Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Are we now "Post PC"? There is a reason some applications remain purely desktop rather than tablet

A publisher tried to impress me the other day by telling me that they were recalling all their laptops from their editorial and sales staffs and issuing iPads. Cool idea I said. But, I asked, how old are those laptops?

If you've worked for a publishing company at all during the past couple decades you know that one of the biggest sore spots many employees have is the outdated technology they are forced to work with. Rather than spend $500 to $1500 to outfit an ad rep expected to make their million dollar budget many publishers tell them to make do and maybe next year there will be money in the budget. (This is major reason why publishing staff should own their own hardware.)

Buying a bunch of iPads is cool, but turning in the laptop is not, especially if the person working the equipment needs to do some heavy computing.

My own computer equipment is almost perfectly designed for my own set of requirements. I have a laptop, which doesn't get used as much as in the past, two iPads (the new one is on my desk), a Kindle Fire, an iPhone. My main PC is a Mac mini with two old Apple displays with matte finishes.

Many people think that computers have reached a point where they are over powered but this isn't quite true. My own mini, for instance, may have Intel chip in it, but it is hardly a beast.

Mac Pro envy
When I was finishing up my iBooks Author project I discovered near the end that my computer was seriously sluggish. I could no longer drag pictures from iPhoto or a desktop folder directly into the program. I could hear the hard drive spinning and see my cursor attempting to create a thumbnail of the picture, but it simply would not move into iBooks Author.

My only two choices was to sit there a wait (eventually it would move into the project) or use a work around (no need to go into that here).

I was seriously envious of those with a Mac Pro. Of course, Mac Pro owners are crazy with fear that Apple is dumping them. The Mac Pro line used to get updated every year but now it has been several years since the last major update.

But if Apple wants users to be able to create their own books and other media for their iPhone and iPad products, they will need to keep those Macs updated.

For the most part, for 99 percent of projects, the current computer equipment is adequate. The real issue is whether we are beyond needing PCs at all.

I say no. We're getting there, but we are definitely not there yet.