Is a touch interface the future? Is the desktop computer dead?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by old-school, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. old-school macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2009
    I've been wondering for a couple of years now how much life the desktop computer has left. I think we're a long way off killing all desktop computers. The professional market will still stand for a long time. I think it has lost a lot of ground to competitive laptops though.

    Now Microsoft and HP have stepped back from the tablet market I still wonder whether touch interface is the future. I have an iPhone, and love it to bits, I do everything on it, will be upgrading this summer and the touch experience is brilliant IMO. Consuming content and simple tasks - brilliant. I tried an iPad in San Fran a couple of weeks ago and although it's hugely impressive with a beautiful screen and intuitive touch I couldn't see myself working on it. I'm just too fast and experienced on my macbook. I didn't buy one because as an IT professional, my MBP does most things better. I might be in the minority with that last comment?

    I heard a fellow twitter'er say that adobe/creative suite and office will both be dead in 5 years. I'm not sure about that, but 5 years is a long time! I suspect apple will port most of their programs onto the touch interface and it will stand aside the laptops. I'm not sold yet as a work tool though, is it the future, or just great for the breakfast table, and watching a film on the plane?
  2. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Not for me. I can't stand touchscreen, and my job heavily depends on actual hardware.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The question is not if the touchscreen is the future but rather is the touch screen interface superior at inputting, navigating and interacting with a computer?

    At the moment the answer is no. I can type much much faster on a physical keyboard. I can also use the mouse much more quicker and the precision of a mouse is better then my finger.
  4. *LTD* macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    To the first part, yes. To the second part, almost.
  5. mike.coulter macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    I love a keyboard and mouse personally. But I do believe that touch based interfaces for mobile devices is definitely a great step.
  6. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Whenever we are first exposed to a new input method, we get all excited. It's human nature.

    Doesn't matter if it's mice, trackballs, touchscreen, joystick, yoke, stylus, voice, aerial gestures, or even mindreading one day... for a while we'll be convinced it's the best thing ever :)

    Each method has its place and purpose, just as we still have so many different hand utensils for writing, painting and drawing. We don't sign checks with a paintbrush and we don't draw engineering diagrams with fingerpaint, but a large button doesn't need a stylus.

    Everything has a place.
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Touch is the future for products that are best served by using a touch interface but not everything is best served by using a touch interface. You are asking an either/or question even though it's not an either/or situation. The decline of the desktop in the home already started when inexpensive laptops became 'good enough' for the common tasks typical home users needed. I think touch is great for simple and shallow uses, which pretty much covers most home usage needs, but not so great for more complex and deeper tasks. For example, video editing (beyond the iMovie level) would be an ergonomic and efficiency nightmare in a touch only environment, IMO. I think a touch-only HID to replace a mouse could be great (I already use a wacom anyway) but a touch-only interface would be slow and cumbersome for anything beyond the most basic tasks.

    I definitely think the computing market will splinter more in the future because people will be able to choose between a tool that best fits their needs (tablet, desktop, laptop, etc.,) where as years ago there was only a one size fits all option (the desktop).

  8. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    Touch is great for interaction but not so much for input. The tactile feedback of a physical keyboard, for instance, makes it much easier to type quickly, because you don't need to look at it to see if your finger is in the middle of a key or pressing two at once. Touch is great for clicking links on webpages or (if you have slender fingers) for digital "painting"; not so great for pixel-level image editing.

    Touch could be the future of consumer devices, but the desktop and laptop with their keyboards and mice will be around in workplaces for quite a while yet.

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