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The iPad May Kill Laptops and Save the Desktop

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
FEATURED TECH.PINIONS, TECHPINIONS | STEVE WILDSTROM | MAY 2, 2012 
 
 
The iPad–and other tablets if we ever get some good ones–poses an existential threat to the laptop. But it might provide a new lease on life for the much-ignored desktop PC. My colleague Ben Bajarin touched on this theme in his a post Notebooks Are the Past, Tablets Are the Future. I want to take a look at it in more depth.
 
I’m starting from the increasingly uncontroversial premise that a good tablet is all the computer most people need. The biggest weakness of tablets, the lack of local storage, is being solved in the cloud. For the times that you want to write more than is comfortable with the on-screen keyboard, a lightweight Bluetooth keyboard does the trick.
 
For some of us, though, a full-featured PC remains very much a part of our everyday toolkit. I frequently work on complex documents with a large number of windows open at one time. I do a fair amount of research. I edit video and work on databases. These are tasks that range from inconvenient to impossible on my iPad. So I have a Windows 7 desktop, which I use primarily for accounting and as a sort of poor man’s file server, and a 27″ iMac, which is my desktop workhorse.
 
What I am finding however, is that is use my laptops less and less. I spent this past weekend at a family event in North Carolina. I took both an iPad and a 13″ MacBook Air and the MacBook never came out of my bag. Everything I wanted could be done more conveniently on the iPad. Even on business trips, I’m finding the laptop doesn’t get used unless I really need it.
 
My first notebook was a Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 600c in the mid-1990s and since then I have used everything from tiny netbooks to a dual-screen ThinkPad (barely) mobile workstation. And the truth is that every notebook has felt like a compromise. The displays were never big enough, even on units too heavy to carry comfortably. Except on the ThinkPads that I favored for years and the more recent MacBooks, pointing devices ranged from barely adequate to awful.
 
Ergonomic nightmares. The ergonomics are just plain bad because a keyboard permanently attached to the display meant that the positioning of the keyboard or the display or most likely both was less than optimal. (This is why I prefer my separate ZAGGkeys Flex keyboard  to more integrated units.) The push to include touch screens on Windows 8 laptops is going to make bad ergonomics worse. I tried many Windows Tablet PCs over the years and the awfulness of using touch in laptop mode was not due entirely to Microsoft’s dreadful software.
 
Desktops are actually a much happier solution for heavy-duty computing. Feature for feature, you get more for your money than with laptops. Storage is cheap and all but unlimited, and even with the cloud lots of local storage is a good thing to have. You can buy the keyboard, pointing device,  and displays you prefer and put them where you want relative to the keyboard.
 
The trend in recent years has been to use a laptop as an all-purpose computer, perhaps connecting it to a bigger display and an external keyboard when it’s at home on your desk. That made a fair amount of sense in a pre-tablet world. Today, however, even most heavy users of computing power will be happy with a tablet when away from their offices (there are exceptions, say, engineers and software developers.) And instead of settling for the compromises of a laptop when in your office, why not go for a no-compromise desktop. And if you really want touch in a desktop, the displays can be designed so they will tilt nearly horizontal for better ergonomics; HP has been using this feature in their TouchSmart all-in-ones. It’s time for a lot of businesses that have replaced desktops with laptops to rethink the policy.
 
I can’t see myself giving up a laptop just yet. There are still times when I need a full computer while traveling or when I have to work out of an office (someone else’s) and bring my own computer. But these occasions are getting rarer and rarer, and I could be laptop-free sooner than I think. But the desktops will survive and maybe even prosper.

 

I hadnt thought of this but it sure makes sense to me and great news for me and a lot of others too if it works out this way! 

post #2 of 9

I buy it. Even as far back as 2005, I had no intention of ever owning a laptop. I wanted a tablet for mobile stuff and a desktop for bigger jobs. I certainly hope this is the case.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #3 of 9

As much as I have loved the unibody MacBook ever since its introduction, I never bought one. I only just bought a Mac mini, and I the idea of portability though I prefer keeping my computers at home.

 

It'll be interesting to see what the future holds.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I buy it. Even as far back as 2005, I had no intention of ever owning a laptop. I wanted a tablet for mobile stuff and a desktop for bigger jobs. I certainly hope this is the case.

Like I have said many times on this forum; I don't like laptops. I have had a stack of them only because I needed one for travel. I have never really liked the design at all it seems cumbersome to me. Also as I have said before; since buying my iPad2 I haven't even turned my laptop on, that was about six months ago... The iPad really serves all my needs for mobile computing when I am traveling and is actually very enjoyable to use. Many people I know are saying the same things and much of the things I read are the same story. Also as the iPad gets more powerful and capable this trend will grow. Other tablets may be all right but they fall way short of the capabilities and beauty of the iPad, I'm sure they will improve as they learn from Apple :-D. My wife completely done away with her computer and laptop, sold them both since getting an iPad2. That is all she uses now and I know of several others who are doing the same thing; the iPad IS their computer. She and I both bought an Apple Bluetooth Keyboards for them and use it when we need to do a lot of typing.  Actually I liked the Apple keyboard so much better than anything else I have used it is all I use now. I am typing this on it right now with the Dell PC. This article really makes a lot of sense to me. So if this is the trend I would think Apple can see it coming and have plans to adjust their hardware to fit these needs. Who knows we may see major updates of the desktops while the laptop line is narrowed down to three,the 11" Air 13" Air and a 15" Air Pro? Just my thoughts...

post #5 of 9

Well in that case I guess I will be switching to Windows 7. It's ugly and poorly designed, but then again so is the direction Apple is going with interfaces these days. 

