I read an interesting piece today on MacWorld by Kenneth van Wyk. The article, which originally ran in ComputerWorld, speaks to the conclusion many are making about the iPad; that it represents the future of computing. While some may think it a bit premature to crown the iPad as the once and future king, Mr. van Wyk brings up some interesting points worth discussing.
The article’s thesis is based around several key points:
- The iPad is a consumer appliance, not a computer in the traditional sense.
- The lack of interaction and decision involved in interacting with the iPad file system may seem “limiting” to the geek but to the general consumer this is interpreted as “simple”.
- The control exerted by the application segmentation on the iPad keeps one program from interfering with another.
- The application approvals process does a reasonable job of keeping malware out of the App Store.
All of this leads to the central point of the story, that the iPad is a consumer friendly device for the myriad of tasks non-power users buy a full sized computer for.
And let’s face it, if you’re reading this story you’re probably a power user. Your friends are probably power users too. I would consider myself a power user. Sadly though my friend, you and I are in the minority. We want the iPad because . . . well . . . it’s the iPad. Your father or mother, sister or brother, next door neighbor, or mate from work want an iPad because it’s simple, portable and does everything they want in a neat little package.
But does that make the iPad the future of computing? Yes, I think the second coming of tablet computing (or is it the third coming now?) will finally usher in the next iteration of personal computing. I also believe the iPad will be at the forefront of this revolution. As with all first generation products though, the iPad does have some limitations to overcome. If the iPad is to become a device onto itself Apple really must do away with the silly need to synchronize to a full computer. If Apple wants to sell it as magical and revolutionary, they need to untether it. I think if they did that it would free a device that desires to be free and allow it to live to its full potential.
Is the iPad the future of casual, consumer computing? Will the traditional CPU, screen, mouse, and keyboard model begin to disappear from dens and living rooms? Will the content creators be the only ones left with full computers in 10 years? Let us know your thoughts.