The iPad Turnaround Is Coming
Jean-Louis Gassée

Nicely done Jean-Louis. A few thoughts:

First, the MacBook (the tiny light one) is far better than an iPad for the text oriented customer. This is all about the keyboard/skid-pad vs the finger/stylus mode-of-use. Anyone who has tried to use a touch screen for 8 to 10 hours a day knows they DO NOT want to reach over and smudge the screen or hold their arm up. As a multi-decade mouse user, I don’t even want to reach over for the mouse. The cursor positioning device must be directly under one’s fingers. This is a massive time-saver and distraction-eliminator over a mouse/pencil/touch model. One need only use vim or emacs for a while to know you NEVER want your hands to leave the keyboard. As evidence of this, power users in all application areas rapidly memorize the keyboard shortcuts rather than use the pull-down menus. The UI/UX for any Pad/Phone is wrong for creators and editors of long-form text.

Second, like many who have responded here, I also own and heavily use the iPad and iPhone. They are the best devices for consuming video/photographic/text information. Dictation is good enough that it is rare that I use the on-the-screen keyboard.

Third, all the chatter about file systems, operating systems, CPUs, etc… could be missing the point. In the near future, devices will (or already are) simply terminal devices to a farm of backend computers. Be they cloud (whatever that means to folks) or servers, the real grunt computation is in the back end today. Of course, there are numerous tiny markets (EG: video editing, photo alterations, security sensitive jobs, compilation of software) where folks will want their own computer to do the computing. But the days of powerful desktop/laptop machines for computation are ending. At that point, none of the details we tech folks love to drone on about will matter to any customer base of significant size.

To put this simply, in the vast majority of cases, Apple devices are or will be UI/UX devices to computing that resides elsewhere. Apple seems to uniquely recognize this. As they have done so often before, they are leading the market now and will look brilliant later. In a world in which 99% of the computation is done in the cloud, it’s all about the UI/UX of the terminal device and that is going to be driven by the mode of use. The iPhone nails the personal media creation device category, the iPad nails the personal media consumption device category, and the Mac nails the professional creation device category.

Finally, we in the tech industry seem to want to declare a single perfect winning device, while ignoring the obvious fact that customers buy multiple devices. One need only examine kitchen appliances to confirm that there are going to be multiple devices for similar yet subtlely different purposes. A Swiss Army Knife doesn’t sell well in the kitchen and a do-it-all computer won’t sell well either.

The iPad/iPhone are arguably the best possible devices to pair with cloud-based computation. This could lead to a massive strategic win for Apple as the world moves to the cloud.

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