Now that the iPhone/iTouch revolution is upon us, its clear that Apple has not just released a new device, but launched a new platform pushing computing forward into the mobile space. One of the most innovative things about the iPhone/iTouch is the way we interact with it. Using the patented touch and sensor technologies, Apple has brought about a new way to interact with our machines and our information. Apple has recently expanded their touch technology onto the MacBook Pro platform enabling traditional notebook users to use the new multi-touch features on their trackpad. I would guess this technology will eventually make its way into the entire mobile Apple computer line-up (it is still missing from Macbooks). It may even trickle into desktop systems via new displays (Apple please give us new displays!) and input devices… Now along comes Multiclutch.
A clever developer, Will Henderson, has just released a beta version of this utility. It has a nice review by Dan Frakes on Macworld. You really need to see the video to appreciate what it does. Basically, Multiclutch allows the touch technology to drive other aspects of your Mac computing experience in addition to the default built-in touch support which is fairly limited. It turns out that touch is actually a pretty good way to get around your Mac. You have the ability to customize gestures to a wide range of actions with various programs. Dan really likes how you can use Multiclutch to flip through our Spaces on your Leopard equipped Mac…
To give you an idea of how you might use MultiClutch, I’ve added gestures for Safari so that Zoom In increases text size; Zoom Out closes the current tab; Swipe Right or Left switches to the next tab to the right or left, respectively; and the Zoom Out/In combination creates a new tab. I’ve also set Zoom Out as a global gesture for Command+W, so I can close the current window in any program by simply pinching two fingers together; and Swipe Down is set to minimize the current window to the Dock—a rather intuitive gesture, in this case.
Another very cool use of MultiClutch is to switch between workspaces when using Leopard’s Spaces feature. A simple three-fingered swipe—up, down, left, or right—“swipes aside” the current workspace to switch to a different one.
The point of all this is that we are seeing the beginning of a truly new way to interact with our information. The keyboard and mouse I think will be with us awhile longer, but clearly touch screens and various motion sensors are coming into their own allowing our interactions to be more seamless, creative, fluid and hopefully more fun!
Disclaimer: Multiclutch is beta software so please proceed with caution if you download and install it on your system!