iPad as a post-PC platform

What does the Apple iPad need to become a viable replacement for your laptop?

  • multi-tasking user interface (fast application switching)
  • usb port (and support for more external devices like printers etc.)
  • and what’s going be by far the biggest challenge for apple: it shouldn’t be an external device to plug in your computer to sync, but it should be a computer on its own, equal to and not subordinated to your main computer. and all your data should be able to sync over the cloud with whatever there is

I sincerely hope (and believe) that Apple is thinking of replacing the mouse/keyboard computers with this platform. Not trying to move the PC forward step by step, but instead starting with the current iPad (which is solely a giant iPhone) and then slowly pushing its capabilities to gradually replace PCs while consumer adoption and the third-party ecosystem of applications is growing with the iPad hardware and software platform. Because Apple want this to happen as quickly as possible they priced the iPad rather low and are willing to take a smaller profit margin.

For this, bigger models (more like a 24” iMac) and probably a virtualized legacy mode with support for a mouse to run old mac/windows applications are eventually needed. Although most private consumers might not care, to get this really going I think it is inevitable for Apple to open up the platform a bit and remove that nasty DRM and let people install their own apps not bought on the appstore.

Here is hoping.


7 thoughts on “iPad as a post-PC platform

  1. Uncompetative says:

    I suspect that Apple have been looking for a way out of the somewhat moribund WIMP desktop metaphor that they popularised way back in 1984 with the original Macintosh 128K. It must have been frustrating for them to have so many imitators over the years, gradually eroding their unique selling point. Now they have layered so many alternative methods of organisation and retrieval that Snow Leopard has lost all the purity and consistency of the original.

    Now they could not redesign the User Experience of their computers without a vast legion of Apple Users braying at the lack of backwards compatibility. Any future UI would have to run all the old Applications and support every alternative, cherished, control method.

    So, Apple quite literally gave themselves a “blank slate” when they set about answering the question: “What is the future of information?”

    The iPad prototype was too big a risk to release from the laboratory as it had no infrastructure (iTunes/AppStore), battery life was insufficient and the required amount of Flash for such a device was prohibitively expensive. Ten to fifteen years later, after the success of the iPod (i.e. the iTunes Library and the convenience of “Syncing”), the elimination of its internal hard-drive (i.e. the use of persistent Flash memory) and the many innovations of the iPhone (i.e. the click-wheel “becomes” a crisp, colour, touch-enabled display; WiFi and 3G save you plugging it in to a PC all the time; the iTunes Store allows you to sit in a coffee shop, hear a song they are playing that you like and download it with a few taps – as you write an email on its soft keyboard whilst waiting).

    Apple pragmatically evolve a new computing paradigm right under the noses of everyone and when they finally release their revolution in I.T. that is MORE significant and original than the 1984 Macintosh no one seems to “get it”, criticising it for all the ways it is not like the PCs they have long become habituated to and ignoring the simple fact that it is “not for them”, but for a vast, untapped, market of technophobes and casual information consumers who do not need the greater flexibility and power of a full-blown computer.

    The iPad is a zero-administration mobile internet appliance. In time we can expect to see iPad 2 with a widescreen aspect ratio and the power to do video-chat with a camera that is hidden beneath the pixels of the display. I’d like to see alternative keyboard layouts to the familiar, but alienating, QWERTY. I’d like store-and-forward video-messaging as a replacement for emails stuffed with emoticons. This is only the start…

  2. mb2100 says:

    yeah.. well, I guess Apple wants to get rid of the file/folder hierarchical metaphor. the next really big question they need to solve is how to replace it, how data is organized and more importantly shared between different applications and different devices. USB-sync with iTunes is just not going to cut it: the answer must involve the cloud. And I’m not convinced that the ‘shared folder’ mentioned in the new SDK is the final answer apple has to how also 3rd-party apps will share data with each other.

  3. mb2100 says:

    just watched the video a second time.. and i really can’t understand how so many reviewers and tech journalists are so disappointed. they only see the giant iPhone but not the platform. as Jonathan Ive said right at the end of the video “iPad is clearly bigger than just a new product, this is a new category. … In many ways this defines our vision, our sense, of what’s next.” okay, you can say that this is only marketing.. but i really believe Apple is planning for more.

  4. Pingback: Mac OS X Lion predestined for touchscreen Macs « I, mb2100

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