Toasters and Trucks

A great lunch-time conversation occurred yesterday about what the iPad means and the future of the desktop. There have been a lot of questions floating around; moreso before and during WWDC and it’s lack of Mac-based content. So, what is the future of the Mac? Is the iPhone and iOS the future of the Desktop?

“I think PCs are going to be like trucks, …” Steve Jobs said at D8

While that answer is simple, I think it is spot on. Here’s why – PCs are from the 80s. Sure, they’ve made vast improvements, but the Macintosh Classic I had in the early 90s is much closer to my Macbook Pro than it is to my iPad.

What I think is interesting here is the change of the average computer user. Some time ago, a coworker said under the stress of helping a relative, “Windows or Mac OS X is way too complicated and complex for most people”. I didn’t think much of it then, but the iPad and iOS are the direct result of this thinking. Most people (Mom?) don’t need a full on computer operating system. They need, and WANT, a toaster. The iPad is a toaster.

In the 80s when PCs were booming, a larger percentage of them were computer geeks. People who were interested in how it worked, or how they can tear it apart and make it better. The shift that has occurred is most computer users today could care less about how it works. They just want a pipeline to facebook and farmville.

Does this replace the need for the personal computer? I don’t think so. I believe what Steve Jobs said above. It will be a truck; A tool for doing specific things. For example, I love my iPad, but nothing beats my 30” monitor for writing code (except two 30” monitors). Xcode for the iPad would be dreadful.