When I heard about the iPad I knew something right way: there are going to be a lot of people who want one of these—but, I wasn’t one of them—why would I want a big iPod when I have a laptop that will do everything and more that an iPad will do? I thought that people who use their computers to check email and look things up once in a while would be the only ones who wanted an iPad.
Then I tried one…
While I’m still not going to rush out and buy one (seeing as I’m living on a student budget and all) I’ve changed my mind. While I was sure that this product would be big with a lot of people, I didn’t think that people in certain jobs (software developers, journalists and writers, business, people who need real computers) would have a real interest in them. I was wrong. Everyone will have one of these in the near future.
I’m not limiting my prediction to the iPad. Apple’s products aren’t going to disappear from the marketplace, but there will be other big competitors (I personally think that Android will be quite popular). No, the future won’t be limited to the iPad, but everyone will have a tablet computing device (probably multiple) in there homes. What I’m not entirely sure on is whether we’ll have other computers as well.
If the technology stays about the same as it is then us programmers will need a desktop or laptop computer and a laptop in addition to our tablets, but the technology could evolve so that all anyone needs is a tablet and a bluetooth keyboard. All most programmers would need would be a good online IDE as good as Eclipse and we’re set. The good news is that there are a few online IDEs out there (coderun.com, ideone.com, ECCO) they just have a long way to go (but then again Eclipse has a long way to go too).
While that could be what happens, I don’t quite see it working out that way. While most people could use their tablet for all of there needs, programers need their screen real estate. When I was using the iPad to surf the web the screen didn’t seem too small. On the other hand when I program I never feel that I have enough screen space on my 13in MacBook, theres no way I’d have enough space on a little 9.7in screen).
I think this is how it will work out: Most people will own one or more tablet machines. People who do a lot of art work, writing, architecture, programming, etc. will have a desktop and/or a laptop as well. I wouldn’t doubt it if many homes had some sort of media server in their homes. Web servers, application servers, and mega-computers will stay were they always have where they’re needed.
Overall, the era of the PC as we know it (with desktops and laptops) is over. Tablet computers will rule the next era.
What do you think? Are tablet computers the next big thing or are they just a fad?