Apple has been working on a tablet in one form or another for years, and now that Steve Jobs is sufficiently satisfied to release one out into the wild, it’s a good bet that the device will blow users away much like the iPhone did when Jobs first unveiled the iconic smartphone back at Macworld 2007. Otherwise, what would be the point?
There’s no way around it – we really don’t know much of anything about Apple’s impending tablet, but inklings of information about the device’s UI are slowly starting to emerge. According to former Apple engineers interviewed by the New York Times, Apple’s tablet device will take multitouch to an new level, and like earlier reports intimated, may require users to learn an entirely new set of gestures.
Conversations with several former Apple engineers who worked on the long-gestating tablet also suggest that Apple may be asking users to learn a somewhat complex new vocabulary of finger gestures to control it, making use of technology it acquired in the 2007 purchase of a company called FingerWorks.
“The tablet should offer any number of unique multitouch experiences — for example, three fingers down and rotate could mean ‘open an application,” a former Apple engineer offered. If true, this lends a tiny bit of credence to a previous report suggesting that the tablet’s UI would require a steep learning curve.
And in an entirely new take on the type of software experience the tablet may offer, the Times also quotes a former Apple designer who states that Apple has “spent the past couple of years working on a multitouch version of iWork.” It may very well be that while everyone is looking at the tablet solely as a device for content consumption, Apple may leverage its multitouch portfolio and UI expertise to release a device equally as adept at content creation.
Earlier in the week, an individual who reportedly saw the Tablet OS in action (but not the device itself) remarked that the user interface “has a good bit of new sexy to it.”
New Sexy – sounds like a tagline from the likes of Mad Men.