When I was a kid, we had one home phone: black, heavy, secured to the kitchen wall. When we wanted to talk on the phone, we sat in the kitchen. When we wanted to talk on the phone, we came to the phone.
My nephews and their friends don’t even have home phones. For them, phones are (and always have been) personal, portable devices. What’s more, phones are less and less used for making slow, time-consuming voice calls and more and more for Skyping, typing, and texting.
When I was a kid, we had one family television: a wooden, heavy hunk of furniture with a bulky picture tube inside. When we wanted to watch t.v., we sat down in front of the television set on a schedule the network determined.
With the exception of the occasional football game or special event, the nephew and his friends don’t watch much television, either. Downloaded movies and shows on their iPods? Yes. Hulu.com on a laptop? Yes. YouTube clips on a handheld device? Constantly.
But network shows, on a network’s schedule, on a giant box at one end of the room? Rarely, if ever. That’s how old people do it.
The next victim of this “must be portable” mindset? Desktop PCs.
For most of my life, PCs have been heavy, stationary boxes moored to heavy, stationary monitors. Most PCs at The Company are still desktop boxes — and even the laptops spend most of the day in docking stations, converting them to desktop PCs.
All my nephew’s friends already carry laptops. And, not surprisingly, these kids can’t wait for the iPad, because it’s even more portable and even more personal than a heavy clamshell laptop ever will be.
When you read dire predictions about the iPad — it’s not powerful enough, it’s not big enough, it’s not got a keyboard, it’s not got a phone, it’s not got an HDMI port for playing HD video on a television screen — be sure to check the age of the prophets.
White guys over thirty-five, right? Yep. Thought so.