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Sacrilege: I don't want an iPad

After trying out an iPad, all I can say is, it really isn't all that impressive. Yes, they've done a nice job -- they always do. But those of us who live outside of the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field are already seeing that it's not the universe-changing milestone of modern computing that the fanbois are claiming it to be. (Although I'm very amused that Apple is succeeding where Microsoft failed -- it's very satisfying to watch because tablets were Bill Gates' pet project. More on that later.)

I do like my netbook, though. Now you've got to keep in mind that netbooks were not originally intended to be "very small laptops" which is how they eventually ended up getting positioned in the market. They were supposed to be access devices, companion devices. Not full-blown PC's. That only happened after Microsoft started freaking out because people were actually buying Linux-based computers (oh no!) and because these devices were being manufactured by PC makers, they had the leverage to force them to lard up the hardware specs until they could (badly) run Windows XP.

What's really funny is that the same person who argued that I was wrong about this -- that people really do want a full-blown computer and not a simple companion device -- is now an iPad owner.

So what's next? I would say, look for some really slick new netbooks emerging in the next year or two. They're not going to be based around PC technology the way the current batch are. We're going to see netbooks with ARM processors running Android or a similar software stack. They're going to be made by companies who aren't as easily pushed around by Microsoft (think phone manufacturers instead of PC manufacturers). They're going to have insanely long battery life and relatively cheap price tags, possibly as low as $100 once they really get going. And a lot of them are going to be sold, many of them to people who won't buy an iPad, either because Apple's prices are too high or because they really wanted something with an actual keyboard.

As a side note, I've gotta say I'm really loving the Android software stack. My wife and I are now the proud owners of Android-based smartphones. It's a beautifully designed environment -- easy to work with, fast and snappy, flexible, and best of all it doesn't lock you into Steve Jobs' walled garden where you can only perform Apple-sanctioned actions using Apple-approved software. Long live the world of open systems.

Posted by IGnatius T Foobar <> on Sat May 08 2010 19:41:00 EDT
4 comments | permalink
IGnatius T Foobar  says:  Wed Jul 10 2013 23:02:05 EDT
It's amusing to read this piece three years later and see that most of what I predicted came true. Tablets are still doing pretty well but the most awesome ones have dockable keyboards, essentially turning them into the modern equivalent of netbooks. I sure do love my Asus Transformer ... but I seldom use it without the keyboard.

Sig  says:  Thu Jul 11 2013 00:35:08 EDT
I'm still using my 4-year-old XP/LinuxMint netbook.

IGnatius T Foobar  says:  Mon Feb 15 2016 17:54:19 EST
So, I'm reading this blog post almost *another* three years later. Netbooks are dead and so is Steve Jobs. But unlike Jobs, netbooks are dead in name only. The "high end" users are all carrying around computers that are indistinguishable from a netbook in terms of form factor. They are thinner and more powerful, and some have a touchscreen and/or removable keyboard, but they're basically netbooks. Windows on ARM is just about dead at this point, too.

IGnatius T Foobar  says:  Fri Nov 25 2016 14:05:01 EST
Looking back on this blog post from eight years ago, I think the basic premise has held up very well.

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