I know, if I were going to write a review about the latest Windows operating system I’m a bit late. You’ve probably heard it already, multiple times, or else you don’t care. But this is different. Promise. To begin with, I don’t really like Windows. I like Ubuntu. This post isn’t really about Windows. This is about Windows 8, and how it’s a herald of the future.
A few months ago I started thinking about buying a laptop. I thought about what I wanted in a laptop, I started staring at ultrabooks on Amazon, and finally I trudged over to Staples to see what sort of shiny new hardware they had lying around. (That’s what I like about real brick-and-mortar electronic stores; you can play with stuff and then go home and buy it on Amazon.) They didn’t have an ultrabooks, sadly, but they had all the cool tablets, and some cool laptops. And then I got down to the desktop setups and discovered they had touch screen monitors.
My friend keeps insisting this is nothing new. Touchscreen monitors come and go like 3D movies. And I know I’m probably quite behind the times and everyone else already knows about this. But since I haven’t heard anyone saying it I think you’ve missed the point. We have touch screen monitors.
Do you know what this means? We have achieved Minority Report level of technology. Iron Man level is only a few years off. Standing there in that old fashioned, real life electronics store I flicked my fingers and screens flashed by. I had the option of a mouse and keyboard for finer work, but the convenience of simple hand-gestures was astonishing and a little addicting. Seriously, I want one.
No, really. I want one. Don’t tell me it’s bad for you or impractical. Those movies weren’t that far off. Soon we’ll have that level of technology on a day-to-day basis. We will have computers that are tablets, and vice versa, that work with external input or respond to hand gestures. And meanwhile we’re working on something else:
Google glass. Virtual reality glasses. In the movies these are holographic projections. Remember that scene in Iron Man 3 where he recreates the bomb scene? Or, in fact, every seen in all those movies where he changes the zoom of what he’s working with by flicking his fingers? If we’re already used to working on computers with our fingers, once we have virtual reality glasses that project holographic illusions, then those glasses can respond to the same gestures and we’ll have Iron Man class technology.