8 years ago this day (My time zone is UTC+8), Steve Jobs introduced iPad to the world. It was to herald the coming of the “Post-PC” era.
Ridiculed by many “tech experts” as “just a giant iPod Touch” at first, the iPad went on to establish a solid category of devices, sandwiched between the iPhone and the Mac/PC.
8 years on, this concept of discrete categories has melded into a continuous computing spectrum. We now read on our iPads at home, continue on our iPhones when we commute and finish off with our Macs at will. These seamless transitions between Apple devices that iCloud enables is one of Apple’s most underestimated strengths, and still erroneously referred to by charlatans as a “closed” ecosystem.
I remember when I laid my hands on my iPad. I was studying in Munich, Germany at the time and had a friend ship it to me from Los Angeles. Simply because I couldn’t wait for a month. Going full digital with all study materials was one of my pipe dreams at the time.
Kids would tend to huddle around whenever I whipped the iPad out to review my Electrical Engineering notes on the U-bahn. Even though I wasn’t playing games or watching a movie, it was amazing to see kids naturally gravitating to it. Sadly, many of the “tech experts” didn’t seem to. To this day, some executives seem to not get it still.
Since then, the iPad has helped me:
- Start this blog by allowing me to write productively anywhere
- Learn Japanese
- Keep in touch with my grandmother who’s well above 80 years old
- Develop a habit of reading
- Spend time with my photos by post processing on the go
- Develop a habit of sketching
It’s important to look at the iPad in 2018 not just by a temporally-arbitrary definition of a discrete category, but by how much of the computing spectrum it occupies.
You can buy a 10.5” iPad Pro today that’s slimmer than the display section on most Lenovo ThinkPads and still have (within it) a computer that contains:
- A processor that’s more powerful
- 10 hour battery life
- A display that’s years ahead
- Cellular technology
- The best pencil experience on a digital display
- 512GB of flash storage
Slowly but surely, the spectrum is getting swallowed.