Since I so rarely offer an opinion on anything until it appears well-settled to me, it is very rare indeed for me to be able to say “Hah!” in reference to something previously declaimed in these pages. Yet that is exactly what I am now about to do.
Three months ago I interpreted a new product from Apple — the Magic Trackpad — as the beginning of the end of the Cupertino crowd’s support of the device they had popularized to begin with (“Did Apple Just Kill the Mouse?”, 30 July 2010). And now, looking at the limited preview of the latest iteration of the Apple’s operation system from the special presentation of 20 October, it seems clear to me that their movement in this direction is coming fast and decisively. Building on the apparent success of the iPad (more on that novelty device to come soon), Mac OS X “Lion” will offer a bold new way to navigate and organize everything on your computer.
Bold and new, that is, unless you have been using an iPad already. They have taken the multi-touch interface they pioneered and optimized for their growing mobile device market and brought it around into their more standard computing offerings. But to do all these marvelous things, it is obvious that a multi-touch interface will be required. This will be a given with the newer laptop models, of course, and it is true that the newest iteration of the Magic Mouse incorporates multi-touch support (although I have not tried one myself). It just seems to me, though, that there is less and less reason for a user to want a mouse in this kind of computing environment. All the multi-touch enabled mouse really does is form a bridge between the two modes. But I think it is a bridge that fewer and fewer with bother using once they see that they could just as easily step across to the other side.