On the Leap
By now you’ve probably seen the promotional video of the Leap, which created quite a stir last week all over internets. But just in case, here it is.
It definitely is cool. I just have a problem with the Leap being positioned by the producer in a “We are changing the world” and “Say goodbye to your mouse and keyboard” way.
I would like to see better interface for our desktop and laptops as much as the next guy but I rather doubt that it would be the Leap. Here is why.
Desktop-class OS metaphor itself
Whether we like it or not, the desktop + windows + files metaphor currently used in OS X, Windows and other operating systems is built to be used with keyboard and mouse. It does not matter how good the Leap is, it will not be better for the current operating systems.
We see it on the touch devices like iPhone or iPad that for the new interface method to be better for some tasks, it required completely different OS.
So, if you saw the video above and thought “Wow, this is how I want to control my computer”, forget it, not going to happen. Not the least because controlling something with virtual touch is one abstraction layer more than using the touch we already have coming in full swing.
Accessory you need to buy
OK, so what if there are going to be applications developed for the Leap that run on the classical OS’s? That is definitely possible, but as it requires user to invest $70 on the top of the app price, we could predict, it will be interesting proposal for very limited number of apps.
Yes, I know, producer of the Leap says they are in the talks of integrating the technology right into notebooks but even if we give this the benefit of doubt, we could be sure it will be on very small number of the total market for some time. Who would develop his application for such a constrained niche? Chicken and egg, anyone?
Revolution? No. Useful? Could be.
I will tell you who maight. For example someone who wants to wow his target audience. Showrooms of car dealers, jewelleries, booths on trade shows and such.
Or highly custom applications for many areas such as 3D modeling and there are surely others.
The Leap could be useful, but it definitely will not be revolutionary.