I was looking at all this ads and videos on YouTube about the iPhone and I must say it is a wonderful gadget! It surely can make gadgets freaks like me loose sleep. I would have stop sleeping until we have them in Greece, if I wasn’t precautions about the usability a touch screen can provide.
I switched away from my Ericsson P900 because of the touch screen. It is true what Steve Jobs said in the introduction of the iPhone that every app needs it own interface, and how a fixed keypad cat do that and that we solved that problem decades back with bit-mapped displays and mouses. But I think that a phone is a different device. I like my phone to be as not intrusive as possible in the interaction with it. I like to be able to do other stuff when using it.
Interacting with devices requires you to reserve some of your senses to it. That senses along with options about them is what makes the difference. Ironically, what the touch screen takes away from you, is the ability to use your touch sense! The touch screen is an input device that requires you to look at it. The keyboard doesn’t. Every one I know that uses a phone at some point are typing without looking, without even noticing. It not for fun that 5 is always marked on numeric keypads and F,J on alphanumeric keypads. The P900 took that away from me. To do the simplest thing I had to stop anything I was doing and look at the screen and carefully point the finger on the screen. With any other phone my touch sense would do the job. Think of driving in the car and someone calls and you want to reject the call. With touch you will have to take eyes of the road, look at the phone and use both hands to be sure you don’t tap anything else (Unless you have really big and flexible fingers). With an ordinary keypad I wouldn’t even think after some point.
I also hope that the iPhone touch screen has some sort of pressure sensor so you actually have to “press” buttons to activate and not just touch them (when necessary). Keys that activate by touch cause you to do many errors, and from what I saw even Steve Jobs did many at the iPhone presentation…
So what is the next revolutionary thing from Apple? The bouncy-touch-screen, that has the ability to create bumps on it? (I should patent this…)