Touchscreens Have No Hand

via John Gruber. Edward Tufte:

There is no such hand in touchscreen computer devices. The touchscreen has no texture variation, has no physical surface information, is dead flat, reflects ambient light noise, and features oily fingerprint debris when seen at a raking angle. Also the elegant sharp edges that encase many touchscreens require users to desensitize their hands in order to ignore the physical discomfort produced by the aggressive edges. Last year in Cupertino, I yelled at some people about touchscreens that paid precise attention to finger touches from the user but not to how the device in turn touches the hands of the user (and produces divot edge-lines in the flesh).

I like the feeling of precision. The highly responsive capacitive multitouch glass. The slightest touch initiates a thousand little electrons to respond immediately. The CNC machined stainless steel chassis. They convey high tech.

You can get smartphones with softer and rounder edges, like the Lumia 800. They are usually made of plastic. Gruber mentions the plastic, or polycarbonate as Nokia would say it, “feels like a premium product.” Maybe plastic doesn’t have to convey cheap, but imagine this horrifying picture: a plastic iPhone 4.