What innovations are left?

While one doesn’t want to invoke Charles H. Duell, the truth is that the hardware has gotten amazingly good, and I’m hard-pressed to think of something which hasn’t been at least tried:

  • pretty much every sort of hinge
  • myriad keyboard configurations
  • dual-screen devices such as Lenovo Yogabook 9i

It’s kind of amazing to think that I could buy two Wacom One 13" w/ Touch displays, plug them into a Mac Mini or Raspberry Pi 5, work up some sort of case, and have something which would weigh less and be about as portable as my GRiDcase III Plus (save for a battery, but maybe that could be integrated into the case?).

The one thing which isn’t being done is some sort of multi-function interface/connector intended for folding — and of course there’s the whole dumbing down of the software — I’m beginning to worry that there’s a window where the Mac OS will work with a stylus in a way not over-ridden by touch which is open for the moment, but will be closing in a too-soon future update.

Here’s to hoping (again) that Samsung will make their own dual-screen unit w/ Wacom EMR…

That would be tempting, as would an 11" Oryon WOA Galaxy Tablet, AMOLED, 16gb, 1tb, EMR (how about a side order of S-Pen stick in a silo)???

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But would this really count as ‘innovation’ though? (Not that I wouldn’t be salivating too :stuck_out_tongue: )

If I were to take a page out of @Bishop’s book, I’d say the space for tablet innovation is in UI, UI, UI…

After all this time, most tablet apps still suffer from ‘scaled-up phone’ app syndrome, or from landscape-locked, scaled-down desktop app syndrome. It seems an actual tablet-centric UX still stumps desginers: they generally don’t integrate pen input, and still design around single-app experiences, rather than for multi-app productivity.

This is the reason why demise of the Duo/Neo was a deathknell: they were the only devices that forced app developers to think about synergies with another app, opened togther, in the mobile space. Just think about planner pages, and how they always layout sections to encourage connection-building and mental organization.

The death of Courier before that, spelled the end of the ‘notebook’ UI paradigm which the Newton OS and PenPointOS budded briefly.

It seems a tablet OS is just long trail of littered corpses… (yet our little forum keeps truckin’ on. :wink: )


Yeah, the software angle is just depressing.

I was hoping it would help when I sold my copy of the PenPoint UI Guidelines to a law-firm…

In an a.i. universe, who’s gonna need stylus input?

The current cornucopia of varied consumer grade devices may prove to be a blip! Buy now, while appendages are still high-value items.

Assuming otherwise, however…

I’m still waiting for screens which come in rolls, like wallpaper, user mountable to whatever surface you like.

Though…, they’ll probably be millimeter wave powered and activated, (look for “Super Blue Tooth”, or something like that). Then you can use whatever stylus you like.

I probably won’t go for it, though. -I don’t want millimeter waves saturating my life, scanning me and lulling my brain, like broadcast Soma pills.

(Side note… Did you know that Soma pills are a real thing now and not just a fictional reference from ‘Brave New World’? And people take them? On purpose…?)

I had a moment of horror the other day. My Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 15 didn’t turn on, even with repeated power button clicking! “Oh no! It’s dead! What am I going to do???”

Turns out the battery was drained and not some other critical failure I couldn’t solve with a power outlet. But it had me going for a second! (Not that I don’t have a second one sitting in the wings waiting to scoop me from that kind of disaster…)

But what the heck?? That device seems to have picked up a nasty habit of running something in the background, even while hibernating, which drains the battery. I can’t figure out what it is, and to be honest, I don’t use the device daily anymore, (I’m able to work from home these days), so the 2-in-1 stays in my backpack for days at a time now while I sit at the big Dell. So maybe it always run like that and I just never noticed before…?

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I think we’ve only scratched the surface of innovation in the long run. I’m reminded of the trajectory of technology in many of William Gibson’s books (and how many of them have predicted where we are today). Depending on consumer appetite, I think screens will eventually be a thing of the past, mostly. What we’re waiting on is sufficiently advanced power supplies, or sufficiently low power draw, for true wearable glasses with gesture controls. Current privacy laws may hinder the gesture side of it, so we may see some other forms of controls, but I have a feeling as people get used to it, and the more people actively record with dashcams and cell phones in public anyway, we may eventually see this one come to pass. Who needs a 64" monitor when you can have an entire virtual world on your eyes with as many monitors with whatever aspect ratios you prefer?

Beyond that, of course, is the next generations of Elon Musk’s chips in our heads that forgo gesture control for thought control.

I think there are several good reasons for why this is and why we most likely won’t see great improvement in this area. Primarily is the market just won’t support the cost for 3 fully separate OSes. But in essence, that’s really what we are talking about. A tablet isn’t a mobile device like a phone, but it also isn’t a desktop. Its inputs and aspect ratio, and controls should be different for its form factor. And, if we are talking about just adjusting applications in current OSes, for developing an app, it’s not always as simple as creating adjustments for larger screen sizes, or smaller screen sizes, or screens with touch, etc. So to really provide the type of UI innovation needed, the market needs to support it, and I just don’t see that happening yet. Too many businesses are tied to desktops as the solution, and too many consumers are ok with just using their phones/mobile. Surface devices were the best bet, and I imagine if MS hadn’t suddenly shifted their focus (yet again), they could have pushed businesses toward a tablet centric interface, peddling the Surface design as the true best productivity option. But MS never has had their stuff together enough to maintain focus for that long. Apple has been more consistent in that regard, but they seem content to never even look at touch for MacOS, and instead make a small adjustment to iOS and call it iPadOS to keep that side moving.


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We really wont tho.

I will. I don’t usually sell my art commercially so I’m not trying to use AI for any of that. I just like to draw and paint. The act of creating in and of itself will always need an outlet. Maybe some people will use different tools, but I think many artists will always want to be more hands on.

This is a great summary of where we stand today.

The Surface Neo/Surface Duo was at the forefront of a new design ethos. They created a singular purpose with specific complimentary designs that would have been perfect for most business professionals. I don’t care one bit for the debate between folding/separate screens - until material science pulls out a miracle, two separate glass screens are sturdier and better than a folding plasticky surface.

I suspect the cancellation of Neo and slow atrophy of Duo were the real reason for Panay’s defection/demise. There is no creative spark left at Microsoft, short of piling up cash with AI magic (or is that sleight of hand). Same goes for the stagnation as Apple - while the ecosystem is much tighter and focused (the genius of owning the hardware and software), it is all about balkanizing each of the lines so you HAVE TO HAVE an iPhone, iPad, AND Mac to make the ecosystem complete.

Maybe Panay can continue that forward thinking innovation at Amazon (nah - just take one look at Bezos’ Blue Origin and tell me you don’t think Project Mercury).

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