In a profile piece on the sudden surge of “slate-like” tablet computers that took CES by storm (which, with few exceptions, already managed to seem like also-rans compared to Apple’s still unannounced and unreleased tablet), the New York Times claims that Apple has been working on a multi-touch capable version of the iWork suite for the last few years.
That’s interesting, no doubt, but the New York Times goes on. According to the newspaper, “conversations with several former Apple engineers” who claim to have had a role in the creation of the device, the Apple Tablet’s multi-touch interface requires 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.” Sound familar?
“The tablet should offer any number of unique multitouch experiences — for example, three fingers down and rotate could mean ‘open an application,’ ” one former Apple engineer reportedly said.
The New York Times jumps to the conclusion that the combination of a steep interface learning curve and a multi-touch iWork suite means that Apple’s tablet is meant to be a “fully functional computer, rather than a more passive device for reading books and watching movies.” Possibly, but that’s the tack that the PC world has taken with tablets for years, and they’ve never caught on. Apple’s got to have a lot more up its sleeve than just a gesture-controlled tablet.