Thursday, March 31, 2011

Multitouch Multitasking Gestures on iOS 4.3

Guy English:

This all sounds wonderful but I still think they’re a bad idea and shouldn’t ship enabled by default. The problem isn’t that they’re not handy (zing), rather that they break what I feel is one of the key wonders of iPad — it becomes the application that is running. These multitasking gestures add a set of interactions that relate not to what is on the screen but to an abstract higher-level of functionality. The touch screen is now an input into two systems: the application and the operating system. Despite the utility I believe this is a step backwards and certainly a trade off I’d be hesitant to make so early in what will undoubtedly be a long-lived product’s life cycle.

His idea of using the Home button seems unwieldy, but I agree that it makes sense for system-level gestures to require something more than touching the screen.

1 Comment

I just spent some time using a BlackBerry Playbook, which has a pretty nice solution to this problem: the system-level gestures for switching apps and for returning to the launcher are swipes which start on the bezel and continue onto the screen. This seems like a pretty good way to avoid accidental activation.

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