On Tablet Computing

So what do I think about the iPad? I think I don’t need one now. When I was asked my thoughts on Tuesday, I responded that I would purchase a competing device in 2012. In my mind, the iPad is no game changer similar to the iPod or iPhone. Just look at the number of tablets released at CES this year.

But make no mistake – the iPad is a sign of things to come. While missing some essential features in my mind, the iPad will improve with time as Apple learns to listen to its fans and gadget lovers and its apps, memory and contents grow. The truth is, I believe that by 2014 most of the people you associate with will carry some form of tablet computing device. It will always be plugged in to your preferences and you will be able to obtain your music, photo and book/periodical library with a few flicks of your finger. New television and podcast episodes will be downloaded automatically while you sleep for the next day’s enjoyment. Thanks to services such as Spotify (when it becomes available in the U.S.), almost any song ever recorded will be available for a small monthly subscription. The response to any question you could dream of within a few minutes reach. Your phone calls will be made through the device via Bluetooth instead of through holding a physical phone to your ear; international calls will be merely pennies through Google Voice or another VOIP provider. And this is just the technology that currently exists. In fact, the above activities are already many people’s reality.

Some people will embrace this future; some people dread it. But, in the end, it’s irrelevant because this future is inevitable. Moore’s law of computing memory and speed will continue into this decade as well and the results will bring dramatic change in the way we interact and spend our time.

The only thing I regret as we move to more personal, wireless, portable, always-connected, multimedia, touchscreen devices is that old media may begin becoming expensive again. After years of obtaining information for free from online news sites, the idea of paying for it is unappealing. It’s good for old media; bad for consumers. But I also believe that information wants to be free and much of it will find a way to break the chains of subscription fees in time. It’s all just a matter of time. Just wait to see what the future will bring.

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