Can the “touch-screen computer” be redefined with the new posture of the Surface?

No one should deny that the original iPhone presented by Jobs at Macworld 2007 redefines the touch screen.

The first-generation iPhone used a smooth capacitive touch screen with iOS’s excellent animation effects, using sliding instead of tapping, and opening two fingers to zoom in on a picture is impressive because the iPhone’s touch screen brings "everything" What it should be".

In 2008, "The Economist" published an article entitled "The Future of Touch", which mentioned that although the iPhone has achieved success with its excellent touch experience, the one who will benefit the most from touch screen technology in the future should be Computers are not handheld devices, and it is predicted that touch screens will replace mice in the future.

More than a decade later, touch-screen laptops have indeed become popular in the market. However, contrary to the predictions of The Economist, touch-screen technology has neither replaced the mouse, nor is it as attractive as imagined. It is even one of the most marginal considerations for consumers.

Counting from the Surface RT in 2012, Microsoft has always wanted to make the Surface series a benchmark for personal mobile devices, giving touch notebooks some practical meaning through a variety of new forms such as two-in-one, and promoting the use of touch-screen notebooks (or tablets). Laptop).

And recently, Microsoft released a brand new "three-in-one" product: Surface Laptop Studio, a "fusion" of Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Studio.

In normal state, Surface Laptop Studio is a notebook. When you want to touch the screen, you can push the screen forward. When you want to draw and write, you can completely lower the screen like Surface Studio. Write in a tablet posture.

This forward-leaning bracket structure similar to the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard may become a new form of touch screen computer in the future.

Will Surface Laptop Studio make the touch screen better?

The Surface series may be the most "tidy" computer series. From the Surface RT separate keyboard structure, to the unique two-in-one structure of the Surface Book, to the three-form conversion structure of the Surface Laptop Studio, the industrial design of the Surface is always bold. And confident.

Compared with the Surface Book, which can also switch between the notebook mode and the Studio mode, the touch mode that can maintain a 45-degree angle is the biggest feature of the Surface Laptop Studio.

I have used a lot of laptops with touch screens. At first, I would raise my hand impatiently and "point and point" to the screen, but after using it for a long time, I always forget that this requires a price increase of 1,000 yuan or more. Many extra features.

Because when you keep your hands tapping on the keyboard, raising your hand to tap the screen is much more troublesome than tapping down on the touchpad or holding the mouse at hand.

People always tend to walk in the shortest distance. This is especially true for efficient human-computer interaction. In most cases, raising your hand to touch the screen is inefficient.

However, the touch screen is not always tasteless. When I want to browse a large number of websites and documents, sliding the page with the touch screen is much more intimate than using the mouse wheel, because when my finger slides on the screen, there is a real feeling of touching the paper.

The laptop's touch screen is like a tasteless existence, it can be used but not easy to use, unless…bring it closer.

Ergonomic Solutions, an ergonomics consulting agency, conducted a series of tests and found that the distance between the user and the screen should not exceed 250mm when using the touch screen, and the higher the screen, the closer the touch distance should be.

In addition, the distance of the screen and the tilt angle will also affect the user experience. Generally speaking, looking diagonally downward is the preferred viewing angle for most users. The closer the human eye is to the screen, the greater the tilt angle of the screen.

The method of zooming in Surface Laptop Studio is very simple. Hold the upper frame of the screen with your hand and gently break it. The lower part of the screen will be separated from the stand, and then pull the screen down between the keyboard and the touchpad. The magnetic structure attracts the screen and maintains a stable 45-degree angle structure.

Microsoft calls this a new tablet mode. You can either touch the screen or use the touchpad at the bottom of the screen. If you need to type and search temporarily, don't worry about pushing the screen away. Click the input box and it will pop up the new design of Windows 11. virtual keyboard.

▲ Of course, it is completely depressed for creation

The closer the Surface Laptop Studio seems to be insignificant, it actually allows you to lower the palm of your hand that was originally suspended in the air, and then lean against the touch screen on the palm rest.

Small changes can effectively relieve the pressure on the wrist and make the touch of the big screen no longer so "out of reach". From this point of view, the design of the Surface Laptop Studio and the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard is indeed similar.

