Thursday, January 28, 2010

The iPad

A lot of people are saying "so what- it's just a big iPod touch!" And it might look like that at the moment, but this is Apple's second step into the next wave of computing (the iPhone was the first). Touchscreen devices were around when the iPhone came out, but the iPhone made a touchscreen really work. It was a whole new way to interact with a device- and a very beautiful and intuitive way to interact with it. It's clear that this technology would inevitably make its way to the Mac and mainstream computing- which has used the same input method and interface for over 25 years. I wrote about the non-evolution and clunkiness of the current computer interface and the possibility of the Apple tablet in a post back in November, which I would definitely recommend reading.

Apple is a technology company that really thinks long-term and the iPad is the new laptop and the new Mac OS X. I wrote about a redesigned iPhone-like Mac OS X that would be much more intuitive but that Apple post-return-of-Steve Jobs couldn't dramatically change the OS X interface because the people buying Macs were switchers- people who were familiar with Windows, and Apple couldn't make the barrier to switching too high. In my original post I wrote about the number of people who have now had contact with Apple products and Steve Jobs alluded to it in his presentation: "75 million people know how to used iPad."

I also wrote about the value of virtual keyboards over physical ones- a virtual keyboard can appear only when you need it to and adjust to whatever you're doing- like the redesigned iWork does. The redesigned iWork is the first indication of what that redesigned Mac OS X will look like.

Laptops will become iPads- thin sheets of glass and aluminum. Instead of having a separate keyboard, mouse and screen, the screen is the input device.

To some people the iPad might not look revolutionary at the moment, but it's another step in the direction of a revolution.

Original Post: [The Non-Evolution of Computer Interfaces]

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