A Brief History of Computer Icons
In fact Mac OS X Lion, the most recent Macintosh Operating system, has integrated touchpad interactivity with the traditional desktop interface and early trade previews of Windows 8 reflect the same kind of changes with Microsoft. Windows 8 will dramatically change the Windows user experience with a dashboard style interface with integration for touch screen desktop monitors. Thankfully Windows 8 will ship with the choice of either the new “touch friendly” interface or the Windows 7 style desktop GUI, but this is definitely a trend icon designers should be watching for the future. With major players in the OS space moving towards a single user experience it isn’t too far-fetched to theorize that desktop interfaces will change to look more like mobile interfaces in the future. Along with these changes, advances in viewing technology are driving the maximum scale of icon designs skyward. The Apple Macintosh line of desktop computers is rumored to have iPhone style retina display technology. With this change, OS x Lion has a maximum icon scale of a massive 1024 x 1024px scale.
With touchpads becoming common in the marketplace, explaining how to perform complicated actions is made clear with the use of icons. Illustrations provided by GestureWorks.