Evolving Beyond Laptops

Today, I got an iMac for my office and got rid of my laptop from my daily commute. I started thinking about this after reading Danielle’s post.

Like Danielle, I also want to walk more and NYC is the perfect city for doing that. Carrying a laptop bag is a hassle in the subway and you always have to keep an eye on it if you go to a restaurant/meeting after work.

I believe there is a shift happening in computing that is making laptops increasingly irrelevant. MIT Project Oxygen, a multi-million dollar initiative from early 2000, has this quote that I love:

In the future, computation will be human-centered. It will be freely available everywhere, like batteries and power sockets, or oxygen in the air we breathe.
My new setup with iMac plus extra monitor, May 2015

Maybe Project Oxygen was too early, but we’re slowly getting there. Your mobile device will become a “control device” and your (encrypted) data will get loaded on any suitable machine that you happen to have access to. Security of your data is key. After that it’s just a matter of proving that you’re the right person to access that information. I don’t care that much if someone steals the iMac, but I really care if someone gets access to the data on that iMac (that’s why I have 2-factor auth enabled on my new iMac).

Evolving from main frames, to desktops, to laptops, we’re about to enter an era of mobile “control” devices (phones, watches) combined with displays of various sizes (iMac is primarily a display). Soon, computing will become even more invisible and abundant, just like Oxygen, and the most important thing will be access control for data/computation.

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