I’m calling it now: The laptop starts dying tomorrow.
IT’S HAPPENED BEFORE
As someone in both the photo and the tech world, I’ve seen (and spoken about) the point and shoot camera’s declining relevance.
Ten years ago, they couldn’t make those thing fast enough. Then one day someone put a camera into a phone.
It took a while, but the cameraphone has slowly, quietly, and almost completely replaced the point and shoot for many people. Cameraphones are simpler, more convenient (smaller) and, for 99% of situations, they are good enough.
When you need a really great photograph you use an SLR. The rest of the time, you use a phone. The point and shoot is dying, relegated to a niche middle ground.
IT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN AGAIN
The same’s about to start happening in the computer hardware market. Laptops have always been a compromise solution. They’re awkward and unergonomic, slow compared to their desktop counterparts, have poor battery life, and are just as complex and confusing to operate as their larger brethren.
Enter the iPad. Simpler, more convenient, and for 99% of uses, good enough. See a pattern?
Yes, the first version will be flawed. Yes, it will be hard to tear your beloved laptop out of your hands. Yes, it won’t live up to all of its promises. Yes, it will take time. Maybe years.
And, like your cameraphone, it’s going to sneak up on you. But one day, pretty soon, you’ll realize that you haven’t used your laptop in days. That you tend to grab your iPad first whenever you need to visit a website or answer email. That your laptop never leaves your desk anymore.
It starts tomorrow.