Thursday, 1 April 2010

Computing for the rest

So this weekend, the public in the USA finally get their hands on Apple's new iPad, announced amid the usual frenzy back in January. At the time, I blogged about how I saw this as a computer for other people ... like my parents, and others who don't really want a computer... they just want email, the web, photos, and access to the modern media that computer owners have.

They don't want a mouse and keyboard, or lots of cables connecting everything together, nor do they want a computer taking up space on a desk in the lounge, which they have to go and sit at to make something happen. They don't want to have to bother about viruses, trojans and other malware that they've heard about from computer-owning friends and family. They don't want a steep learning curve for the new technology either, and many no longer have a tech wizard of a child at home with them to fix it or help when unexpected things happen.

Instead they want a simple, pleasant and responsive experience. They want to access content without being concerned with file systems and folders and installing programs. They want to share content worthy of mention by passing it around or holding it up, like they would if they saw something of note in a newspaper or magazine. They want to be able to access the content without consciously 'logging-in', or supplying PIN codes or passwords.

Apple are, as of this weekend, providing exactly this type of experience via the iPad. As content providers and app developers understand the new audience they have, and if Apple can manage to market the device to this new potential audience successfully, then a mini revolution will take place. Yes, I have had people continue to tell me since February that the iPad is simply a larger iPod Touch, and yes I have continued to read criticism about no Flash compatible browser, no camera and no third-party app multi-tasking. I still believe these people are all missing the point. The technical spec will not matter to the people the iPad is most suited for.

And now the first reviewers to get their hands on a real iPad are starting to say the same ... this is a new concept in computing, so-called 'computing for the rest of us'. It is revolutionary, not in terms of the tech spec, or even in the things it allows users to do, but rather in the way that people will think of a computer. It puts the Internet in your hands and throws away the paradigm of mouse directed computing that was spawned in the 1980s. It is the very embryonic stage of new computers that look very different and are literally much more engaging and individually immersive for the humans that use them. Ten years from now, we will be in much more intimate touch with our computers; this is only the start.

No comments: