Death of the laptop? Not yet I say.

Posted: February 5, 2011 in Apple, computers, hardware, iPad
Tags: , , , , ,

don’t ring the laptop’s death knell yet

The news was all aflutter with a quote from Rupert Murdoch (the founder, chairman and CEO of News Corporation in case you are not sure who he is) about Steve Jobs.

Its a great quote and everyone and their mother jumped on it, (the adjacent image is taken from Gizmodo’s reporting of the statement in fact) but it is a bit premature in my opinion.

The great laptop killer, the iPad, is a wonderful device and an excellent addition to your tech arsenal but its more of a viewer and minor creator allowing you to stay connected than a full blown production machine like a laptop.

You may be able to do many things on a tablet or iPad, but when it comes to some of the things laptops are best at – you need a physical keyboard.  Trying to type at a decent pace on a touchscreen is akin to typing with gloves on.  Its possible but no where near as fast or as accurate as with an actual keyboard. Editing is another thing.  As soon as you steal part of the screen for a virtual keyboard, you are left with very little usable space for creating.

Sure, when it comes to viewing information the iPad, much like any tablet or smartphone, is such a great, convenient, and simple way, but trying to fit everything you normally do on two surfaces onto one instead is not easy and definitely not as user-friendly.   For some, the iPad may be all they need, but thats mostly for people who didn’t want or use a laptop already, it doesn’t mean its a replacement for it or a desktop, just a device to use along with one or both of those.  Until tablets can be as fast and have as much storage as most people need, they won’t destroy the personal computer.  We still need places to keep our ridiculous amounts of personal information and memories in the form of videos, photos and music, not to mention electronic copies of everything we’ve ever written.  I for one find the 250 gb hard drive in my MBP small at times and am always shuffling things off and purging.  I can’t imagine trying to limit myself to a 64 gb drive on a tablet.  In that respect the iPad is a conduit to larger storage.

And I know what some of you are thinking you could use an iPad with the keyboard dock but you still need somewhere to put it down, or some place to stand it up, and you don’t have the built in laptop stand called your lap like you do with a laptop.  With an iPad you can’t use both hands and type because you are holding it with one arm and typing with the other.  And if you do put it down, it is laying flat.  Not exactly ergonomic in its design that way, which restricts what you can do a bit, unlike a laptop that you can put down to type or use the trackpad.  Also, the limitations of what you can do on it or with it.  Put in a USB port or two, add a microphone and a WebCam and maybe then you are getting closer to having some way of connecting peripherals and using it more like a laptop, but as it is right now the iPad is not doing it.

Thats not to say its not going to happen, but we are not there yet.  The world of interconnectedness as seen in Blade Runner or Star Trek, where everything is served up to you from huge central computers that store everything ever known and can be accessed from anywhere, is still a ways off.  Once that happens, the usability of the iPad will increase 10 fold and I for one will be right there using it, but for now, a laptop beats a tablet hands down when it come to what can be done on each.  Not to pooh-pooh on Steve Jobs accomplishments in any way though.  He may have been instrumental in the creation of a device that will be looked upon as the beginning of a wave of change, even though right now its more like a ripple gaining momentum, but it is the start of something big.  Again.

As the saying goes “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies“.

To end with another quote from Rupert Murdoch that I do believe wholeheartedly  “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

tcg

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Comments
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ronny and thatcomputerguy, thatcomputerguy. thatcomputerguy said: New blog post…: Death of the laptop? Not yet I say. http://thatcomputerguy.ca/2011/02/05/death-of-the-laptop-not-yet-i-say/ […]

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  2. I think it comes down to whether you’re an information consumer, or an information creator. As an information creator, I can’t see too many benefits to owning a tablet. On the other hand if I was more of an information consumer, I could probably see tons of benefits.

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    • tcg says:

      Well said. that seems to be the response from most people right now. Of course, that could change for some people with the next revision to the iPad, or the one after that, depending if all the rumours are true.

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