Mice, Mice Everywhere! iPad, Swiftpoint and Touch versus Click...
It's been an interesting week for technology in little ol' New Zealand.
Today marks the launch of the iPad which - let me assure you cynics of the world - will change the way we access content in the same way that the iPod has changed the way we interact with music. Whether this is good or bad is an argument for another day... but the interface is simply magical from my limited time with one (thanks Jonathan!).
Interface is the key. Nintendo revolutionised video games with their touch screen handheld the DS (and who can forget the mighty awesomeness of the POWER GLOVE™?); then rocked the mainstream gaming world with the Wii. The fact that Micro$oft and Sony are only just coming to market with their own motion sensors shows two things. Firstly that product development takes time. Secondly that the way we interact with technology is changing, and changing because people want a more natural - dare I say it, human - way to work a world full of increasingly bewildering gadgets and gizmos.
Which is a backdrop against which the Swiftpoint mouse launches this week. Created by New Zealand inventor Grant Odgers, we had the pleasure of completing a CDC course with Grant many years ago, and worked with him in the early life of the "Future Mouse" before he got stolen away from us by the evil empire (ha ha, Grant no hard feelings I'm sure a mouse is in the mail to us as I type!!!)...
The Swiftpoint mouse is a tiny device that uses a pen-like grip to make using your laptop easier - and I have to agree that touchpads aren't really that great for heavy use. It's got a rapid charge, usb docking, and looks radically different from when we had our hands on the prototype. It also comes complete with a slick advert - notice the coolsie Mac product placement although points off for showing someone playing Doom 2 - that's about as "un-future" as you can get - and a moderately high price tag at $126NZD (and that's a launch special).
It made me think. When I first saw the Swiftpoint I was amazed at the thing. It seems disingenuous to say, but since then interfaces have changed, technology has changed, and speed to market advantages are easily lost. Whether it's capturing motion through a camera (Microsoft XBOX 360's Kinect), motion sensing (Nintendo Wii, PS3's Move), touch screen (Nintendo DS, Apples iPod Touch and iPad) or an "invisible mouse", there's a plethora of choice and the future keeps on shifting on step ahead...
Also the big disruption is the iPad, and given its international success tablets and touch screens are going to become a hot commodity as people scramble to meet the demand. Oh, and here.
What does it all mean for Grant and his "Future Mouse"?
I honestly don't know just as I honestly hope it makes him rich and famous. It would be a wonderful story for the New Zealand tech industry and it would be nice to see a good guy take it to the Logitech's of the world. Time will tell I suppose, but I for one will be watching closely.
The Swiftpoint mouse says it will revolutionise the way we use our laptops forever. I guess the bigger question is are laptops really the future?
It's Friday afternoon so on a lighter note, ridiculous gaming peripherals anyone? (This may put the whole horse thing in context for you...)