The Upside Of Slower
M.G. Siegler
1942

Post-specs computing

If I asked you “how fast is your laptop?” you might well talk about the processor, and the gigahertz, and — if you’re really a nerd — about the speed of the RAM and the graphics card.

If I asked you “how fast is your phone?” how would you answer? You’d probably say something like “oh, term, pretty fast I guess”. Or, if you’re one of the people using iOS 8 on an iPhone 4S or Android Lollipop on a Nexus 10, “so slow, I hate it”.

Welcome to the new way of thinking about the computer performance. Welcome to post-specs computing, where the raw numbers are just meaningless when you look at what a normal user actually wants to do.

Apple’s new MacBook is a great example of this. It’s not fast, it’s fast enough. Nothing you do on it will feel horribly slow, unless you’re trying to use it to render massive long movies. The people who buy one won’t be the kind of people who talk about gigahertz, or the speed of RAM, or the massive capabilities of the graphics card. They’ll be people who want their machine to do what they want it to do, and nothing really more. They will never think about the MacBook in terms of its specifications.

Like a phone, the MacBook will either be “fast enough” or “too slow”. That’s all.

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