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In a surprise announcement yesterday, Apple Computer said that is is
finally doing away with the keyboard.  Apple stated that the
microcomputer user has suffered too long with this awkward and
inefficient input device.  According to an Apple spokesperson, the
technology for replacing the keyboard with only a mouse is here and the
computer user is ready for it.  The spokesperson said that Apple has
received a steady stream of complaints over the years about the need to
constantly move the hands between the Mac keyboard and the mouse. "The
solution was obvious - do away with the keyboard completely."

Acknowledging that there are still a few Mac applications that depend on
textual input in addition to graphical manipulation, Apple said the poor
people stuck with such outdated technology have not been forgotten.
They are introducing the Spinning Alphabet Wheel (SAW) to replace the
keyboard.  The SAW is a screen display object consisting of concentric
circular strips showing all of the characters which normally appear on
the keyboard. The wheel rotates continuously under character selector
windows.  The user selects a character by placing the mouse pointer in
the appropriate window at the same time as the desired character is
about to appear.  "...and, ta-da, the selected character appears on the
screen just as though it had been typed on an old fashioned keyboard."

"This is a marvelous new technology with plenty of room for growth,"
said the spokesperson.  For example, the user can configure separate
wheels for vowels vs. consonants.  Or digits can be placed on their own
special low speed wheel.  "We have conceptualized the keyboard as a big,
bulky menu selection device and replaced it with dynamic display menus
instead.  Apple will eventually replace all menus with their new
Rotating Wheel Technology (RWT)."

When asked why the wheels have to rotate, the spokesperson said that
Apple's engineers had considered using conventional "point-and-click"
technology for the wheel.  "However, we feel that this type of operation
is too complicated for the typical Mac user.  So, we have done away with
the mouse button, too.  It is still hard for us to believe that the IBM
world has stepped backwards in technology by providing two or more
buttons to confuse the user.  The IBM compatible sector has not yet
recognized that 95% of computer usage is devoted to experimenting with
different fonts and character styles in documents."

Asked if this new technology would reduce the price of the typical Mac
computer, the spokesperson countered that it would probably increase the
price of the Mac.  "After all, display space is already scarce on the
current screen.  We will now deliver Macs with two screens - one for the
normal display and a larger one for the multitude of rotating wheels the
user needs to access."  Apple said that the user who is confused by
complicated devices such as keyboards and mouse buttons will gladly pay
a premium to avoid them.  "In fact, the easily-confused user is our best
customer," replied the spokesperson.  "Not only are we doing away with
the pesky keyboard, but we are also giving them something they have
demanded for a long time - more screen space.  this is definitely a
win-win situation."

Beta testers of the new technology were impressed by its ease of use,
but said there are still some minor problems to work out.  for example,
one tester left his machine unattended with the uppercase character
wheel spinning at medium speed.  While he was away somebody must have
jarred his desk, moving the mouse pointer into the selector window.
When he got back he found that his Word document now had one huge
paragraph consisting of all of the characters of the uppercase alphabet
repeated 2,539,987 times.  "At first glance, this appeared to be a big
problem.  But after I formated the new paragraph with 33 different fonts
and 11 different type styles, it looked great.  I hope that Apple fixes
this problem before they release it, because these accidents can greatly
increase the time spent formatting documents."


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