Telephones, Televisions, Desktop PCs, and the iPad

IPad
 

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.

IPad
 

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.

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

3 comments

  • This prophet is a 34 year old white guy 🙂

    The disappointment around the iPad is because it’s an evolutionary device rather than a revolutionary device. It’s not that it isn’t useful … only that it’s a large iPod. Not that there’s anything wrong with it but it’s a bit disappointing. This feels like something Apple could’ve done years ago.

    It’s kind of like the iPhone. Three iterations it took them to really get it right; video camera, MMS, fast processor, autofocus, voice control. In a few iterations, the iPad will be much better than it is today. Many of the complaints leveled at the iPad are legitimate. Aside from reading books easier, it doesn’t give me much I don’t have with my iPhone 3GS. Right now, a netbook is a better bargain than an iPad in my opinion because it can do the things my iPhone can’t.

    I wanted to see something that was taking the whole iPhone/iPod aesthetic to the next level.

  • Brian B. wrote: “The disappointment around the iPad is because it’s an evolutionary device rather than a revolutionary device.”

    Mark notes: That’s a pretty bold claim to make before the device even hits the market. I suspect it may be actually be revolutionary (particularly with regard to its use as a reader, its popularity as a gaming platform, and its user interface) in ways that are not apparent prior to launch. Time will tell.

    Brian B.: “It’s kind of like the iPhone. Thee iterations it took them to really get it right: video camera, MMS, fast processor, auto focus, voice control.”

    Mark notes: Here, we disagree. I’d say the iPhone “got it right” from day one by slipping an entirely new, entirely portable, always-on personal computing platform into the pockets of people who would never have bought the device if it had been marketed as a portable personal computer.

    I’d say — in the most friendly and Christian way, of course — that you’ve confused feature creep with “getting it right.” For Apple, getting it right is not about feature creep, or even matching the features offered by others. It’s about seeing where the market will be … and finding ways to sell the future to people who don’t even know they want it yet.

    My 74 year-old mother (a technophobe) and my 21 year-old nephew (a technophile) are equally eager for an iPad. I’d say that’s a pretty good indicator that someone, somewhere has already gotten something right with this product. 🙂

  • Actually, I think you and I are agreeing more than we’re disagreeing 🙂

    As a Kindle or Nook competitor, it’s a no-brainer. The iPad is way better than either. If marketed as such, it’s a hands down winner. I’m sure it’ll also be a very compelling gaming platform. My problem was that Steve acts as if it’s a netbook competitor … it isn’t. At least not in this version. What I said on my own blog was this:

    During the announcement, Steve Jobs said, “Now, some people thought that was a netbook—the problem is that netbooks aren’t better than anything!”

    … except my netbook runs Skype and has a built in webcam and mic.… except that my netbook’s bluetooth and/or USB connection allows me to tether to my phone.… except my netbook can run Silverlight and Flash (maybe not great, but it works well enough).… except my netbook has an SD slot and USB.… except my netbook has a 160 GB hard drive.… except my netbook can multitask and run apps simultaneously.… except my netbook only cost $435 and can do all of that.

    In regards to the iPhone, what I meant to say was that Apple left out features that were already in other smart phones (MMS, GPS, & 3G) for future iterations. I realize that companies do that all the time but it’s somewhat annoying as a consumer to have to wait when you know it could’ve been done already.

    When the iPhone first debuted, I was impressed but I knew my next smartphone would be a 3G device so I waited and went with a 3G when it was released. I fully expect that when the iPad has a camera/mic combo, supports Hulu and Netflix, and can multitask I’ll be in line to get one.

    It could be that I’m not the ideal audience or use case in this example. I accept that. I’m also spoiled because I’m running OSX on a Dell Mini 10v and find it fan-freaking-tastic. I already tithe to the church of Steve and I really wanted to be impressed but at the end of the day I felt like “Show me something my iPhone doesn’t already do” and I just didn’t see anything that great. Know what I mean?

Who Wrote This?

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

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