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Making the most of MultiTouch

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Andrew's mailbag With over 100,000 downloads of the iPhone SDK, and a $100m pot of money available for developers, there's no doubt Apple's MultiTouch UI has a lot of potential.

But, er... what for? Here are a few of your suggestions:

The Good

Web radio player that (yeah, I know) runs in background while using browser

Will Cooper


An SSH Client (X Windows would be great too). Not being tied to a network for two years.

David Hall


ssh/scp OpenIpSec native aim (we know that's on it's way) MMS VNC video and audio recorder preview.app asian language input dictionary / translation widget

Lynda Leung


I am trying to rig something now using a jail broken ipod touch, and an IR blaster hooked up to my PC. Unfortunately VNSea doesn't like multi-monitor displays.

David


I's got to be a port of the SONOS (http://www.sonos.com/) contoller software, the current controller is chunky, slow, and runs out of charge far too quickly ... I dribble at the prospect of this on my iTouch

Nick Rich

Actually, that's one of the infuriating aspects of the iPhone: while the chipset fully supports Bluetooth services, the software stack is crippled. So applications like Salling's Clicker need their own Bluetooth stack.

Some other suggestions weren't so sensible.

The Sad, the Mad, the Bad...

GPS with world wide support should be available as a standard feature from the start without subscribing to some service. World wide phone support. A real storage capacity option. The classic video player has 160GB why can't the iphone have that option.

George Dolmat

Well George, GPS is free... if you all you need is co-ordinates. But maps cost money - recall how much Nokia paid for Navteq last year (over $8bn).

As for large storage, that means either flash or a hard disk. I think the iPhone is heavy enough as it is without adding the latter - and adding the former would add around $1,500 to the price of an iPhone today. (32GB SSDs retail for over $500, while the MacBook Air's 64GB option adds around $1,000 to the price.) We'll get there, but not yet...

Some more -

1. Two finger finger painting.

2. A shift key that actually works with two fingers. IE, you hold down shift to capitalize the letter you are pressing with another finger. (Current iPhone build doesn't do this for some odd reason as it is the most obvious immediate use of multitouch.)

3. Musical instrument. A kind of on screen guitar neck with virtual strings. Instead of playing other people's music, make your own and podcast it. Hey! How about an iPhone version of Garage Band!

4. Mini PhotoShop. Touch up images with your fingers. (Relates to item 1.)

Alex

And on a related theme -

So here's what I want from multi-touch:

1. Don't get in the way of single-touch UI: the iPod Touch or the iPhone are small devices that are meant to be used on the go. This means I need to be able to use it with a single hand (the other one being used to grad hand holds while playing the sardine can game on the tube): device in the palm of the hand, controlling it with the thumb. So multi-touch should be there to enhance single-touch where it makes sense but not replace it for essential functions.

2. Single-touch mouse pointer, double-touch scrolling: this feature on MacBooks is just genius: 1 finger to move the mouse pointer, 2 fingers to scroll in any direction, it makes small devices much, much easier to use.

3. Rotate: move two fingers in opposite directions to rotate an image or a map view.

4. Resize: move fingers apart to scale a picture up or zoom in on a map, move them closer to scale down or zoom out.

5. Multi-controls: allow multiple controls to be actionned at the same time, such as sound equaliser sliders, all sorts of game controls, etc.

6.Multi-user games and applications: a tablet computer with a multi-touch screen could allow some very cool multi-player games using just the one computer, a bit like the good old board games of old. Or another such application could be a multi-touch electronic whiteboard, where several people in a team can use it concurrently to discuss ideas, designs, etc: easy to do with a standard white board and several pens.

Bruno

A mouse pointer? No thanks. Actually most of those suggestions make the iPhone far more complicated to use than it is today. And since it's succeeded on simplicity, that's an odd direction to take.


Hi this is a question more then an app suggestion, I don't see why sdk is so interesting since apps for ipod touch and iphones some useful and some less useful are widely available through installer and for the most part quite stable so my question is what more can sdk bring to table besides what is allready being done out there by developpers which do it out of pleasure and not corporate greed?

Cheers Dom

It's the Apple way, Dom.

Here's my own, rather more mundane wishlist. Note that several of these should be provided by Apple. I've seen almost every conceivable software application tried in ten years of covering smartphones - and almost all suck.

  • A built-in clipboard. A huge omission from the 1.x software stack, and an impediment to serious use. If that means a "shift" button, then so be it.
  • A file system. We know it's got one, but let's see it.
  • Bluetooth that works, which means OBEX and a full set of supported profiles
  • Plucker, or something like it, to cache and compress web pages and RSS feeds for offline reading.

Then roll on the radio... and the iBluePod. ®

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