1. beachtrader's Avatar
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/blog...s/4218433.html

    At the end of this week, there will be two types of nerds: those who managed to get themselves an Apple iPhone and those wholl be staring over their shoulders trying to get a look. Regardless of which position you find yourself in on the evening of the 29th (or 30th, or 29th of the following monthits hard to know how long it will take for the dust to settle, though well be hands-on for you ASAP), I would like to direct your attention to the bottom right corner of this groundbreaking gadgets home screen.

    There you will find a simple icon thats instantly recognizable, because it represents one of the supreme industrial designs in the history of consumer electronics: box-within-a-box, then circle-within-a-circlebam, iPod! Press the iPod icon on your iPhone, and the Apple gadget instantly brings you to your music collection. Only theres a bit of irony in that important new button: What makes the iPod so iconic is that famous circlethe clickwheeland it is notably absent from the iPhone.

    Steve Jobs and Co. are pitching the new iPhone as our best iPod ever and at the same time changing the basic user interface that made the iPod so successful. This is no small step. In fact, it is a sign of Apples ambitions for the iPhone that the company was willing to abandon its signature interface for the untested waters of the iPhones multitouch display.

    Remember, when the iPod was launched in 2001, it was hardly the only digital music player on the market. Competing devices from manufacturers such as Diamond Multimedia and Creative Labs had much of the functionality of the iPod, but they lacked the remarkably user-friendly clickwheel. The marvel of the clickwheel is its ability to navigate a large-volume database of music (or pictures, or movies, or audiobooks) quickly and without multiple button pushes. It is just about the perfect design for a small device carrying a lot of content. But the clickwheel isnt necessarily a great interface for a highly interactive, alphanumeric entry device such as, say, a cell phone.

    Dont get me wrong, it probably could be done. In fact, Id bet a stack of iPhone prototypes that Apples designers started off trying to integrate the clickwheel into their early concept phones. (Ironically, the clickwheel is most evocative of the anachronistic telephone dial.) But text entry has never been the specialty of the iPod (click, click, click, click, D, click, E, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, R, etc.), and without a keypad and some sort of mouse alternative technology, navigating the instant-messaging, Web-browsing, e-mailing and contact-entering graphical user interface (GUI) of the iPhone would be a nightmare. So the new capacitive touchscreen can create a virtual keypad, dialpad or slider for music and moviesor pretty much whatever controls Apples software designers can think up.

    But how to deal with the large database problem? The beauty of the iPod was that it required only a single continuous sweep of the finger round and round to get from ABBA to Zappa. The iPhone instead relies upon flicks of the finger and a bit of virtual momentum. As you grab and sweep each song or album, fast flicks can continue the scrolling even after youve removed your finger from the screen. As yet, we havent had enough experience with the iPhone interface to know just how well this works, but the idea isnt altogether new. I have, for instance, a Navman GPS navigation system that lets users power-scroll through options via a virtual dial on the side of its touchscreen. However, this sort of programmed physics takes some careful calibration. How fast was that flick of the finger? Was it enough to bring me from Alice in Chains to the Velvet Underground? Or was I only trying to get as far as Fleetwood Mac? Each time you browse, your needs are different.

    I have a lot of faith in Apples design and operating system logic, so Im thinking the iPhones touchscreen controls will work well and take the iPhone to places that no ordinary iPod could go. The fact that the iPhone is packing so much functionality into a single device demands that it have a flexible interface. So short of the tic-tac buttons that devices such as the Research In Motion BlackBerrys, Motorola Qs and Samsung BlackJacks of the world usewhich would have cut into the iPhones 3.5-in. displaya touchscreen was the only reasonable way to go.

    And, since the iPhones controls are almost entirely software designed, they are (at least in theory) entirely reprogrammable. So if Apple determines that consumers just arent happy with the way their iPhones user interface behaves, the company can release a software update and tweak it in response. In fact, assuming Apple doesnt crack down on third-party designers, iPhone enthusiasts could conceivably customize the controls however they want. Try coding that with a clickwheel. Glenn Derene
    06-27-2007 09:35 PM
  2. bruckwine's Avatar
    A note..if that touchscreen is so customizable why didn't they just make a virtual clickwheel for the iPod function?
    06-27-2007 09:42 PM
  3. Kupe#WP's Avatar
    A note..if that touchscreen is so customizable why didn't they just make a virtual clickwheel for the iPod function?
    Because you could have used a virtual iPod control with one hand. As we all know, iPhone is a 2-handed device, so Coverflow was needed to keep both hands occupied.
    06-28-2007 08:31 PM
  4. RICHINMJ's Avatar
    Because you could have used a virtual iPod control with one hand. As we all know, iPhone is a 2-handed device, so Coverflow was needed to keep both hands occupied.

    If both hands are occupied, how are these iPhone boys going to take care of business while looking at pictures of Jobs?
    06-28-2007 08:43 PM
  5. bruckwine's Avatar
    If both hands are occupied, how are these iPhone boys going to take care of business while looking at pictures of Jobs?
    a fatal flaw! I can see the apple fans protesting already!

    rotflmao
    06-28-2007 09:46 PM
  6. llarson's Avatar
    a fatal flaw! I can see the apple fans protesting already!

    rotflmao
    Give me a break. You are as bad as anyone here when it comes to insults and baiting.
    06-28-2007 10:31 PM
  7. braj's Avatar
    If both hands are occupied, how are these iPhone boys going to take care of business while looking at pictures of Jobs?
    Is this why it comes with that little whipe? Eeewwww.
    06-28-2007 10:34 PM
  8. bruckwine's Avatar
    Give me a break. You are as bad as anyone here when it comes to insults and baiting.
    LMAO this guy llarson is so amusing! richinmj made a joke and I laughed..my bad!

    *puts on seriosu face as richinmj was serious*

    @richinmj - they can always put the iPhone down THEN take care of business. nd by business I mean work. My treo 680 however allows me to use one hand to use my phone andd hte other to do MY business

    *seeks forgiveness from llarson *
    06-28-2007 10:47 PM
  9. llarson's Avatar
    LMAO this guy llarson is so amusing! richinmj made a joke and I laughed..my bad!

    *puts on seriosu face as richinmj was serious*

    @richinmj - they can always put the iPhone down THEN take care of business. nd by business I mean work. My treo 680 however allows me to use one hand to use my phone andd hte other to do MY business

    *seeks forgiveness from llarson *
    I knew you where joking. Blood was up and all that.
    06-28-2007 10:54 PM
  10. bruckwine's Avatar
    Well then..seriosuly..why not just make a virtual iPod clickwheel...would've made the learning curve for that function unnecessary.

    It could be it can't be done (yet) but I'd think anything that can take two touches could do that..maybe that is a limit...

    The HTC touch seems to only have horizontal and vertical touching one at a time)..is it the same with the iPhone except both can be done at the same time (multi)?

    Tht would be something for apple engineers to think on.
    06-28-2007 11:04 PM
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