphone, the dragging of contacts or pressing of buttons is ideal; if I'm using photoshop on a laptop, I can't see how not being able to see the cursor (because it's buried under my finger!) will be as productive as using a mouse; and besides, if I'm using a mouse/trackpad and button, I can't see me being bothered to move away from it and press a button on my screen rather than click on it with my mouse... my view, anyway
Are you kidding? Look at all of iLife. iMovie and iPhoto especially. The controls are nearly designed to be used with a finger already!

Imagine a 24" iMac with a multitouch sreen. Now open up iPhoto and look at the ways you could use it with two fingers. It's nearly perfect already...they'd just have to enlarge the adjustment pane sliders a tiny bit, but that's about it!
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 09:27 AM   #20
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And at least in the US, there's competition. Where I live (in Canada) has only one GSM carrier which charges a ridiculous amount (understatement) for data services.
Can the iphone surf the web via data service? For all we know its wifi only.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 10:24 AM   #21
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Can the iphone surf the web via data service? For all we know its wifi only.
They have said they included EDGE, so you should be able to use that for Data trasfer. My justfication is that you don't use EDGE for voice calls. A plus point is that it's not that much slower than 3G (300 or so kbps), theoretically that is.

What's also nice about EDGE is that the wifi skype phones use an EDGE core, which means "IF" they release an iPhone version of Skype, it should work fine, and assuming your data charge is less than your voice charge you can start VOIP-ing over the cell networks. International skype calls would be cheaper at least!

I'll keep my fingers crossed for that iPhone skype.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 10:41 AM   #22
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wait for hands on experience

I read on another forum last week that the ceo of the company Apple bought to obtain the multi-touch software had said of his product that a good touch typist could get 70 wpm on one of their keyboards. Given that their product was an opaque product that gave no more feedback feeling than Apple's iteration of it, that's not bad.

I think the naysayers need to just hold off on the criticism until they have an opportunity to get their own creepy little hands on it to try themselves.

I'll look at such criticism much more favorably once they've typed on it for a day or so and still can't deal with it. Imagination only goes so far...
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 10:44 AM   #23
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Love to see a review like this in PC Mag, still surprises me though that there is no mention of GPS. I would think that it would be a bigger deal. It's an omission that could possibly keep me from buying one. At least until they include it.

And I'm already on Cingular, would be a no brainer if it were location aware.
Can we just put a few more electronic emitting components in one bundle so our brains can further be fried
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 11:09 AM   #24
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n=155?

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Because most people's favourite carrier is Cingular, according to this informal poll: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=269950
EDIT:Your comment was meant to be sarcastic, but I would not base my decision on an informal survey of 155 users from one forum. [did not see the smiley face at first]

Along similar lines however, look at Consumer Reports' review of cell providers of >20,000 and bases it on various metro areas around the country. Cingular is no better than third and ranges to last in satisfaction.

Ahh, its all anecdotal.

--HG

Last edited by Half Glass; Jan 22, 2007 at 11:11 AM. Reason: didn't see smiley
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 11:28 AM   #25
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Because most people's favourite carrier is Cingular, according to this informal poll: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=269950
Maybe. According to the comments, the poll started off missing Verizon, which was added later. People were using "other" to indicate Verizon. Verizon+other ends up much more than Cingular.

Of course, a poll with only 156 votes doesn't amount to very much
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I'm pretty sure fingerworks had little to do with this. Remember that apple patent of a screen thats also a camera??

I think thats what this is, jeff han uses a normal camera behind a projection. It would follow that this screen instead of using a far away camera, uses the LCD itself to sense the FTIR images
I don't recall any of Apple's patents describing the use of FTIR tech to implement multi-touch.

This patent filing seems most likely for what the iPhone is using. It describes "a pixilated array of transparent capacitance sensing nodes", not a video camera behind a sheet of glass.
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Imagine a 24" iMac with a multitouch sreen.
Maybe if it's built-in to my desk surface (a 24" tablet?). On a vertical screen, your wrists would be in pain after less than an hour of that kind of manipulation.

Note that Han's FTIR demos have their screens at a 45-degree angle, with people standing in front. This is not a convenient position on a desk, unless you have a high chair or a low desk.
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Can we just put a few more electronic emitting components in one bundle so our brains can further be fried
Ummm... GPS receivers are not transmitters. The transmitters are in the satellite. Your phone is a passive receiver. It locks on to three or more satellites and does some really complicated math on the data received to determine your location.

Any radiation you might absorb from GPS comes from the satellites, and will hit you whether or not your phone is receiving the signals.
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