Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Future power in your hands

Computing technology is changing. New tablets such as Apple's iPad are making it possible for the computer to take a simpler form while allowing you to hold the Internet in your hands. The iPod changed the music industry but was simply a music player. The iPhone changed the mobile phone industry but was simply a better way to provide communications (cellular & internet) on a phone in your pocket. The iPad brings a change to the way that we think of a computer. No longer need it be a machine that you have to sit in front of at a desk or a power-hungry, over-provisioned, notebook which either requires a table like the desktop or needs to be balanced on a lap. Portable computers until now have either been shrunken versions of the desktop with all the complexity that entails (an artificial mouse or trackpad pointing device, a hierarchical file system, maintenance of applications and upgrades, etc), or underpowered netbooks (with all the same complexity).

Now there is a new form of computer, which puts power directly and immersively into the users' hands. It abstracts away many of the artificial metaphors that were devised for personal computers. It puts the content that users are really interested in (webpages, email, photos, video, music etc.) centre-stage, and lets the computer seemingly disappear.

In the future, the computer will disappear further ... it will become pervasive and integrated amongst us. The human-machine interfaces we use will become more natural and immersive. Some will be integrated with the human being. Until then, lets welcome the chance to take the power of the Internet into our hands and off the desktop.

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