The iPad is the beginning of the end

In my circle of friends, family and workmates I’m the technological shaman who helps them acquire, use and heal their computers Macs.

I’ve always enjoyed this. Not so much the technical tinkering, but the practice of helping people to get on with what they’re using a computer for in the first place. In fact it’s always frustrated me that people like myself are needed in the first place. And even more so the dismissive attitude of so many of the technologists and computer geeks who frequent the technical forums that I myself gain much of my knowledge from. For them computers are not the problem, people are just bumbling idiots. Rather than design computers around people they think people should mold themselves to the way a computer works.

True to form many of them are apocalyptic about Apple’s new iPad. They see it as a toy, nothing more than an oversized iPod, even an affront to their computing prowess. How can one get serious computing done without a filing system, multiple windows or a mouse they cry!1 Fraser Speirs aptly refers to this as Future Shock.

Ultimately the iPad represents a couple of things to me: on the negative side it’s potentially the beginning of the end of the free and open internet as we know it. On the positive side it is almost certainly the beginning of the end of the desktop metaphor. And not a day too soon.

Someone has finally got serious about creating a powerful computer that’s easy to use.

  1. The truth is multi-touch input is infinitely more powerful than a mechanical pointing device. []

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