It’s funny, back when the first iPad was introduced Steve Jobs went on stage to say that netbooks were cheap plastic PCs and that the future was a whole new product category. This new product was a clean slate that acted like a big screen phone, it didn’t have the capabilities nor the OS of a computer, yet it was perfect for light interactions such as sending emails, editing documents and playing games. Thanks to taking away the keyboard and using a software based approach the device became lighter and it was a canvas to “touch your digital world”.
That idea, needless to say, was a roaring success. iPads sold like candy on Halloween, everyone wanted one, and the post pc era began. However, if you flashforward to today, the iPad has began a decline. What happened? In this post, dear reader, we’ll take a stroll through time to analyse what happened and where things are going.
Back in 2012, Microsoft launched its first tablet. The surface. It made two variants, the surface RT which basically was an iPad with a portable keyboard, Office and a Windows Store (which barely had Apps). The only way to install Apps was via the Windows Store. And the other one was the device that would, in my opinion, start the process of killing the post pc era and transforming it into something new. The Surface Pro. The Surface Pro looked like a tablet, it had a touchscreen, a portable and light form factor, it had the same foldable keyboard cover. But it run full windows. You could install anything you would install on a Windows laptop . However, since it came from Microsoft, people had a certain aversion to jumping to it.
As years passed, we saw a new trend, smartphones started to get bigger. Despite Steve Jobs comment that big smartphones were like skateboards and the iPhone would never be bigger than 3.5 inches, Apple under Cook’s leadership decided to supersize it with the iPhone 6 and the extra large iPhone 6 plus. This made inevitably a tablet a bit more redundant, a bigger phone with a large canvas can accommodate many uses a tablet was originally designed for.
It’s really curious that Apple has debuted the iPad Pro this year, which is essentially a big iPad with a foldable keyboard cover. Just look at the ad below
Doesn’t it remind you a bit about the surface RT? As much as iOS is a great ecosystem, it is not a desktop OS. Therefore you can’t have a file system, or plug in a USB stick. I’m curious to see how that turns out for them.
Recently last week Microsoft debuted the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book. This is the last turning point in the story. If a tablet becomes as powerful as a laptop and they share OS, do we really need a separate tablet as we know them? Or can the tablet become our new laptop, something where we can be productive and play, with the best of both worlds, keeping portability and lightness.
Perhaps the post pc era, should become the new PC era.
What do you think? Drop me a line in the comments!