Designing Technology

Nick Bilton with a quote from John Maeda:

“The automobile was a weird alien technology when it first debuted, then, after a while, it evolved and designers stepped in to add value to it.”

I really like this Bilton post, as there is a ton of little tidbits that you can pull from it which give a great idea of how technology and gadgets are changing.

Bilton follows up that quote with this:

Walk into most car showrooms in America and sales clerks might spend more time explaining the shape of the heated seat than the engine that moves the car along. Several decades ago, he might have been heralding pistons and horsepower.

It’s a great analogy for computing because it is not only accurate, but it is about cars.

I think Bilton is largely right if one considers mobile devices only, but for desktop and laptop computers there is only so much you can do about the design of the device and this is where the secret feature of the iPad lies.

The iPad will likely be the mobile computer that people use in a not too far off future, because every aspect of the iPad is better designed then, say, a MacBook Air. The hardware is better, battery life better, tactile response is better, software is better, and so on…

The iPad may not be better at every computing task, or even most computing tasks, but it’s only a matter of time before that changes and what it is better at is eons ahead of a standard laptop. The iPad was designed just to be a better computer and anything that it currently cannot do stems from a lack of computing power, or a lack of the right software. Both of those problems are easier to overcome than any one problem that faces a MacBook Air.

So I don’t read that quote and salivate over what is to come from a laptop. I read that Maeda quote and salivate over what is to come from computing devices we haven’t even dreamed of. I point no further than to your first experience using an iPad — for me that was a ‘wow’ moment and it still is.

Originally posted for members on: January 15, 2013
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