"Touch screen computers are anti-human"

The success of the iPhone made people expect Apple to bring touch control to the MacBook series, but in 2010 Jobs completely dispelled this speculation when he released the new MacBook Air.

this will not work.

Jobs said that Apple has done a lot of user tests in this regard, and the results have proved that the ergonomic performance of the touch-screen Mac is very poor. Since the screen is perpendicular to the front of the person, you must raise your arm if you want to touch it, and it will not take long for your arm to feel fatigued and soft.

The touch screen should be level, it needs a cushion.

Therefore, Apple spends more energy on creating a more usable trackpad, allowing users to quickly operate the Mac with a variety of gestures, instead of simply adding a touch layer to the screen, and then making the user's shoulders and arms sore. .

In the deployment of touch screens, the PC camp and the Mac camp also have differences. PCs represented by Surface believe that since the traditional notebook form touch is anti-ergonomic, it would be better to change the form.

As a result, a variety of two-in-one notebooks born for touch have ushered in an explosion, and various manufacturers are actively exploring the next form of notebooks, such as Yoga, XPS 2 in 1 series of 360-degree rotating inverted screens , The Lingyao series brings the screen to the touchpad, as well as various Windows tablets that follow the Surface.

In 2013, Sony VAIO launched a unique two-in-one product, VAIO Fit 13A. At that time, it adopted a front-pull screen bracket design. However, VAIO did not take the 45-degree tilt as the focus of the product. It can be turned 180 degrees and used as a desktop tablet.

▲ The ConceptD 7 Ezel, which looks cute on the surface, actually has a piece of RTX 3080 plugged in.

Many PC manufacturers have also designed similar front-pull screen notebooks, such as the ConceptD 7 Ezel launched by Acer for the designer community, and the Elite Folio launched by HP.

The appearance of Surface Laptop Studio is like Microsoft's recognition of the front-pull screen design. It is not as aggressive as a flip screen, and it will not be as weak as a separate tablet, and it can provide a more ergonomic touch experience.

▲ HP Elite Folio Picture from: TheVerge

The difference from the past is that the touch screen is no longer intended to replace the traditional touch or keyboard and mouse operation, but to provide users with a new interaction between notebooks and tablets and other handheld devices.

When you are using Excel, PS, etc. and need a lot of precise operations, the mouse is undoubtedly the first choice for serious work. When you browse the web, watch videos and other leisure and entertainment, it is also a way to zoom the screen closer and then use the touch screen to touch. A more comfortable posture.

However, to allow users to accept an interactive mode other than the keyboard and mouse, hardware changes alone are not enough.

Windows 11 makes the wave of touch screens more meaningful

Since the Windows 7 era, Microsoft has begun to make adaptive designs for touch interaction. However, the touch experience of Windows has not been highly evaluated, and it is difficult to satisfy users who use the tablet mode.

Microsoft may also be aware of the importance of this issue. When Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay introduced Windows 11, he focused on the touch screen optimization of Windows 11 and said that "touch" is the 5 core considerations of Windows 11 design. one.

If you switch to Windows 11, you will find that many design changes of the new UI are almost all to "fit for fingers": the start menu bar has been greatly simplified, from a list to a large icon, which is convenient for finger clicks; file resource management The top bar of applications such as mobile devices has been left blank, also to accommodate fingers; the control center almost completely refers to the design of mobile devices such as Android, and the interface is much streamlined…

Windows 11 is compatible with Android software, which makes the touch screen more practical. This means that you no longer need to awkwardly press and drag the mouse to slide the mobile phone application. The touch screen is like a bridge, allowing the PC and the phone to interact. The ecology is connected.

Good hardware always works with good software. If the touch screen notebooks in the past are always almost meaning, then Windows 11 and the front-pull screen represented by Surface Laptop Studio will likely bring a change to this experience.

The Surface Laptop Studio, priced at $1,599, is destined to be a work of high and low quality, but it provides a good idea for the market as to what direction notebooks should evolve in the future. This is the answer given by Microsoft.

Higher, higher.

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