There’s an inherent benefit to only doing one thing at a time: the load of worrying about other tasks is lifted. Knowing that there isn’t anything else competing for your attention is quite liberating. Of course, the iPad is an extension of this.
What I’m getting at is that I don’t think the iPad is just another portable device that fills a gap. Even contrary to the way it was introduced, I don’t think the iPad fits the in-between-smartphone-and-PC moniker. I think it’s much more. I think it is the new PC — in its infancy.
I debated on whether or not to post this. It is a video of me getting more than a little ranty about the iPad and the future of computing as we know it. I finally compromised with myself and am posting a link and not the actual video. If you are ready to hear me scream and yell and wave my arms at the iPad nay sayers, check it out.
I am a technology professional. For almost 20 years I’ve tested, used, broke, fixed, and played with all kinds of technology from broadcasting to air conditioning to software. I am not easily swayed in these things. But even with all my skepticism, I think the iPad is something different. A new way of computing that will become commonplace.
The Macintosh, or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface rather than a command-line interface.
Look, I’m just going to spell it out here because hinting around it for a few weeks now here and other places (places like Twitter) have obviously not really gotten the point across about how big this is. So, I’ll just come out and say it again…
Everything you know about the “office” metaphor of computing, with files, folders, desktops, etc. is changing. Apple created it. Now they are replacing it. I think the confusing thing for many people is that, this time, they are not setting the paradigm from the top down (desktop to mobile) but from the bottom up (mobile to desktop).
A detail from the iPad keynote: Steve demoes the Mail application and he puts it in horizontal mode. Oh, look, an Inbox list pops in. Neat.
And I think, hmmm I wonder if you can resize that splitter, making the source list wider. Its a tiny target, so it would be hard to grab…
And then I realize: you can’t resize it.
And a bright light did shine upon my liberated face and a voice did whisper a thunder: You’re free. Free of pointless preferences and finger-baiting adjustments.
As Andy puts it, the iPad is an administrivia-removal device.
You may have noticed I have been reblogging less and less lately but this deserved to be seen in it’s entirety before I expanded on the point.
I have been seeing so many people have been focussing on what the iPad can’t do. To me, many of those “missing features” are a good thing. The lack of options we have come to expect in a world where options are plentiful (On the Mac, there are at least three ways to quit any application), are a bonus on a device like this. They are even more of a bonus for those who are not savvy computer users. It may come as a shock to us geeks, but many people can’t handle multiple choices on a computing device (How many ways are there to quit an app on the iPhone, and now, iPad? One. The Home button.). They learn the one way to do something and they always do it that way.
Furthermore, it is increasingly apparent that Apple feels that he moment you are presented with an option you are taken away from the experience and interaction with the device and that, my friends, is the secret sauce that Apple sells you. They have never been in the business of selling you a box. They sell you an experience and the more immersed you are in that experience, and the less choices you have to make, the more you can simply focus on what you need to get done.
By now I am sure you know everything there is to know about the iPad. It is a stunning device. I am at a loss for words on where to begin or what I can add that others have not. That said, I am going to try to make some observations and, hopefully, add some new things to think about:
There is no way you can have any idea of how amazing this thing is by looking a pictures and reading sound bytes and blogs. You have to watch the video on the official site. Seriously, stop reading right now and go watch it. I’ll wait… Back now, good. As you can see, every single built in app has been re-imagined for this device. Now, here is something to think about… What if every Mac had applications designed specifically to exploit the capabilities, screen size, etc. of the device? What if the SDK’s allowed a developer to support these nuances in a single app (i.e if it’s an iPhone - look and feel this way, iPad - That way). Now, what if you had a large display that you could slide the iPad right into the side? If the software is built right it could adjust (If iPad in display – do this…).
Very interesting how Mr. Jobs pushed the fact that Apple is a mobile devices company so hard.
Pair the iBook store with Amazon’s Kindle.app and you not only have one killer book selling device, you also have witnessed the death of the Kindle itself. That’s OK though since Amazon likely does not make a profit (I say likely because they refuse to talk about those numbers) on the device, it is simply a way to sell more books.
