Waxing Poetic About 2010

I could probably sit here and write a dozen pages about all the things that happened in 2010, but that wouldn’t be fun for anyone, except for me. Instead, I want to focus on the thing I thought was the most exciting about 2010. And that is the iPad. Now before people roll their eyes and close the browser, I have to say that the iPad and what it represents has me more excited about technology and computers than I’ve been in a decade. I liken this as the shift from DOS to Windows 3.1 and then from Win 3.1 to Windows 95. It was a huge change in the way we interacted with computers.

But unlike the fights and struggles of getting Windows 95 to work, the iPad and the software behind it just work. The greatest thing with the iPad is that you just use it. You don’t have to worry about the software underneath and whether or not you have the right drivers or the right settings or enough memory. You simply turn it on and it’s functional. It’s like a TV, you press the power button and it’s ready to serve you.

I love the fact that working with the iPad is so seamless. Press the icon and you’re in a game. Press another icon and you’re reading a book. Press again and there’s a movie. Press something else and you’re writing a document. There is no concerning yourself with the how and why, you simply do. And I think that’s wonderful.

I’m hoping this also means we’ll see a big shift in the way desktop computers work. Hopefully, people will demand a better OS and the powers that be will give us one. A desktop OS that we don’t have to fight with, that we don’t have to constantly run tools against to make it work correctly. An OS that doesn’t need to be updated every day because it’s riddled with security flaws. An experience that allows us to use the applications without having to worry how it’s all being done. But an OS that doesn’t hide everything from me or cut me off from my documents.

No, I don’t like the Mac OS because of how frustrating closed it is, but I love the way the iPad works, which is quite ironic. I’m using the technology not worrying about it. I’m hoping people demand this same level of usability for the desktop.

And I’m excited to see what other tablet offerings are coming. Is the iPad perfect? Is it the end all and be all? Certainly not. But it is great. And to me it creates that same excitement I had many years ago as computers grew up and we experienced massive changes in usability. The shift from DOS to Windows 95 was monumental. The jump from VHS to DVD was monumental. The jump from phone line modems to broadband was monumental. I see the iPad having the same effect. Some fantastically exciting things are coming and I truly believe the iPad is the first stage of another big shift.

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