The man who brought us Microsoft Windows, Explorer and Outlook looks at the iPad Pro’s Magic Trackpad and sees the history of computing repeating itself.
From “iPad Pro Gets a Trackpad!“— a 21-part Twitter thread archived on Medium:
Is this the “convergence” everyone has been waiting for? A “2 in 1” or a tablet or a toaster-refrigerator? Did Apple capitulate? Some context on evolution of devices
Hardware evolves just like software but we don’t often see it the same way. We’re used to talking about the cycle [of] software bundling and unbundling, but hardware does the same thing. Every new generation of hardware begins this cycle anew…
With the introduction of a form, the debate immediately begins over whether the new form can take over or whether it is a substitute for the old one.
Tech dialog is rather divisive over these questions (dodged by marketing). “It can never work” or “It will eventually work”.
The first one of these transitions I remember is the introduction of portable computers. Out of the gate, these were way less powerful than “PCs”. The debate over whether a portable can “replace” a “PC” was in full force…
The evolution of new forms almost always follows the surprising pattern of *adding back* all those things from the old form factor.
So all those portables, added more floppies, hard disks, then expansion through ports/docks, and then ultimately CPUs as powerful as desktop…
Then we wake up one day and look at the “new” form and realize it seems to have morphed into the old form, capabilities and all.
All along the way, the new form is editing, innovating, and reimagining how those old things should be expressed in the new one.
So here we are today with an iPad that has a trackpad. Many are chuckling at the capitulation that the iPad was never a real computer and finally Apple admitted it.
Laptop, Apple has invented the laptop.
My take: My next computer will be a MacBook Air, despite Apple’s best marketing efforts. Cue the video: