I felt two conflicting emotions on his return from the Apple Store. As he unveiled the sleek, aluminium body of his newest purchase I felt proud that he had taken my advice, but frustrated that I couldn’t take my advice.
Before I suggested the MacBook Air, he was almost completely set on buying a MacBook Pro. It took a little persuasion to convince him of the supremacy of SSDs and the effortlessly thin and light design of the Air. In reality though, he knew the Air was perfect for him, there was only one thing holding him back; the lack of an optical disk drive.
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It’s amazing just how fast technology moves. If I’d have pitched you an idea for a best-selling laptop that didn’t feature an optical drive in 2002, you’d have laughed me out of town. Just ten years on and the MacBook Air is the very core of Apple’s laptop lineup, it’s the future of the laptop – Apple isn’t going to eventually drop the optical drives from its MacBook Pros, it’s going to drop the MacBook Pros.
Take a good look...
People are often surprisingly short-sighted, but I don’t blame them. It’s hard for the human mind to comprehend the myriad factors that affect the status quo. The reason you’d have laughed at my laptop idea in 2002 was valid, the optical drive was a vitally important part of every computer. In the intervening years, however, the increased availability and speed of the internet has caused the optical drive to become more and more obsolete.
This brings me neatly to the adoption of the iPad.
The Rise of the iPad
Back when the iPad launched in 2010, tech pundits were clambering over themselves in an effort to discount the significance of the iPad. At best, the iPad would fill a small niche between your smartphone and your laptop. This is a fantastic example of short-sightedness.
In a mere two years the iPad has eaten away at roles normally taken by more traditional computing devices, so much so that people are beginning to find their laptops, and even desktop computers, replaced. There are many factors that have, and will continue to, affect the rise of the iPad – from the increasing ubiquity of cloud computing, to the implementation of super-fast mobile networks and the shrinking size of vital components (I can’t wait for the 128GB iPad to become the base model).
The hardest thing to change is human behaviour, as my housemate will tell you. It’s scary to go without something you assumed for so long that you needed. But, once we begin to catch on and venture to change, technology lurches forwards with us.
The iPad is rapidly becoming the perfect computer for a vast majority of people. Not the perfect tablet, or the perfect laptop companion, but the perfect computer.
I could leave it there, step back, and admire my posturing, but I won’t. I’d rather take a look at a few infographics and statistics that back me up perfectly…
A recent global survey of iPad-using IT and business decision-makers, conducted by IDG, find some interesting trends beginning to show.
Admittedly it’s a survey of a relatively specific group of professionals, but I’d argue that trends that show up here will eventually trickle down.
The IDG report makes the comment;
“The iPad hasn’t prompted the majority of IT and business profes- sionals to abandon any other device. Only 12% say that their iPad has “completely” replaced their laptop. Just 6% say it has supplanted their PC.”
While they suggest that the iPad hasn’t made much of a mark, using the word ‘only’ to imply that the statistics aren’t impressive, I would suggest that for a device to eat away this significantly at the usage levels of traditional computers in a mere two year period is astonishing, and proof-positive of the rise of the iPad.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents say that they “carry their laptop around less” now that they own an iPad. Over half (54%) say that their iPad has “partly replaced” their laptop.
These figures aren’t little dents in current usage patterns, but indicators of the longevity of this relatively new device. The iPad has a long way to go yet, but I wouldn’t be suprised if, in 5 years time, people look at buying laptops second, and only in the most specific of circumstances.