Ok, you can breathe again. It’s not happening, yet…

Kind of old news now, although Apples new love child is yet to be released into the wild, but I finally had a chance to watch the iPad Keynote from last week. Although he said he was excited to be there, the droll tone voice Tim Cook used to air that particular feeling on his tech-hungry onlookers certainly left a lot to be desired. So in many ways, without even having had the opportunity to announce anything, he hasn’t failed to disappoint me; by being disappointing.

I was recently asked by a close friend of mine whether or not he should consider purchasing an iPad, despite the fact that he already owns a laptop. Many have asked me the same question in the past, so I’m going to put forward my case for it now.

At the original iPad launch, Jobs stated that Apple is ‘now a mobile device company’ – owed to the fact that most of Apples revenue (pre-iPad) was coming from the sale of iPods, iPhones and laptop computers. Obviously, when one re-invents the market definition of a mobile device (phone and music player) this is to be expected. However, as most people live on the move and have no other alternative when purchasing a Mac, a laptop was the only option available. Apple had been challenged by many for not developing and releasing their take on the ‘netbook’ and that same day Jobs unveiled their company’s take on the device.

I concur with him entirely here: netbooks are shite. My Dad was given one as a gift from a company he used to work for and, when placed on your lap with the screen positioned at a particular angle, the machine will tip backwards when your hands are raised mere inches from the keyboard. Not ideal when trying to watch a movie…not that it has enough power or battery life to do either.

This irritates me. Netbooks are designed for those who live a mobile life; who require a machine which they can throw in a bag and whap out in a coffee shop. Straight out of the box, this laptop was slow and unresponsive. Then again that could be due to the fact that it runs Windows… Jobs felt the same, and had decided the world was now ready for the tablet PC. But a tablet PC that worked, and ran a mobile OS, rather than a stripped down version of something meant for a desktop machine. Fortunately, he already had this in place, so it was simple.

Now I’ve explained where his vision came from, hopefully you can see what he imagined when he began the development for what was then ‘K48’, a term so top secret, muttering it outside the walls of 1 Infinte Loop Cupertino would likely result in a visit from the Apple police and an untimely death.

To fully understand the iPad, it has to be examined not as a big iPhone, but as a whole new category of device, as Apple describe it. Fair enough, the tablet PC game isn’t a new one. In fact, it’s a game that has already bruised the Apple, so to speak.

It is a device which allows you to do the stuff you do every day, like surf the web, send and receive email and update social networks, from something light, compact and intuitive. I far prefer taking my iPad to uni for a day than my Laptop. Unfortunately I can’t do a Cisco router configuration from it owed to its lack of a serial port… It is the device which allows for further integration of digital media and technology into our every day lives, and as it only needs a finger to operate, we already know how to use it.

It faced criticism. For lacking a USB port. For lacking an accessible file system. For lacking native support for Adobe Flash, an aged and dying multimedia platform! For requiring jail-breaking to allow non-Apple approved apps to be installed on it. But it’s not that kind of device people! It’s main tie is with the Internet, and Apple have deepened that tie with the implementation of iCloud. We are now, indefinitely, in the post-PC era of technology. The desktop computer is not dead, but is now merely another device in what makes up our digital lives.

And this is what I meant by the death of the PC.

Don’t get me wrong, it still has a place; sitting in a corner holding all our digital content, which we then direct to the far flung corners of our homes using wireless networks. However, I can see a day (as can many) when the PC will one day become obsolete.

Let’s be honest, now we have iCloud, those of us who own one of each Apple device no longer need our computers to maintain consistency across them. iCloud mail pushes new messages to your devices (not a new or revolutionary feature, by any means, but still important). iTunes in the cloud pushes new music, apps, books, TV Shows and Movie purchases to each device you own, automatically. The same with photos you take on your iPhone, or download to your iPad from a camera using the connection kit. These tasks were all performed by a Mac or PC historically, and are now done for us, by some servers in a building in Carolina.

Oh do we live in a privileged world.

With iTunes Match, your entire Music library can be stored in iCloud. A record of iTunes purchases is already held here. A scan of your non-purchased (imported from CD’s that is, because no one steals music, do they…) content in your library will place additional records there, meaning additional content will be automatically made available there also. Anything which iTunes doesn’t have will then be uploaded manually. The idea behind this being that the upload process is minimal, and as quick as possible.

The advantage of this? Your entire music collection stored online, securely, and available to you wherever you are (internet connection dependant). Yes, the PC is obsolete. Of course, Apple prefer you build your music library from their store instead of your own collection, but that’s how you would expect it to be.

The world is moving to cloud computing. Imagine never having to worry about losing your hard drive contents and consequently your photo and music libraries, because someone else is performing the back-ups for you? This is the world we’re moving towards. One day the home PC will just disappear, meaning the first thing I’m going to have to buy my kids will be something similar to what I’m working on right now…what spoilt brats they’re going to be!

So, in answer to you question: yes the iPad is worth it. Whether you’re going to be travelling a lot taking pictures and want somewhere to store and review them on the move; require something for mobile email that’s a little more tactile than a smartphone but with the same communications capabilities or you want to watch movies on the go. It does it all, and it really does last 10 hours. Mine certainly used to, although I’ve watched half the battery charge level disappear in the hour I’ve been typing this. It’s not quite a full replacement yet, but it’s getting there. Quickly.

Lewis
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Oh, and one more thing before i forget. New iPad: Retina display, new core processor, LTE Networking and a better camera. Most of my predictions were right folks! Which leaves me with something I have to say…

Tim, I might think you’re boring, and you might not deem me good enough to work in one of your retail stores, BUT I’VE GOT YOUR COMPANY’S NUMBER. Game set, and match. Roll on the iPhone 5, predictions regarding this to follow.

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