Posted by: lsinrc | May 13, 2007

Fascinating new tech on the horizon

Even if you primarily use a PC, following the new technologies released by Apple computer is important since many of their designs impact the entire technology community. The Macintosh community is notorious for rumor-mongering, and right now is no exception. The low-key laptop upgrades could happen as early as Tuesday,
Think Secret – Laptop updates slated to arrive sooner than expected
but there is much talk of a future ultraportable with no optical drive or hard drive (instead, a 30GB flash drive) coming some time in the near future.
AppleInsider | Next ‘MacBook’ update a yawner; Ultra-portable to get 13-inch display
Usually tight-lipped on future releases, Steven Jobs also revealed recently that Macintosh computers will soon sport LED backlight monitors (speculated to be a part of a new model of iMac and later laptops). Apple has also filed a patent that some speculate will be incorporated into an innovative dual touch surface iPod and/or iPhone:
Apple invents novel back-to-front iPod control | Reg Hardware
PC Pro: News: Apple patent filing details double-sided iPod
This fascinating technology, which allows the user to touch the back side of a screen to move objects on the viewing screen, is worth watching.

There has also been some speculation about the reason for the delay of Apple’s latest operating system, Leopard, from June to October. Many, including myself, believe Apple’s stated reason–that they focused the developers’ efforts to the iPhone–is unlikely, leading to speculation as to the real reason for the delay. While there have been several theories bantered about, the most intriguing comes from an article describing a complete revamp of the user interface, essentially eliminating overlapping windows (note the small “w” in windows). While I do not necessarily buy into the author’s implication that it will hugely impact Microsoft, this is a potential trend that could have some sway on the rest of the technology world:
Leopard’s secret: the end of windows?

Apple is a company that specializes in great user interfaces, so why shouldn’t Leopard itself gain some of the experience gleaned from Apple’s consumer electronics successes of the last seven years?

The trend we’re identifying here has been underway for a while. Think about it: how many of Apple’s new applications actually use traditional, overlapping windows for anything other than a frame around a unique interface? Garageband doesn’t. iTunes barely does except for video. All the Pro Apps like Final Cut, Motion, Aperture, and the like all trend toward paned, not overlapping window, interfaces. And new products like the iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV don’t use windows at all, relying instead on vastly simplified buttons and interfaces. Further, consumers are gaining experience with interfaces that rely on transparent panes instead of windows on new HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies. Between transparent overlays and Apple’s Spaces feature to allow multiple virtual screens, Apple has eliminated many of the needs for overlapping windows cluttering up desktops. And just as Apple first recognized that computers no longer needed floppy disks any more, ridding consumers of overlapping windows may be the first step in a radical simplification of user experiences again.

Such a radical new “feature” in Leopard would more than justify Apple’s efforts to rush developers into learning about the new APIs and preparing them to make some serious changes to their applications…One more thing: doing away with overlapping windows in most of the OS would give Apple a marketing bludgeon to use against Microsoft. In the marketplace of ideas, it would paint Microsoft’s six-years-in-the-making Vista as a completely old school effort. It would take Microsoft’s best-known and recognized brand — Windows — and make it appear as tired as DOS.

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