It's Spreading: Multitouch the lunch box, multitouch the breakfast cereal, multitouch the flaaamethrower!


Big surprise here. The wonderful “multitouch” interface used by the iPhone, iPod touch, and new MacBook Air is; A) not Apple’s invention, B) famous because of Apple, and C) will begin appearing in more and more devices.

Says Walt Mossberg,

Apple didn’t invent the multitouch concept. Academic and commercial researchers, and small, obscure companies, have been working on it for years. Apple is adapting the concept, adding its own ideas and popularizing it — just as it did in the 1980s with the mouse and the graphical user interface, which had also been invented elsewhere.

Synaptics is scrambling to release a multitouch trackpad for non-Apple laptops, Microsoft has the whole Surface thing, and, if you recall, HTC built and released it’s own phone (called the Touch) before the iPhone was released.

The big question will be; can these devices work as well as Apple’s devices? I have the HTC Touch and I have the iPod touch. The iPod touch’s interface makes the HTC Touch seem silly and gimmicky. Granted, it was released almost a month before the iPhone so let’s not hold that against HTC. Manufacturers releasing devices from now on, though, have no such excuse. If they’re going to put multitouch into their devices, it’s gotta work and it’s gotta work well.

Multitouch Interface Is Starting to Spread Among New Devices [Wall Street Journal]