Now that everyone's waiting for the iPhone and its innovative user interface – have you seen Microsoft's product / vision video on "Surface"? It's well worthwhile … The system has been announced for public availability at the end of the year.
Search for more videos on Surface on YouTube
But wait – there are quite a number of similarities to Jeff Han's impressive work; watch the video:
Search for more videos on Jeff Han on YouTube
For those who – like me, intially 🙂 – thought Surface was a nice copy of what Jeff Han had done, you can find a very nice overview of multitouch and related projects on Bill Buxton's website. Bill tracks back the history of multitouch interfaces until 1982.
Still, the question remains: What are the use cases for such a system? With a price tag of $5.000-10.000, this will not be a PC replacement any time soon. It might also be a bit expensive for a digital photo organizer. I find the kiosk examples in the marketing videos more convincing. Still, this could be a Product Management challenge – how to position this device with its cool technology, how to identify the latent user needs that will make this an irresistible device (apart from "it demoes well", which it sure does).
Update: The Register has, as always, a biting comment on Microsoft Surface, saying
for Microsoft it's just another attempt at getting its software out from the beige boxes under our desks to somewhere, anywhere, else.