Once upon a time, Steve Jobs said that Apple didn’t want to get into touchscreen desktop computing because it was unnatural to use a vertical touchscreen for extended periods of time, and that it ultimately led to fatigue. Of course, Steve typically knows his interaction design well enough that you don’t mess with him when he makes such a proclamation – and if you’ve ever used a vertical touchscreen yourself, it isn’t long before you realize he’s right. Vertical touchscreens suck.
Enter HP, who have clearly taken Steve’s words to heart and unveiled a new line of PCs that needn’t give you Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the worst way – the TouchSmart 610 and the TouchSmart 9300 Elite. In an absurdly simple solution, the PCs can recline to a 60° angle, making them look more like they fell out of TNG than HP; incidentally, this also makes them perfect for most typical touchscreen operations.
You may have heard the parable of the US Space Program, and how they once spent billions of dollars developing a pen that could write in space. The Russians? They just used pencils. Similarly, it’s interesting that Jobs hadn’t thought to introduce a reclining iMac before HP swooped in to corner this novel approach to invading the home with touchscreens. The iPad doesn’t count, guys.
And HP is banking on these units hitting more than just the home: the 9300 Elite is intended for business – for kiosks, customer service desks, walls, you name it. Whether it takes off remains to be seen, but HP could really have something nifty here – and all because they had the foresight to add a new hinge to the screen’s stand. Whoda thunk.
If you’ve gotta have one of these now, the TouchSmart 610 will be in stores on February 9th for $899. The Elite is currently experiencing the effects of the Intel chip recall, so you’ll have to wait till May on that one.