I think, when we look back in 10 years time, people are going to be able to say that the ‘ipad’ was a very big deal.
Initially, like most other people, I was disappointed. The specification – the limited OS. These things aren’t ideal. The only saving grace was the cost. It’s affordable. I was undecided about whether this new device could be a winner.
But, I started to think about it in a bit more detail a little later on, and while on my evening run – it struck me.
This device will be revolutionary – not for what it is now. But for what it will lead to. I’m certain of it.
Optimistically, I think this device represents a new way of living with computing. At the moment – for most people – their experience of computing is something that’s an especially segmented activity.
Using the computer is an activity that usually breaks the flow of our other activities… “I’m just going to go on the computer for half an hour”, “I need to go and check my email” .. these are things people say all the time. We think of a computer as an object that we spend time with. Even in 2010, the way we interact with computers at home is pretty much the same as it was in 1980s.
It doesn’t have to be this way – and I’d be willing to bet that in the future, it won’t be. But in order to make the transition, new ways of integrating a computer into our lives need to be developed.
The reason that the ipad is going to be revolutionary is because it’s a blank slate – a computing device for completely new contexts. No matter what you think of it, I think we can probably rest assured that it will work pretty well – and that many developers are going to come up with a huge range of ingenious uses for it.
I think that it should be seen as a prototype, and as an experiment. The form of the device provides many, new exciting possibilities.
Other companies will copy, material costs will become cheaper, even cheaper devices will be produced. The public’s perception of what computer is, will start to change. Cheap flexible displays and e-ink will become the norm. Computers are going to start to inhabit our environment more seamlessly. The way we use computers will integrate into our lives and workflows more sympathetically.
I reckon the ipad will move this all of this forward a great deal.