The publishing industry has been aching for a way to make money off of the content in the internet age. It’s simple, make great “iTouch” apps and make them free through the app store, then charge your normal subscription rates. I can think of several publications I would subscribe to here for a richer experience, ads and all (Wired, Vanity Fair, New York Times, etc.)
I am sure I will have more thoughts and may update this post as they come. Until then, I can say that I could easily see this being a main computer for a lot of people, especially if you have apps as robust as the iWork ones demoed at the event. Seems like it would fit a large number of people’s “enough”
Thanks to both TUAW and being featured on Tumblr’s wonderful new directory, it seems there are a lot of new visitors to the site. Welcome. I really do hope you stick around for a while. I urge you to check out a few pages, learn a bit about your humble (well, most of the time) Curator, and most of all take away a few ideas that at the least cause you to think and, at most, really, truly change your game.
There are no comments enabled here but I more than welcome them on Twitter. Feel free to ask me a question or even pick a fight. As long as either of those is posed with intelligence and a general willingness to foster understanding and growth, I will respond.
Like I said, the best way to get a feel for what this little project of mine is all about is to go simply peruse the site. That said, in order to get you started, here are some of my faves:
For some time I’ve been meaning to test my small collection of PDA/smartphone gadgets to see which of their methods of input was quickest. The iPhone’s software keyboard? The Newton’s handwriting recognition? Palm’s Graffiti? With the possible imminent arrival of a tablet from Apple that will save the world, it seemed a good time to get round to the test.
Fascinating and I am also somewhat surprised by the overall results. (thx DF)
I am quite a bit delayed in linking to this excellent showdown between Quicksilver, Google Quick Search Box, and LaunchBar my friend Chris put on recently. If you have been wondering how the features of the three compare, this is a must read.
It’s weird to say your life needs more friction. But I think mine does. Distractions are so easy to get to, there’s almost no good reason not to partake. Unless I count the one big reason: we all have big, important, useful work we could be doing.
Theres lots of lovely little morsels of truth to be found here.
Our “desktop” computers’ human interfaces haven’t fundamentally changed since 1984 — keyboard and mouse/trackpad for input, overlapping draggable resizable windows on-screen, and a hierarchical file system where you create and manage “document files”. Have you ever sat back, scratched your chin, and wondered when the computer industry will break free of these current interfaces — which can be a hassle even for experts, and downright confusing (e.g. click vs. double-click) for the non-experts? Surely no one expects the computer interfaces of, say, 50 years hence to be based on these same metaphors and input methods. What’s the next step?
Fantastic writeup by Jack Mottram on why using the Spotlight-like search features of the iPhone seems like a far better way to launch applications, especially if you have lots of them. Love this line:
Computers are much, much better than people at indexing and retrieving stuff, so let them.
This is in step with much of what I believe and have expressed here in the past. For some reason, my monkey brain did not translate this idea to the iPhone. I plan to change this as part of my "use it or lose it" experiment.
He said he thought that the iPhone’s “multitouch” control system, in which the fingers are used to scroll through data or enlarge photos on the screen, was the biggest shift in a computer’s user interface since the Macintosh was introduced.
Further proof to support my theory that there are some things to think about regarding the future of the human to computer interface being changed and defined right before us from the ground up. (via DF)
"QUITE POSSIBLY THE WORLD’S MOST PERFECT COMPUTER"
Hard for me to disagree with that statement. This is a wonderful ode to a fine machine. I have one sitting, rarely used but in perfect running order, on my workbench right now. There are a few dents and the tilde key is missing but I can’t find the heart to part with it. It is, by far, my favorite Mac ever made (Powerbook 2400 runs a very close second).
This requirement of simplicity is rooted in my belief that choices are distractions and distractions are the leading cause of you not writing.
I can’t believe I have not yet linked to Rands wonderful take on OmmWriter. I’d say more but I would give it all away. Let’s just suffice to say that there are times I am sure he is my Tyler Durden and the day I read this was further confirmation.