In a discussion and demonstration at the Wall Street Journal’s tech executive conference, D: All Things Digital 6,honchos Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates demonstrated some of the flagship features of Windows 7, the successor to Vista that the company hopes will fare better with consumers.
The functionality the ‘softies were most excited about: touch and multi-touch integration, which seems to have inherited many of its features from Microsoft’s conceptual Surface Table touch surface. Multi-touch gestures will include two-finger zoom while using photo galleries, flicking, and panning of on-screen objects. Interestingly, the technology isn’t just limited to one or two fingers; as they demonstrate using the Paint application, you can use all 10 fingers at once as inputs (in this case, to finger paint.) Also included in Windows 7 will be an in-depth map application, fully touch-navigable, that makes use of Microsoft’s Live Maps and Virtual Earth. Apple fanatics will be incensed to see the addition of an OS X-like application dock that complements the Start bar.
Naturally, a lot could change between now and Windows 7’s release, which Microsoft has slated for November 2009. That said, the pair’s enthusiasm suggests that it’s likely that these features will make it into the final iteration in some form or another. Whether Redmond will deliver the release on time –- that’s another story.