Monday, August 2, 2010

PC crowd wants the tablet to be laptop computer; publishers will benefit if it remains a media device

Jeff Bertolucci from PC World wrote Friday of Microsoft's apparent plans to "retrofit" Windows 7 to run on tablets. Bertolucci says it would be a mistake.

But commenters then proceed to attack the author pointing out that Windows 7 would allow hundreds of "apps" to run that can not run on an iPad, for instance, allowing a tablet running a full operating system to be a more powerful machine.

For some, if it doesn't run Windows it isn't a computer.
They are right: it isn't a computer. Get over it.

But these critics still don't seem to understand the significance of the iPad, which probably partially explains the apparent anger some seem to have about Apple's new found success. The iPad is not a laptop -- it wasn't meant to be a laptop, and it never should become a laptop. It is a entertainment and media consumption device, and if you think less of it because of this then you really don't get where these types of devices are going.

Asking an iPad to run Photoshop or Final Cut Pro would be like asking your car to bake bread. You may think the comparison is crazy but I think it is apt. I want my car to get me from point A to point B with all other things thrown in as enhancements. I want my iPad to surf the web, play games and read books and periodicals. I don't want it to edit complex video or audio -- I have my desktop or laptop computer for that. If you add that capability to my tablet you will bloat it up, slow it down, and kill the battery life. I get 12 hours minimum on my iPad, how much do you get on your laptop. My iPad "boots" up in one second, how long does it take your laptop?

Since this is not a tech site you might think this kind of discussion far afield from media. But it is not because understanding the role of mobile and tablet devices in the future of media also requires and understanding of where technology is going and why companies like Google and Apple are moving in the direction they are going.

"I've used an iPad, I have one to test mobile sites and apps on it. I have absolutely no interest in such a limited device," wrote one critic of Bertolucci's column. Another wrote "I want the HP Slate, with a decently powerful processor/graphics card, running a FULL OS. Not a trimmed down, locked down derivative. That's nice for a diversion, not for a full time productivity deal."

This kind of thinking is probably why the Windows crowd has fallen so far behind Apple and Android. Asking a device that houses the latest issue of Wired to also be a productivity device means that the new device will spend more time being a computer and less time being a media consumption device. The more a tablet is used for business the less available it is to consume media. My iPad sits idle while I work -- and so does my television. Does that make my television a failure?

1 Comment:

Unknown said...

It seems like Microsoft’s innovations are just riding on the coattails of others. For such a large and intelligent organization, what would it take for Ballmer to learn how to disrupt themselves to be more innovative?