I have been a fan of Apple for a very long time. The first personal computer my mother owned was a Mac Plus and I became intimately familiar with the cult of Apple and later purchased a 9400 dual monitor set up. I have watched over the years as the company has reinvented itself to incorporate personal electronics and extend the concept of computing to many items. Steve Jobs is a Genius.
Apples products are simply the easiest to use and therefore provide one of the best user experiences. They are elegant very pleasing to the eye. The navigation tool on the iPod is an amazing piece of ergonomic engineering and I love my Nano.
With all this gushing you’re asking yourself; Did I misread the title of this post?
The one thing that Apple and other mobile device makers have never been able to master is the tactile element for their devices. To put is simply; holding an iPhone more than any other phone is like holding a wet bar of soap. (I secretly suspect this to be something they do on purpose to encourage you to purchase as many units as you can drop.) All mobile devices are insufficient when it comes to providing texture to allow the user to secure the device in your hands.
Another miss for the iPhone, is the lack of a slideout QWERTY keyboard. So for those of us that don’t want to look directly at the slippery bar of soap as we type out our cryptic messages are at a loss. It simply is great to look at but painful to use.
I wish Apple would employ smart surfaces into their designs. These surfaces “sense” touch and can change their properties based on touch. So, if the iPhone is sitting on the table it can look like a piece of modern design; sleek and shiny and when a user picked it up the back could take on textural characteristics that improved your ability to grip it. If any business was going to utilize this technology it would be Apple.
I would also like to see them take this one step further and have an on-demand QWERTY keyboard on the face of the device. When enabled, the keyboard, would rise up from the face with backlit letters to enable users to easily type. Something like this called Haptikos has been created by Nokia.
I think if you combined these two technologies (one for gripping the device) and the other for interacting with device you would have something remarkable. As for me . . . I’m going to check out a phone with Haptikos!