@R_Colin_Johnson: thank you, good summary on the state-of-the-art of touch technology.
EE Times had a number of publications on the geopolitical ramifications of supply chain that source rare earth metals not too long ago. I think the optical touch technology seems to have good promise. I particularly like the technology developed by NextWindow cited in the article:
@David Ashton: NextWindow's technology will probably alleviate some of the difficulties users may face in touch-screen keyboards. Depending on the resolution in placement of the light sources and detectors, it will be possible to limit double- or wrong-entries of inputs.
Perhaps voice will work for dictating letters and such, but never for writing code or similar when you need to say the names of symbols.
I've seen someone dictate a python program. It was painful. C would have been worse.
Yes and no... Apple certainly sold the world on using a touch screen with your fingers rather than with a stylis.
Apple could never have done this with old resistive touch though. The old resistive methods just can't produce the accuracy that Apple gets when you type on a touch screen.
I really don't think touch will every be popular for desktops.
Just try to simulate the experience. Reaching forward to touch a screen at a seated workstation is really slow and doing a lot would cause your arms to tire quickly.
It's not the lack of tactile feedback that gets me off balance on touch screens. For me, it's more a case of finger positioning. I seem to be happy if I can have some sort of audible key press feedback instead of a mechanical action. Mechanical is best, but, for me, audible works too.
However, I really struggle with specific finger positions. This is where the tactile feedback is needed for me. An overlay that's transparent and flat over the key area, but with small ridges around the outline for the key might just solve the problem for me. The touch keypad could have the ridges there permanently, but then some of the flexibility would be gone. You could customize character sets or key arrangement (Dvorak), but you couldn't change the size or number of keys.
Alternately, the ridges could be on a thin overlay as you sometimes see for computer game commands. That way, you could use it with or without the ridges and you'd have all of the flexibility as well as tactile information for positioning.
Those who complain that they need the tactile feel of keystrokes need to realize that the future is touch based. (And I agree further in the future, voice based)
Typing on a keyboard is loud and annoying. Typing on a touchscreen is silent. Ask my wife when I bring my laptop to bed.
Imagine the people who grew up with the first typewriters. The kind that physically hurl the inked letter to the paper. Did they complain when they switched from the manual to electromechanical versions? "I like to see my letters fly through space and land on my paper"
The responsiveness of a touch panel requires a lot of tuning. Apple has done a great job.
Touch screen didn't get popular until gestures recognition is "created". With it, user can do more. I agree that Touchscreen is good for mobile device. I don't think it can replace mouse and keyboard. However, the 3D gestures recognition like what Kinect is delivered may have a chance.
People think that technology decides winners, always. Not always. It is about perception. The cool thing about this is because of Apple. They made us imagined it and then the market came up. It is not just the technology.