Touch Screen iMac = Stupid

OK, here’s an idea, make a 22” touch screen iMac.

You know, it’s an iMac, but you make the screen so that you can touch it to do stuff on it.

What kind of stuff?

Well, you can make menu selections.

No, wait, you can do that far more easily with a keyboard or mouse, and you wouldn’t be smudging up the screen with your fried chicken/mustard/mayonnaise/gravy covered digits.

Ok, you can do those cool Minority Report gestures.

Except that the screen is only 22” and gestures really don’t work that well on such a small screen. Yes, it works on the iPhone, but those are a subset of gestures designed for specific purposes and for fingertips. Besides, the screens in Minority Report were never touched.

Well, you could use a virtual keyboard and tap info in.

That’s just plain dumb. Why would you want to tap in letters and numbers on a screen with two fingers when you can touch type it in on a perfectly good wireless keyboard that is designed for that purpose? And we still gotta deal with the smudge issue.

How about the cool-factor? It’s cool to touch the screen and get stuff done, right?

Both HP and Dell have touch screen all-in-ones and if they are selling it’s because of other features, not the touch screen. In fact, if you read through the reviews of HP’s TouchSmart 300z you’ll find that the touch feature is hardly mentioned, and when it is, it’s done so as an afterthought. If touching your screen is cool then is only cool for a few minutes, then it’s back to the keyboard and mouse.

Which leads one to wonder why HP and Dell would design a touch screen computer with a wireless keyboard and mouse in the first place.

See, to touch the screen you have to be close enough to it, which negates the reason to have wireless input, and if you have wireless input then you’ll likely be more than arm’s length away from the screen, making touching it a bit of a chore. Even if your keyboard and mouse is within arm’s reach of the screen you’ll likely use either the touch screen or the keyboard/mouse, not both.

And, of course, touching the screen means smudges that you’d have to clean. And clean. And clean. Again. And again. And again. Think of it as your iPhone’s screen times ten, with far less convenience. Similarly, a touch screen interface on an iMac would be gimmicky, serve no useful purpose, and it wouldn't improve anything. That's fine for HP and Dell, but not for Apple.

Now, Apple has done some silly things before for the sake of cool design. The hockey puck mouse is a classic example. However, I believe that Apple, like any reasonably intelligent entity, tends to learn from its mistakes (sometimes it takes them a while to learn, but we won’t go into that now), and I would seriously bet real American dollars, twenty of them, that the Jobs Crew, as long as Steve Jobs is at the helm, would never make a touch screen desktop computer.

Never, ever.

To do so would be stupid.