Microsoft And Adobe Pitch For the Future Of Touch

Impressive video showing potential uses      08/10/14

Buying Choices

Apple's links with Adobe go way back - to 1987 in fact, when Adobe created PostScript which fuelled the desktop design revolution running on Apple computers. Since then, there's been a long and convoluted history of conflict and blame etc - there's a very good summary of this over at by Daniel Eran Dilger worth reading to understand the context.

Obviously for several years now, Apple has owned the touch device market with iPhones and iPads - the development of using touch greatly enhanced by the creative music community of App developers - kudos to them.

Pretty much everyone else has been playing catchup to that. The Microsoft Surface tablet is now in its third iteration - the Surface Pro 3 boasting a pretty hardcore specification: i5 and i7 processors, high resolution displays and plenty of RAM as well as storage.

Its interesting to see that this video is aimed at creative professionals - audio, video and graphic artists, demonstrating the Adobe vision of the future of touch for creative purposes. I'm not sure how much of this is pure fantasy and what is here now, or just around the corner, but it looks pretty cool.

What is clear though is that for this to work, Microsoft has to make a compelling argument for software devs in this creative space to start implementing the touch interface into their desktop applications. We know that early adopters Cakewalk with Sonar X3 (see our feature) have make headway, Reaper also has custom settings for touch and multitouch gestures, but there will need to be more done to ensure that touch is added to the workflow as an option.

In many ways Microsoft has the timeline advantage now as it's Windows 8.1 OS has this inbuilt and ready to implement, whereas Apple's touch development is still mainly focussed on the iOS universe. Many of the standards we have come to expect from Apps on iOS have such as parameter gearing (dragging finger away from control to have finer control of values), pinch and zoom,  contextual menus and many others will need to be common to any touch device for the overall development of a common language or library of UI.

Perhaps in the future as all applications increasingly become dual or multi-platform, the OS will become largely irrelevant, and we can focus on just getting stuff done.

But to be honest, this vision of touch usage while compelling is still a way off being instinctive to many of us and much work needs to be done on bringing it all together.

Judging by this video, Adobe are certainly pushing the boundaries (or plan to). Lets hope that Microsoft make it easy for smaller developers of creative applications to do the same. Its what Apple did with iOS and look where that got them..



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