Apple’s answer to Microsoft Surface: real products

Apple Store“Microsoft is announcing today a new direct-manipulation concept and user interface targeted at the gaming and hospitality industries. The system uses projectors and cameras beneath a translucent flat surface to give user the appearance of seamlessly manipulating both real and virtual objects in the same environment,” Carl Howe writes for Blackfriars’ Marketing.

Howe writes, “Make no mistake: multi-touch and direct manipulation interfaces like Milan (Microsoft’s development code name for surface computing) are very cool. In fact, that’s one of the reasons the consumer market is so excited about Apple’s iPhone: it will be the first multi-touch direct manipulation device available to consumers. But as with many concept demos, the devil here is in the details, and Microsoft’s surface computing initiative is very different from — and probably will never compete with — the technologies Apple is introducing in the iPhone.”

Microsoft’s technology:
• Depends on cameras and projectors for its magic
• Focuses on large interactions instead of small
• Doesn’t fit in the PC ecosystem

Howe asks, “So surface computing isn’t the iPhone or a PC technology. Does that matter? After all, Apple isn’t doing anything with multi-touch for computers, is it?”

“Well wait a few weeks and you may be surprised at how much Apple is doing with multi-touch,” Howe writes.

Full article here.


  1. I don’t know, ladies and gents. Not many people really need a cell phone, but everybody is just a’salivatin’ for a tabletop PC in the living room! This Microsloth thing is gonna be HUGE!

    [Wink, Wink]

  2. This shit is disgusting. Everybody on these blogs ejaculating over a concept car.

    These are the same people complaining that they couldn’t go without a physical keyboard when Steve Jobs said it was dead in January.

    Where’s the FUD about fingerprints and how it’s worthless if you break the screen?

  3. When I was in California about a year ago I walked into a music store in the mall (maybe Specs?) and they had on the floor a silver screen (kinda like a movie screen) that we could step on.

    There was a projection on that screen of some balls. The projector was in the ceiling of the store. If you kicked on of the balls, it would bounce like crazy against the “walls” of the screen as well as the other balls.

    The gadget was very cool.

    Anyone know the name of the company that makes it?

    Anyway, what Microsoft is touting here sounds like a more advanced (or maybe its are ripoff) of this same thing.

  4. Yeah M$’s stuff that the main stream media was all a gush today uses projectors and cameras beneath a translucent flat surface and what not, but it still uses Windows!
    Their stuff is never any good anyway. Bill Gates is the Devil! Zune sucks, Windows is crap!!

  5. Running those graphics, cameras, projectors etc must be taking about 10 Wintels and 10’s of gigabytes of memory to prop up Vista.

    I doubt even then it’s reliable. I wouldn’t connect my iPhone to it that’s for sure!

  6. [smartass alert]

    It reminds me of those touch-sensor control panels in Star Trek: TNG. No wonder they had to separate the ship and abandon the thing so often.

    I guess the BSOD wasn’t so easily seen on the screen, since blue screens become transparent on the film.

  7. Whatever. Microsoft can barely get Vista to work. And that’s JUST the software.

    Now we are talking living room furniture. I don’t see Microsoft pulling this off anytime soon. Software, cameras, furniture, mirrors. Oh and LOTS of smoke.

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