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New iPad, Microsoft Surface prove evolution of multitouch computing

Updated: November 25, 2012 11:53AM



Most of the exciting news from Apple comes from the announcement of the hotly anticipated $329 iPad Mini. They also updated the full-sized iPad, however. And though the fourth generation iPad is by no means a landmark for the product (it’s twice as fast as its predecessor, and has a short list of modernizations), its release might be an indicator of just how much the PC industry has changed since the iPad’s 2010 debut.

Slowly, but demonstrably, the public’s central definition of computing is moving away from keyboards and toward multitouch. Multitouch is at the core of Microsoft’s tectonic new release of Windows. Windows 7 was wired up for touch. Windows 8, which Microsoft will show off along with its new tablet at a media event Thursday, goes far beyond allowing people to use their fingertips as a mouse and fully commits to the clarity, focus and tactile nature of a user interface that was build with touch in mind.

Witness the waves of new hardware that are appearing this week. Microsoft is shipping Surface, its iPad-like post-PC device, Friday. ASUS, Acer and other manufacturers are rolling out compact Windows 8 hybrid devices that transmogrify easily from tablet to notebook configuration easily.

And each of these devices is right in the price range of the iPad. I never would have predicted a new iPad would arrive this week. The week when Microsoft shows that they’ve been hard at work updating their OS is also a good week for Apple to remind everyone they haven’t been resting on their successes.

Andy Ihnatko



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