A gesture

The reason Apple nearly ignored the Mac Mini is control. I nearly missed the revolution of gestures on the desktop because my only Mac was a Mini with a mouse. With the MacBooks, and in recent years, the iMacs, the default input has changed from a mouse to a trackpad. For a lot of people, Apple invented the mouse, how could they take it away? They took it away because they found a better experience. Watching the changes in Safari that were showcased in Monday’s keynote, it finally clicked home in my head.

From my point of view, gestures are the convergence point of iOS and Mac OS. Since the first release of the iPhone, bloggers and others have been wringing their hands about the iOS-ification of Mac OS. I have always thought they were missing something serious, “who will be writing and compiling Objective C on an iPad?”. I think that I, too, was missing a point. The convergence of these two things will be based on the design.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

If design just gets out of the way, old metaphors like scroll wheels on mice just don’t cut it. Swipe, pinch, drag, grab gestures, they just make more sense. More and more of our computing experiences are moving to the browser. The easier the browser is to use, the better the experience you have with the computer, and past that, the Internet. I was shocked the first time I used two fingers to scroll on an Apple trackpad, or two fingers to right-click, or swipe to go forward or back. It just seemed right.

I’ve always loved Apple for the experience, the little things. With my Macs, I’ve always had a gigabit Ethernet ports, wifi, DVD players, and great trackpads. Not good, great. I cannot recall on missing a tap. Or failing to scroll, or losing the cursor because its taken a mind of its own. In other laptops, all these features seem to be optional or add-ons, if they are available at all.