I just read an article where the author claims that the forthcoming iPad could replace laptops. Link here. Though the reader can quickly see the author is a Mac fanboy, I was still interested in his bold statements. My initial reaction was, “This guy has lost his mind. Does he know what even cheap, humble laptops are capable of these days?” But as I read further, I realized where he was coming from.
I am most assuredly not a “Mac guy.” I don’t really see that changing in the near future for a multitude of reasons (the primary being I actually like to have some control as a user), but maybe Steve Jobs has keyed in on something in the culture that others haven’t: we are increasingly becoming consumers. For all the talk there is about “personal content creation” and “crowd-sourcing” things on the Internet, most people probably just want to get on there and consume. Videos, social networks, music, and anything else that can distract or entertain us is subject to the vacuums of our eyes and ears, for better or worse.
Anyone who produces anything on computers, however, would tell you that the tried and true keyboard and mouse (and possibly other peripherals for graphic artists) are infinitely easier to use than touch screens and software keyboards when it comes to making anything. Whether it’s a novel, code, short film, or something else, anything considered “content” simply cannot be easily created with such an interface (to say nothing of actual hardware capabilities). I would venture that more people than ever are creating on personal computers, but at the same time, it is edging toward becoming the primary device for “consumption” if it isn’t already.
So perhaps that’s why the iPad could be a “game changer” as the author asserts. Anything that makes it easier for the masses to consume without having to think about it (an Apple hallmark), will probably be a hit. Just don’t expect to use it to create anything.