It’s nice to be back from a break and writing for FiSTchat again, and it is somewhat of a pleasure to be writing this on a new iPad. Most people have probably seen and had a play with a tablet device before, so there is not much new to reveal. I know most people will rave about apps, but for me, the three most impressive features of the iPad are the screen resolution, the mobility it provides and the fact that it is always on.
Sure there are apps, but I’m really only interested in using my iPad for browsing. Browsing photos, browsing videos and browsing the web. Oh, and controlling my Samsung TV. Games, taking photos and shooting videos are for my phone. Writing my blog, is usually finished on my desktop after Siri has captured it on my phone. The dictation device on the iPad just doesn’t seem to understand me- why?
So a device that sits on the arm of my sofa and is always there, always on and always available is the strength of the iPad. I can pick it up and take it to the kitchen, and become an instant masterchef or take it into the bedroom to read before bedtime. I’m old fashioned and a creature of habit. Tablets are tablets; mindless, immediate and lazy, phones are phones; functional and used for a purpose, while desktops are for any serious creative and intellectual activity.
Which allows for a nice segue into the battle of the operating systems. And I’m not talking brand wars here like Android v iOS. I’m talking the way in which they work. The one thing I’m not a fan of in the iOS world is the lock down approach of apps within the iOS and the fact you can’t work with multiple native files simultaneously as you can in OSX. To me this seems to be a very cynical attempt to control the way we in which we use these devices, based around the profitability of the Appstore. This is the single reason why critics question whether the iPad will actually be a productive device for creative uses.
The big question is will Apple, Android and Windows move toward this lockdown style of OS across all platforms? It would appear most modern computing (apart from social media) is passive. We don’t burn DVDs or CDs anymore. The internet is everywhere. Images, videos and files can be easily shared thanks to ubiquitous bandwidth. The cloud means we don’t require local storage. There are apps for everything and its cheaper and easier to pay for an app than to steal.
Every now and then, different technology platforms, often offering the same function battle it out for supremacy. Usually it’s a straight out hardware battle, like VHS v Beta, gaming console v gaming console or even Blu-ray v HD DVD.
But is this is different. Not only is it a hardware battle; tablet versus desktop, but it’s also a battle between user interfaces that will define the future of personal computing. We’ve not seen anything remotely like this, not even DOS v windows. How we interface with our digital devices is changing before our fingertips, and perhaps the PC truly is dead.
What will this mean for those of us that still want a personal experience within our devices, want direct access to native files and the freedom to work both inside and outside software applications? The success of tablet computing and iOS suggests that this might just be the future of personal computing, and Apple has made its intentions clear, but will the others follow? And what will those of us that use the technology decide?
The only certainty from here is that the digital devices we use and the way in which we use them will change completely in the next 5 years.
For more on this topic, watch FiST Chat 65: New iPad Experiences.