Some of the folks anxious to see how the coming launch of Windows 7 goes over are those hoping that the operating system's touchscreen or multitouch capabilities will increase demand for their touch-based applications. IdentityMine, for example, has kept employment levels steady while others in the space couldn't by working on apps for Microsoft's Surface tabletop computing system, and now for Windows 7, as well. If this capability is what consumers indicate they want to use in their new Windows 7 machines, the company will be well-positioned, and maybe a bit lonely. It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation right now, as most folks haven't had much experience with touchscreens, so they don't know if they would want one or not. And those that do want one may be asking what touch-enabled apps they can anticipate using in the near future.
The Microsoft Touch Pack available to OEMs to demonstrate multitouch contains three games and three game-like applications designed for Surface and rewritten for Windows 7. Fun, but not yet a fully formed set of examples of what the interface could do. For business tech purchasers and users, even if they're prepared to shell out for new hardware and software, the reality is that the technology is in most cases better suited to receiving data and perhaps manipulating it than to inputting it. This interesting piece at Accountancy Age attempts to predict what folks in that profession could do with touch, though the ideas are applicable for many positions. For instance, David Doyle of Capgemini says he can see productivity gains in the marriage of touch and business intelligence -- again, using the interface to effectively present data to less-technical folks, not to collect it.
Users will also need a machine on which to use multitouch. BusinessWeek's Stephen Wildstrom says that touch capabilities might bring laptop users back to the desktop, based on his review of the Dell Studio One 19. The touchscreen monitor is quiet, clean-looking, and worked great with an early version of Windows 7. He also gave a nod to HP's TouchSmart. Mary-Jo Foley at ZDNet, who is not a huge fan of touchscreens, asks whether netbooks might score another win if folks decide that they are best-suited to touch apps -- if only, that is, there were some apps to be had. And Michael Scalisi, writing at PCWorld, is already sold, saying that touchscreen netbooks will "likely have massive appeal for business users." He thinks they'll be happy to use the interface in working with spreadsheets and word processing.