The Future is not iPads – Does Your Business have True Vision

iPad with on display keyboard

I have to first say that I have iPad envy or any tablet like devices that is just plain cool.  Last week, Microsoft posted a futuristic video which showed future-people working, playing, and living in a world filled with touch screens.

Many were impressed by the video and tweets went a flying amid the news of Goggle’s moe to pull gmail from Blackberry devices and how Siri is changing the world of SEO.  Microsoft’s “vision,” of the world in 2019 seems like a logical extension of all the screens we touch and view every day.

However, former Apple human interface innovator (2007-2010), Bret Victor, was not so moved by Microsoft’s vision.  He helped design the gestures and user interface of the iPad so he knows a thing or two on the topic.  So he posted what he called an epic rant on his website detailing everything wrong with a future inhabited by “Pictures Under Glass,” representations of real world items on touchscreens.

Considering his opinion is incredibly informed its worth reading. It’s also challenging, given the iPad is essentially a display for “Pictures Under Glass,” as Victor says.  I suggest you read the post in its entirely,  first, make sure you see Microsoft’s video that he’s writing about.

Here are some of the good parts from Victor’s post:

  • On a future of touch screens: “This vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It’s a timid increment from the status quo…”
  • On touching tools: “Notice how you know where you are in the book by the distribution of weight in each hand, and the thickness of the page stacks between your fingers. Turn a page, and notice how you would know if you grabbed two pages together, by how they would slip apart when you rub them against each other…. There’s a reason that our fingertips have some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body. This is how we experience the world close-up.”
  • On iPad: “I call this technology Pictures Under Glass. Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade.
  • “Pictures Under Glass is an interaction paradigm of permanent numbness. It’s a Novocaine drip to the wrist. It denies our hands what they do best. And yet, it’s the star player in every Vision Of The Future.”

Here’s the meat:

  • “And this is my plea — be inspired by the untapped potential of human capabilities. Don’t just extrapolate yesterday’s technology and then cram people into it.”
  • “Our hands feel things, and our hands manipulate things. Why aim for anything less than a dynamic medium that we can see, feel, and manipulate?”
  • “With an entire body at your command, do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?”

As I think about organizational development and the struggle companies have to be truly innovative.  Are we pushing the envelope or are we merely a “timid increment from the status quo…”  Are we blazing a new path or running along side of already existing “vision.”

Does your business need a fresh perspective to move it to the next level?  Call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a 30-minute complimentary consultation to discover how to FUEL your business.

Business Insider (10/09) Hamburger, Ellis


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    The Future is not iPads – Does Your Business have True Vision | Ember Carriers Blog

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