Breakthroughs often beget other breakthroughs, and Apple's slick use of touch technology on its iPhone has set touch-screen makers to salivating. An industry once relegated to niches now sees the potential for riches.
The market for touch screens has grown quietly for years, both in commercial applications like restaurant point-of-sale systems, credit card signature readers or automated teller machines, and in consumer devices like global positioning systems and game platforms. But touch screens haven't created much excitement as the main way for people to use things like phones or computers or other consumer electronics -- until now.
"Apple changed everybody's mind about touch," says Geoff Walker, global director of product management at Tyco Electronics' Elo TouchSystems unit, a big seller of touch screens. That iPhone users can so easily resize photos with just a pinch or a flick of their fingertips is "supercool," he says.