Apple detractors love to talk about the “Steve Jobs distortion field”. I have never much bought into that. Sure, Steve jobs is a master showman. And yes, he is most likely among the more arrogant people living today. And yes, he does like to build hype when he brings out a new product or service. And, I will admit, he has been somewhat into overstatement at times. But then again, he’s got the stuff to back it up.
There is an old saying from here in suburban New Jersey that there are people who “have no cattle but a big hat”. The thing is, that’s not Steve Jobs. No, Jobs and Apple have lots of cattle and a huge hat that keeps getting bigger.
That noted, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jobs and his “Post PC” concept and have come to the conclusion that it’s just about the most disingenuous things he has ever said. Here’s why.
Before I jump in let me make this clear. I love the iPad 2. I think it is an amazing device. Yes, the majority of the initial reviews pretty much hit the nail on the head. The iPad 2’s individual updates are incremental, evolutionary updates. It is thinner. It is lighter. It is faster. Each improvement is once in its own right but it is the COMBINATION of the updates that make this a huge step forward. Yes, the iPad 2 is an amazing device.
Even before its release I was already using my iPad in places where I would previously have used a laptop. The iPad stands in quite well in almost every respect and, more than ever, it makes carrying my notebook with me redundant. For me it is a laptop replacement a good 70 to 80% of time. And that was BEFORE the iPad 2.
For someone like my mother or my in-laws the iPad is potentially even more important. For them I can see the simplicity of the iPad as a better choice than a traditional computer. After all, it is light, turns on instantly, and it is incredibly straightforward to use. My mom got a MacBook a few years ago but rarely uses it. I can pretty much guarantee that when she finally lets me get her an iPad she WILL use it… constantly.
For all these reasons I do in fact believe that the iPad may well be the first product in a “Post PC” era.
Steve Jobs and Apple do not get to be the ones to call it that. Yes, they created the first Post-PC device. Yes, he, and they, were the first to show the possibilities of a Post-PC era. But they are also the ones standing in the way of it actually taking off.
It COULD BE a Post-PC world but they have, thus far, intentionally prevented it from happening.
Think about it… if I get a new Android device I can turn it on, configure it and be going before I ever leave the store. Yes, I can use my Android device without EVER connecting it to a computer. It is PC-Independant.
I can do the same thing it with a Windows Phone 7 device. And I can do the same with a BlackBerry. Yes, with Android, WP7 and Blackberry I don’t need to have a computer available to me when it is time to first turn it on. Not so with devices running iOS.
Turn on your iPad 2 (or any iOS device) for the first time and what do you get? You get this…
Translation of this image?
“Congratulations on your new iOS device. We know you are anxious to use it but that’s not happening yet. You first need to go home, connect this device to your computer and go through the activation process. After all, we are happy you bought the iPad but we still want to make sure you buy our computers. Moohahahaha! Love, Apple”
Yes, Apple has, thus far, ensured that their third “Post-PC” device is actually one of the last “Totally PC-dependent devices”.
I love my iPad but let’s call it what it is. It remains a desktop or notebook-reliant device that is all but unusable if you do not have access to a computer running Windows or Mac OS X. That’s NOT Post-PC but only because Apple doesn’t want it to be.