20.4.08

Apple's big mistake with multitouch

I remember when I posted about the new MacBooks and MacBookPros here a while ago.  I remember being excited, but slightly confused, that there was multi-touch in the new MacBookPros ONLY.  But I was satisfied for the time; after all, multitouch is a pro feature, so Apple just doesn't want to give it to everyone, because that makes the machines more expensive, right?

Well, yes.  But it's shooting yourself in the foot all the same. 

Multitouch sounds like an awesome idea.  I'm sure there are API's that let third-party software interact with it.  And this is the problem.

How many people would justify spending ~$1000 more for a laptop to get multitouch functionality when, say, a base MacBook would work for them?  Not many!

So here's the problem.  Apple puts multitouch in the MBA and MBP, but not the MB, which is their most popular laptop.  Developers look at this and say, "Why bother writing all the code for multitouch when only a small subset of my users will actually use it?  After all, it's only on Apple's less common laptops."  I just can't see a lot of developers saying, "Well, multitouch only works on the MBP's and MBA's.  Sorry, you lowly MB user, but you can't use all that wonderful code I wrote for multitouch because of Apple."

Sure, pro software packages might add multitouch support.  But your average developer?  Probably not. 

And that's the problem.  Without a large dev base, multitouch won't catch on, and Apple will have something cool but practically useless. 

If it's the wave of the future (or something like that), why not focus on getting it in the hands of the masses?

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