Summary. In 1984, Apple introduced the first Macintosh computer which was the first commercially successful personal computer with a graphical user interface controlled primarily by mouse with the keyboard as an input device. For 26 years, the mouse and keyboard remained as the primary computing interface.
On 3 April 2010, Apple introduced the iPad which is a significant leap forward for the user experience. A touch screen almost the size of a notebook computer screen contains the entire computer in a lightweight and slim design. While tablet computers have been available for some time, they typically require a special pen to interact with them.
In music keyboards, polyphonic control allows for multiple keys to be pressed at one time rather than one key at a time (monophonic). The iPad multi-touch screen is to computing what polyphonic and stereo capabilities are to music.
As a result, the old computer interfaces of keyboards and mice are anticipated to become increasingly rare, like the slow disappearance of rotary dial phones. This is a significant transition in computing history.
Human touch, and particularly multi-touch, technology has never before in history been available at an economical price in a large format device affordable for consumers and widely distributed.
Today Apple announced that over two million iPads have been sold in less than 60 days since it was made available to the public. So, It seems that critical mass has been reached with the launch of the iPad, and it’s likely that similar devices and competing products will be soon to follow.
A Lesson From Musical Instruments. Today’s digital musical instruments can be used as midi interfaces for making digital music. Keyboards, guitars, drum pads, and electronic wind instruments can all be used to make digital music. Although they all produce the same digital signals, each instrument offers a different “user experience” and touch. A musician can play a guitar melody using a keyboard or digital guitar midi interface. Typically, the music produced will be different depending on what tools were used to produce the music (even though the same digital instrument sound was selected). So, with the iPad, a new kind of creativity is released because this new interface makes it possible to create in an entirely different way. Many people claim that they write differently when typing on a computer instead of using a pen and paper. This is the phenomenon at work with the iPad allowing new kinds of creativity to come forth.
Nostalgia. In what appears to be a bit of nostalgia, the iPad keyboard has tactile nibs on the “F” and “J” keys of the keyboard (see image).
They are, of course, not something you can feel since the keyboard is smooth glass.
Having tactile nibs on the “F” and “J” keys was a modification that Apple made to their keyboards sometime around 1999.