ipad round three, getting it

There has been no shortage of talk about the iPad. I wanted to collect some of the more meaningful, pointed, and influential blogs concerning the device. John Gruber has been posting lots of links to some great reading about the iPad at Daring Fireball. In line with his posts, I thought I’d make a list of some blogs that “get it” and some that don’t get it. Most of these were found at DF, but I have thrown in one or two that I’ve came across digging around elsewhere.

don’t get it
get it

This isn’t to say that those who don’t get it are all wrong, or even way off base. But their vision of what the iPad will change is incomplete, and in many cases inconsistent with what has happened historically.

When the first Mac came out, it didn’t obviate the usage of more traditional command line computers. At the time these text based computers were the sole domain of the geek elect. In fact, if you still know one of these people, chances are that to this day they still spend a good part of their computing life at the command prompt. No, the first Mac didn’t preclude these earlier devices. What it did do was introduce computing to a larger circle. People who realized the practical benefit of computers, and were less intimidated by this new desktop/keyboard/mouse interface. The accessibility drew them in.

This is the space we’ve been living in for the last 25 years. The fundamentals of computing haven’t changed. Computer usage has still grown despite the lack of a major user interface revolution, but there are other reasons for that. Namely, the uptake of the Internet vastly increased the “practical benefit” that people saw in computers. And as computers achieved relative ubiquity, people had a growing support system for computing in their friends and family. In fact, you’re probably one of these people yourself. Your expertise has probably at some point enabled someone to use a computer where otherwise they would have been lost.

Now here we are. On the cusp of a new generation of machines. Will the desktop go away? Have command prompts? No, and yes. As the scale tipped toward GUI operating systems, the command line has faded more and more. They’re still around, but terminals and prompts have been relegated to fewer tasks to which they are best suited.

And this is what I see happening again. These new touch computers will slowly absorb the usefulness of the older traditional desktop. As technology improves, as the platforms mature, as competition begins to drive advancement, we’ll see the successors of the iPad become the more relevant computers. I’m not throwing out my MacBook just yet, but I sure left DOS behind quite a long time ago. I’m looking forward to the day when I edit photos, author a website, and yes, even write my first program on a tablet. Bring it on.

February 2, 2010 at 8:18 pm

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