“What is Motive Academy?”
Motive Academy is a bit like Khan Academy except that we focus on teaching Design. Each video takes a look at one part of the Apple design process and searches for insight. In the 5-10 minute video we cover one key concept that Apple uses that can help you better understand design.
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The TV experience is begging to be reinvented. We all love watching TV so much that we’re willing to put up with the horrible experience of using our TVs. From punching in 3 digit codes to scanning guides that look like Excel spreadsheets.
Apple has the opportunity to revolutionize the TV experience. I believe that Apple will build its own HDTV set and you will use your eyes to interact with it. You will choose what you want to watch by looking at a thumbnail of it. It will have a home button just like iOS, but instead of having to press it you will activate it by looking at it. All interaction will be based on where you look with your eyes.
It won’t have a remote control. You won’t use your iPad. You will just use your eyes to interact and your voice to search with Siri. Steve Jobs said “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.” It doesn’t get any simpler than just using your eyes to look at what you want. Your eyes know what you want before your hand does.
Eye interaction technology already exists. With some open source tools and a modified web cam you can setup your own system for around $150. The stage that eye interaction is at is very similar to where multi touch was when Apple introduced the first iPhone. No one has built a mainstream, mass market product using eye interaction. A lot of people also haven’t seen it in action or used it, just like multi touch. It will take some work, but it’s ready for primetime.
When Apple releases new products that break open categories they always include a new innovative user interface. These new interfaces are far more useful than anything that came before. They massively improve experiences that we value.
Using your eyes to interact with your TV will have the same sense of wonder and magic that we all had when we first used a multi touch screen. Imagine just looking at what you want and having it happen. Television is the perfect application for this technology.
TV is a lean back medium. We don’t watch TV to interact we watch it to be entertained and relax. Eye interaction is perfect for TV because it can be a seamless part of the experience. You no longer need any extra devices. You don’t need a remote. You don’t have to wave your arms around. You don’t have to look away from the screen or call out commands.
With eye interaction Apple can forever change the TV experience. The App store for the Apple HDTV will be filled with great ideas from developers who invent new TV experiences that use eye interaction.
It will be a challenge to get eye interaction just right, but Apple has the user experience expertise to make it work beautifully. Eye interaction will have its own simple conventions just like the pinch or swipe in multi touch, but we won’t be blinking to click. Nor will we be swiping with our eyes. The conventions that have come before will not apply to eye interaction. Apple might be the only company that has the skillset to get eye interaction just right.
The evidence so far isn’t concrete, but there are some definite rumblings.
Terry Gou, Foxconn’s Chairman has assigned two task forces one will work on displays and the other will work on eye-control technology.
More from Patently Apple
“It was rumored in 2009 that Apple had been buying eye-tracking technology components from a Swedish company by the name of Tobii who already has their “Gaze” technology ready for Windows 8. The news of Hon Hai researching this technology suggests that Apple may incorporate this technology in their hardware sometime in the future.”
Cult of Mac has a source who claims to have seen the Apple HDTV prototype.
The camera features the source describes are all consistent with a system that tracks the user’s eyes to enable eye interaction.
“The camera is sophisticated, with facial recognition and the ability to zoom into the user’s face and follow them as they walk around the room. This allows users to make video calls from the couch across the room, rather than having to stand smack in front of the TV.”
Facetime seems better suited for the iPad or iPhone rather than the TV. It seems more likely that these features are used for eye interaction.
“If you see a stylus they failed” with those words Steve Jobs planted a tombstone on the stylus. He was completely right. As a user interface method multi touch is far better than a stylus. In fact using your finger to touch the internet is so far superior there really was no competition in the first place.
Everyone knows how Steve Jobs felt about the iPad stylus, but very few people know how much he loved to draw his ideas on a whiteboard. In his official biography by Walter Isaacson there are many stories of Steve Jobs drawing on a whiteboard to explain his ideas. Here are a few,
-To explain the concept of the Apple Store to members of the board.
-To show an engineer how the iDVD interface should look and work.
-To create the simple strategy of focusing on a few major products that ended up saving Apple upon his return in 1997.
The iPad is the ultimate whiteboard. You can share your ideas instantly with anyone and keep all of your new ideas with you at all times.
Steve Jobs didn’t change his mind often, but I would like to think that he would have eventually replaced drawing on a whiteboard with drawing on an iPad. He might have even realized that drawing with your finger isn’t easy. It’s a long shot, but just maybe he would have been tempted to find an iPad stylus that he enjoyed using to draw. That’s really what a stylus is by its very nature, a useful tool, not a user interface device.
Sketching something or scribbling a quick note is a completely different method of thinking in comparison to typing in a word document. One is quick and stream of consciousness and the other is much more rational and precise. One is phrases and sketches the other is fully constructed sentences. They are both valuable processes for different reasons. When we’re doing it we don’t realize it consciously, but it is easier to develop ideas when the process is more informal. There’s a reason that Steve Jobs used a whiteboard in meetings. Drawing was a part of his thought process.
Unfortunately we’ll never know if Steve Jobs would have ever come around to using an iPad stylus to draw on his iPad. I would like to think he would have at least been tempted.