 

What would be nice is a touchscreen MacBook Air, especially an 11", where you can flip the screen around and over the back of it, to use it like a tablet. With an integrated pen like Samsung Galaxy Note.

 

It's sad Microsoft is doing more research on touch UI for real computers than Apple these days. The gimmicks in Lion are not truly making OS X more touch friendly IMHO. Sure Windows 8 might turn out to suck. But MS is being original and taking a chance for once. They deserve credit.

 

Apple has (and always has) the best laptops around, though. I honestly think you could say Apple invented laptops, for a variety of reasons. Lowendmac.com tells the story. The latest feature I love, the gestures, are awesome. That alone makes a Windows laptop just feel dumb. But I'd take a Windows laptop any day over being forced to fumble around on an iPad for everything. It's great for a certain things like web browsing, media, etc. But as a content CREATION device? And doing serious work, e.g. MS Office, graphics work, cartography, research, writing, design, etc etc? How would you do that without a keyboard and a screen that keeps itself upright? The laptop form factor will be with us forever, until speech is 100% accurate or computers read our mind and display things on a heads up display or ocular implants. Minority Report style, you know? And eventually if MS perfects their touch UI software, and some PC maker steps forward to make hardware that isn't complete crap for a reasonable price point, maybe Apple won't have the best laptops around. Or maybe Apple will just stop making them. Either way would be really sad!

"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
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"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post
What would be nice is a touchscreen MacBook Air, especially an 11", where you can flip the screen around and over the back of it, to use it like a tablet. With an integrated pen like Samsung Galaxy Note.

 

Yeah, you really don't get the future.

 

Quote:

It's sad Microsoft is doing more research on touch UI for real computers than Apple these days.

 

[Citation needed.]

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post
The gimmicks in Lion are not truly making OS X more touch friendly IMHO.

 

And you certainly can tell this from all the touching you've done in it.

 

Quote:

But as a content CREATION device? And doing serious work, e.g. MS Office, graphics work, cartography, research, writing, design, etc etc? How would you do that without a keyboard and a screen that keeps itself upright?

 

Try it.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

Well in that case I guess I will be switching to Windows 7. It's ugly and poorly designed, but then again so is the direction Apple is going with interfaces these days. 

 

What would be nice is a touchscreen MacBook Air, especially an 11", where you can flip the screen around and over the back of it, to use it like a tablet. With an integrated pen like Samsung Galaxy Note.

 

It's sad Microsoft is doing more research on touch UI for real computers than Apple these days. The gimmicks in Lion are not truly making OS X more touch friendly IMHO. Sure Windows 8 might turn out to suck. But MS is being original and taking a chance for once. They deserve credit.

 

Apple has (and always has) the best laptops around, though. I honestly think you could say Apple invented laptops, for a variety of reasons. Lowendmac.com tells the story. The latest feature I love, the gestures, are awesome. That alone makes a Windows laptop just feel dumb. But I'd take a Windows laptop any day over being forced to fumble around on an iPad for everything. It's great for a certain things like web browsing, media, etc. But as a content CREATION device? And doing serious work, e.g. MS Office, graphics work, cartography, research, writing, design, etc etc? How would you do that without a keyboard and a screen that keeps itself upright? The laptop form factor will be with us forever, until speech is 100% accurate or computers read our mind and display things on a heads up display or ocular implants. Minority Report style, you know? And eventually if MS perfects their touch UI software, and some PC maker steps forward to make hardware that isn't complete crap for a reasonable price point, maybe Apple won't have the best laptops around. Or maybe Apple will just stop making them. Either way would be really sad!

That's funny :-D

post #8 of 9

I'm glad I'm bringing comedic value to AI. Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. :)

"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
Reply
"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
Reply
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

IMO There is no way a laptop is ever going to replace a serious desktop computer for real computer work. That is why they build workstations like the Mac Pro and the iMac is real close in many ways. With everything in the world going to computer control the need for more and more engineers with grow as will the demands of their work with will require more and more powerful workstations. I do regret the authors choice of words in the title "kill" is a little strong right now "Greatly Reduce" would be better, Heck it's already doing that by leaps and bounds. If you look into the future though the generation that is coming up now is adapting to a tablet for computing needs much more than we did. For instance, when I try to type on my iPad keyboard it is extremely hard to be very fast although I have seen some younger people type on them with amazing proficiency because that is what they are used to. I bought an Apple bluetooth keyboard for mine to type on (using it now) because I just didnt want to take the time to learn it, I am used to a keyboard. There again if you take one of these kids that has grown up using a  on screen keyboard and try to give them a keyboard or attach one to their tablet they would say "get that clunky thing outa here!":eek: it's in my way and a waist of space!". as we see technology greatly increase and tablets getting much more powerful and versatile and even "Bigger" yes much bigger like a 17" diagonal with a mouse type pad, I could easily see them doing everything a laptop can do in a handier package without a clunky keyboard. It is hard for us to see that right now just like at one time it would have been hard for me to imagine everyone carrying around a phone in their pocket. Just my thoughts. :)

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