Jan 1, 2010

Apple iSlate, iTablet , MacBook Touch: Will it support gesture interaction & haptic feedback?

Soldier Knows Best produces great tech-oriented videos. Here's his spin on all of the rumors about the possibility of the Apple iSlate.

I just inherited a 10 month-old Mac Book, installed Snow Leopard and upgraded to iLife 2009. I'm so used to touching the screen on my HP TouchSmart PC that I found myself touching my Mac Book screen from time to time, especially when I was editing video clips in iMovie. I think the latest version of iMovie was designed with touch/gesture interaction in mind!

From what I can tell, Snow Leopard and iLife 2009 will be able to support a range of touch interactions, if not gesture input as well.

Here are some rumors that have been conjured up and distributed on the web:

The Exhaustive Guide to Applet Tablet Rumors (Matt Buchanan, Gizmodo, 12/26/09)
Apple Expects to Sell 10 Million Tablets in First Year (Pete Cashmore, Mashable, 1/1/10)
iGuide Emerges as Another Potential Apple Tablet Name (Adam Ostrow, Mashable, 12/29/09)
The Tablet (John Gruber, Daring Fireball, 12/31/09)
"And so in answer to my central question, regarding why buy The Tablet if you already have an iPhone and a MacBook, my best guess is that ultimately, The Tablet is something you’ll buy instead of a MacBook."
Apple Owns iSlate.com Domain: The Mystery Deepens (Dan Nosowitz, Gismodo, 12/25/09)
What is the Ultimate Role of the Apple Tablet? (Arnold Kim, MacRumors, 12/31/09)
iPad, iTablet, iSlate, or MacTab  (Cruz Miranda, 8/31/09)

Why am I excited about this?

I want to see if the iSlate would be good for collaborative educational games, assisted technology, augmentative communication, and alternative assessment for students who have multiple/severe disabilities.

That is a huge goal, so I'm going to start simple.  I am not giving up on Windows 7 multi-touch programming. I just have an urge to find out for myself what works, what doesn't, and what platform works best for specific "personas" and "scenarios".

I plan to make a little app for the iPhone/iPod Touch, based on a game I made several years ago, "Shoes Your Battles" for a game class. I think I'd like to make this game for the Apple iTablet!

The first version of Shoes Your Battles created with Game Maker, and the second version was in Flash, back in the days of ActionScript 2.0.  I started on third version, one that could be used as an advergame for people to play while shopping for shoes during shoe sales, but it never got past the planning stage.  

The idea for the third version came to me when I my elderly aunt came to visit from out-of-town and just had to go shoe shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.  It was extremely difficult to figure out what was on sale, how much it cost, after taking off the previous mark-downs and what was on sale that had a price that was not yet marked down.  

Adding to the confusion was the fact that there were few salespeople and herds of women.   It was madness.  There were pairs of shoes in the wrong boxes, boxes of shoes and no way to quickly find out the true prices!   We were in the shoe department for hours, and it wasn't as fun as you'd think. If you've been in a crowded women's shoe department to buy that special pair of shoes during a fantastic shoe sale, you'll know what I mean.

At any rate, I wanted my little "Shoes Your Battles" game to help with this dreadful scenario, by somehow incorporating a shoe shopping advisor and a means to figure out the REAL sales prices of those awesome, to-die-for shoes. Unfortunately, the technology wasn't where it needed to be at the time- I am always dreaming up things that are too d--- futuristic!

4 years later, we have iPhones and SmartPhones and 3G internet and RFID and ubiquitous WiFi and the Wii and more women who like to play games and...and... The time is ripe.

Apple better come up with the iSlate!


Thinking about post-WIMP HCI
It is always important to re-visit wisdom from the past when thinking about new interfaces and means of technology-supported human interaction.  Here are a few resources from the field of Human-Computer Interaction found on the HCI Vistas website:
The Prism of User Experience  -A nice graphic metaphor to help the conceptualization process. (Denish Katre, 2007)
Journal of HCI Vistas: Multi-disciplinary Perspective of Usability and HCI
Personas as part of a user-centered innovation process Lene Nielsen, 1/08 HCI Vistas Vol-IV
10 Steps to Personas (Lene Nielsen, 7/07, HCI Vistas Vol-III)

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