Nicholas Carr says iPad marks end of PC Era

On Nicholas Carr’s blog RouchType he makes the point that the iPad marks the end of the PC era.

Hello iPad, Goodbye PC

JANUARY 27, 2010

The New Republic has published my commentary on Apple's iPad announcement. I reprint it here:

The PC era ended this morning at ten o’clock Pacific time, when Steve Jobs mounted a San Francisco stage to unveil the iPad, Apple’s version of a tablet computer. What made the moment epochal was not so much the gadget itself - an oversized iPod Touch tricked out with an e-reader application and a few other new features - but the clouds of hype that attended its arrival.

Tablet computers have been kicking around for a decade, but consumers have always shunned them. They’ve been viewed as nerdy-looking smudge-magnets, limited by their cumbersome shape and their lack of a keyboard. Tablets were a solution to a problem no one had.

Keep in mind the iPad is the start of a wave of tablet devices.

The transformation in the nature of computing has turned the old-style PC into a dinosaur. A bulky screen attached to a bulky keyboard no longer fits with the kinds of things we want to do with our computers. The shortcomings of the PC have created, the iPad hype suggests, a yearning for a new kind of device - portable, flexible, always connected - that takes computing into the cloud era.

Nicholas makes an interesting observation that the iPad is good for three handed people.

But will it succeed? The iPad is by no means a sure bet. It still, after all, is a tablet - fairly big and fairly heavy. Unlike an iPod or an iPhone, you can’t stick an iPad in your pocket or pocketbook. It also looks to be a cumbersome device. The iPad would be ideal for a three-handed person - two hands to hold it and another to manipulate its touchscreen - but most of humans, alas, have only a pair of hands. And with a price that starts at $500 and rises to more than $800, the iPad is considerably more expensive than the Kindles and netbooks it will compete with.

What is needed is the iBjorn, a modified Baby Bjorn to carry iPad devices.


One alternative Apple could do is have one-handed typing keyboards like right-handed Dvorak, but I doubt they’ll choose this as it is too big a shift to give users a different keyboard layout.

File:KB Dvorak Right.svg

it is interesting to think of the ergonomics of input comparing the iPad vs. iPhone.  One handed which is faster?

We’ll see how well the iPad does.  It reminds me of the adoption of the original Mac.  The world went crazy (in Apple’s view) for the Mac.  But, sales didn’t turn out as well as expected until the Mac Plus. Thank god Apple had the Apple IIGS to continue bringing in revenue.  Back in 1985 when I worked for Apple I was working on the IIGS.  Later, I worked on the Mac II.

Apple will have a revenue stream to allow it to ride out the adoption of the iPad.

We’ll see if people grow a third hand, start buying iBjorn’s to use the device while standing or find one handed use acceptable.  Apple will sell out for the first 3 – 6 months,  The real test will be Xmas sales in Dec 2010.

You know Apple has the iPad plus prototypes in the works.