BusinessWeek’s Hesseldahl blows it: reports Apple has no Multi-Touch notebooks, ‘beaten’ by HP

“From the first time Steve Jobs demonstrated ‘the pinch’—the two-finger gesture used to zoom in and out of photos and Web pages on the iPhone—some Apple observers assumed it was just a matter of time before a multitouch-enabled screen showed up on the Mac,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek. “That hasn’t happened yet. But as of Nov. 19, Hewlett-Packard has beaten Apple to the punch, announcing the first multitouch-enabled notebook PC, the tx2. I can’t help but wonder whether Apple just lost an important race.”

MacDailyNews Take: Nonsense. Apple introduced their first notebook with Multi-Touch™ on January 15, 2008. That’s 11 months ago, Arik. Each model of Apple’s MacBook family now sports Multi-Touch™. And Apple’s iPhone – which is also a portable computer from Apple – started shipping on June 29, 2007. That’s 10 days short of 17 months ago, Arik. [UPDATE: 11:50am ET: In fact, as readers below remind us, Apple introduced two-finger scrolling and panning trackpads, an early implementation of Multi-Touch™, on January 31, 2005, nearly 4 years ago in PowerBooks.]

Hesseldahl continues with his article’s baseless theme, “Hewlett-Packard’s tx2 sports HP’s version of multitouch technology, which lets you use two fingers at once to manipulate images on the screen or make on-screen gestures that signify specific commands. A pinch motion works just like it does on an iPhone, letting you rotate pictures or press and drag files around.”

MacDailyNews Take: Does it make more sense to be smearing your fingers around on your notebook’s screen or on a spacious trackpad that’s designed specifically and solely to be touched? Apple thinks things through more than other companies, Arik. You should know that by now. The iPhone’s screen has to be touched; that’s all it has available. A MacBook’s screen doesn’t not have to be touched in order to offer Multi-Touch™. There is a better way; Apple’s way.

Hesseldahl continues incorrectly reporting that “Apple so far sells only two multitouch-enabled products, the iPhone and the iPod Touch.”

MacDailyNews Take: You are wrong, Arik. Just plain wrong. BusinessWeek should immediately issue a retraction and an apology to their readership – and Apple – for that totally incorrect sentence, at the very least.

Hesseldahl asks, “What’s Apple got against touching the screen directly?”

MacDailyNews Take: They used their heads and thought about it for more than half a second unlike HP?

Hesseldahl presses onward, “Apple’s apparent foot-dragging is ironic considering the company made the point that handheld devices are essentially little computers, doing away with the need for either a stylus or a keyboard.”

MacDailyNews Take: And therefore, Hesseldahl admits and backs our point that Apple’s Multi-Touch™ iPhone is a computer, which shipped 10 days short of 17 months ago. Case dismissed. Thank you all for your service.

But, Hesseldahl just can’t stop typing, “Given the current physical attributes of desktops and notebooks, a touch interface would be awkward. Sitting here in front of my desktop and notebook displays, I imagine that repeatedly reaching up to touch the screen a few thousand times a day would make my arms and shoulders tired. Ideally, touch-based computers would be built into the surfaces we sit at.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, exactly like any Apple MacBook’s trackpad. And, Arik’s Gorilla Arm description fits HP’s ill-conceived, and limited, touchscreen desktop perfectly.

Hesseldahl concludes, “Still, if there’s one company that can and should be showing the way, it’s Apple… Two years into the Apple-inspired revolution in touch interfaces on smartphones, I’m disappointed the only computers doing that run Windows.”

MacDailyNews Take: In order to make his circle of wrongness complete, Arik closes with a final blast of utter nonsense. Apple is showing the way, but this time it’s patented. To recap, Apple has been shipping properly-placed and properly-conceived Multi-Touch™-equipped MacBooks for nearly a year now and iPhones which are, as Arik himself describes “handheld devices are essentially little computers,” for nearly a year and a half. The only computers using Multi-Touch™ properly, using device-appropriate Multi-Touch™ input areas are computers from Apple that run Mac OS X (and Linux and can even slum it with Windows, if need be) and OS X for iPhone and iPod touch (and future devices).

The reason why Hesseldahl spends so much time on Apple, not HP — which is what his article is ostensibly supposed to be about — is that nobody cares a whit about HP and because Apple has always been, and continues to be, the leader in Multi-Touch™ interfaces.

The full ridiculous article is here: Hewlett-Packard Out-Touches Apple: Apple watchers assumed Jobs & Co. would be the first to offer a multitouch laptop, but Hewlett-Packard has beaten them to the punch

MacDailyNews Note: Arik loves email: . Also contact BusinessWeek Editors here.

Apple MacBook’s Multi-Touch Trackpad:

Direct link to video via YouTube here.


  1. I think HP is promoting it as “the world’s first multi-touch notebook” and lazy reporters are just regurgitating it without questioning. (Of course HP will claim a technicality, that it’s the first multi-touch screen)

  2. @HolyMackerel

    Yeah i agree with you man the MDN writer needs to chill. The guy who wrote the story about the HP does have a point though. Whine all you want MDN but Apple needs to stop dipping their toes in the pool with “Multi-Touch” and start using the tech more and more in all their computer products….all of them.

    Macworld 2009 should be very interesting…..I hope.

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