Touch my Mac

[intro]Will the new version of OS X herald the age of touch-screen Macs? Maybe. But I have very dirty fingers.[/intro] Apple is due to release the n

Apple is due to release the next version of its operating system in the next couple of months, and we've already been given a number of clues as to what Mac OS X 10.5 (aka Leopard) will contain. None of them are Earth shattering. And Apple fans love, want, need Earth-shattering.

And so the current buzz is that Leopard has a secret feature that will only be announced at its launch - touch. Touch is the new button, as I've now said so many times that I've come to realise it really isn't funny. But it's true.

But touch-sensitive PCs have been with us for years – and they've hardly been a great success. Even HP's rather lovely Touch Smart PC (pictured) is destined to be a cult classic, not best-seller. So why will Apple succeed where Windows tablets have failed?

The answer could lie in the Minority Report-style controls of the iPhone's Multi-Touch interface. Multi-Touch is much more sophisticated that simple prod-based touch systems - it relies on gestures and movements of multiple fingers. And it's an Apple patent.

So, the next round of Apple laptops, displays and iMacs could feature Multi-Touch, supported by Leopard. It could be a revolution. It could be a gimmick. Or it could be inaccurate speculation.

Whatever, I have the feeling my LCD display will become a lot more smudged in the coming weeks. Hell, a man can dream, can't he?