Extra Credit

While we’re waiting for the episode to get posted (hey, voice manipulation is a tricky business and Leo’s a busy man), The Macalope has some further comments on some things that were discussed on MBW:

  • In the All Things Digital love-fest between Jobs and Gates, Gates kept talking about how cameras were going to be set up in everyone’s house and your computer would react to your movement. Indeed, Roughly Drafted discusses at length the fact that Microsoft’s new conference table is not a touch-sensetive table, but works with cameras. Personally, the Macalope can think of few things creepier than Bill Gates and Microsoft installing cameras in his home (one of them is that Jerry Lewis movie). Thank you, no.
  • The Macalope’s pick was PandoraJam. Having used it more thoroughly in the past 24 hours, he should now point out that it’s a little buggy. On slower machines or connections the files it creates will likely have some skipping, but at least you have access to the full songs so you can go back and listen to them to decide if you want to buy them. Maybe the flaws are nice way of keeping people honest. Not for the Macalope, of course. He is as honest as the day is long. It’s for you people. At any rate, the Macalope still thinks it’s worth $15.
  • The Macalope did mention this, but if you listen to the All Things Digital interview, twice Jobs alluded to an upcoming online offering in the next year or two that he wouldn’t elaborate on. He then said that .Mac was going to get an update “soon”, leading the Macalope to believe that these are separate topics. He’s interested to hear the thoughts of his charming and well-manicured readers who might have sat through the cast.
Comments
  • John Muir:

    Separate? Interesting indeed…

  • Bergamot:

    I’m not 100% positive, but I’m pretty sure all multitouch devices use cameras to track finger position.

  • Korivak:

    If that were true, they’d all be as deep as Microsoft’s Surface thing. No, they really are touch sensitive. You don’t think there is a little camera inside of your iPod wheel, laptop trackpad or DS screen, do you?

  • I wish I would’ve heard about Pandora before I bought iFill for $20, goddaimmit. >_

  • Bergamot:

    “You don’t think there is a little camera inside of your iPod wheel, laptop trackpad or DS screen, do you?”

    No, those use either resistive or inductive sensors. Of course, they don’t support multitouch either, so I’m not sure how they apply to anything.

    Since we’re pretty sure the iPhone uses the FTIR method (why else would they hire Jeff Han?), and that requires cameras, it’s not a huge leap to suggest that the iPhone screen tracks finger movement through camera images.

  • Dan:

    The iPod wheel is not, afik, a multi-touch device. Neither are trackpads.

    The iPhone, however, is multi-touch. And I doubt it utilizes space-aged mini camera technology.

  • Dan:

    Then again… maybe it does!

  • Well, it got posted now. And I couldn’t understand a single word you said :)

  • bc:

    “Since we’re pretty sure the iPhone uses the FTIR method (why else would they hire Jeff Han?), and that requires cameras, it’s not a huge leap to suggest that the iPhone screen tracks finger movement through camera images.”

    I believe this is incorrect – that an FTIR touchscreen “requires cameras”

    AFAIK, panels using FTIR don’t necessairily require cameras although that is the common implementation. Instead they can have light detectors (phototransistors or whatever) detecting the light edgewise, i.e. sensing the light internally reflected between the top/bottom surfaces, through the thin side edges of the panel. I’ve seen a recent patent application describing this kind of FTIR touchscreen system

    such kind of touch panel could be very thin. this would be my guess for the type of panel used in the iPhone, i.e. no cameras involved.

    OTOH, Microsoft’s Surface clearly uses several conventional cameras (2D cameras with optical lenses etc) aimed up at the display surface – hence the bulky size and huge cost of the table. Not something easily translated into a handheld device!

  • My MBP’s trackpad supports multitouch in a sense that 2-finger scrolling is multitouch. I’m pretty sure there are no camera’s involved in this process…… The iPhone may have a sort of photosensitive layer behind the display, who knows, but definitely no camera’s.

  • Dan:

    Then again… maybe it doesn’t after all.

  • bc:

    though I have no 1st-hand knowledge on it, I’m certain it’s safe to say there are NO cameras involved in the iPhone’s touch screen…. (wait a few weeks for the teardown reports or FCC photos to appear and you’ll see that’s correct)

    remember that Microsoft’s Surface is a very different beast, with images projected from below onto the back of the glass tabletop, versus a conventional LCD display panel for the iPhone (LCD display panels are not see-through, BTW)

    and as been stated already, the MBP’s touchpad uses an unrelated non-optical method as do conventional touchscreens or the iPod scrollwheel.

  • julian:

    Two-finger scrolling is most definitely not “multi-touch”.

    At least in HCI circles, multi-touch refers to being able to separately track multiple touchpoints across a surface. The MBP trackpad can detect when there is one versus two touchpoints and then tracks the overall direction–you cannot move two fingers in two different directions and have the computer track them both.

    The initial multi-touch research placed large importance on multiple people touching a surface–each could be manipulating their own object–or on using two hands to manipulate things. The iPhone doesn’t seem to emphasize or need such functionality, but that’s what I think of when I hear “multi-touch”.

  • Borgendorf:

    A simple pitch shift in Soundtrack (+307) has proved to me that the Macalope is not Merlin nor Andy Ihnatko. Hearing your *real* voice doesn’t really help me, since I haven’t heard very many Mac pundits voices anyway :)

    But I would like to thank you for being a guest on Mac Break Weekly who was actually up on the latest news of the week. I think the others, especially Lea, are spread too thin to focus on the Mac.

  • Neil:

    Mr Jobs said that Apple is a ‘software company’. Apple has removed ‘Computer’ from its company name. He said that a ‘powerful way forward’ is the ‘marriage of Client Apps with Cloud Services’. Possible dotMac is integrated into the iPhone and is usable by both Windows and Mac users like iTunes and the “online offerings” relate to Client App (devices?) that access Cloud Services data.

  • @Julian: If 2-finger scrolling is not multi-touch, then certainly the “pinch” for zooming in and out is not multitouch either. So the iPhone would not really be a multi-touch device?

    We’ve (probably) all seen the videos of these massive Multitouch screens and you see them doing the “pinch”, but they only move 1 finger and hold the other one in place…. So this is not true multitouch unless someone else is doing something completely different on the same surface? (Well, we won’t be needing THAT on the iPhone, the display is barely large enough for 1 person…. )

    I can only conclude that the iPhone screen is just a “trackpad”

  • a. musing:

    Congratulations your plastic venisoness! You bring an actual interest in the subject matter to the table with a full set of fine utensils!

    and Borgendorf
    *ding! ding! ding! ding! ding!*
    You are correct sir!

    Every time I listen to one of Leo’s podcasts (which I do less and less these days), Leo seems to spend most of the time Googling what his guests are telling him so we get dead air while he does his show prep. I’m torn between being irritated at him and embarrassed for him. The only thing that keeps me interested is the mix of guests (tips hat to odd antlered creature standing at the front of the comments room).

  • Marc:

    I concur with A. Musing. Leo is annoying. He comes across like a wet rag.

  • “The MBP trackpad can detect when there is one versus two touchpoints and then tracks the overall direction–you cannot move two fingers in two different directions and have the computer track them both.”

    “@Julian: If 2-finger scrolling is not multi-touch, then certainly the “pinch” for zooming in and out is not multitouch either. So the iPhone would not really be a multi-touch device?”

    Blackdan, read those two quotes. Now read them again, and again.
    Now punch yourself in the face.

  • Mulitouch couldn’t be done with a trackpad huh?

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/technology/

    Guess the church is all-knowing……

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