Shawn Blanc, talking about which iPad would be best for him, mentions a quandary that I often find myself in:
There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to iOS’s constraints just as there are advantages and disadvantages to the versatility of OS X. Each device and its operating system have their own ways of empowering creative work as well as hindering it. It’s often easier for me to work from my MacBook Air and sometimes I flat out need to. But I want to and will continue to work from my iPad as often as possible.
There is no doubt that if I have a desk to work at, and fast WiFi, it is almost always easier for me to work with my MacBook Pro. For any task. the MacBook Pro is fast, it has a bigger screen, a better keyboard, and all of my Keyboard Maestro macros.
But, I still very much want to work on my iPad as much as possible.
Like Shawn, when I travel, I struggle with what I should take, laptop, iPad, or both. I have gone through a lot of work to make sure that I can do 90-95% of my work on my iOS devices with no problems, but that doesn’t mean I can do that work as fast as on my MacBook Pro.
That’s frustrating as a nerd, and I didn’t realize why until now. It’s not the device speed, but instead it is a lot like HDMI, well before HDMI was standard. I’d get a TV or receiver with HDMI ports, but no devices that used HDMI — what I really wanted was to use the HDMI ports, not just have them. That’s what having an iPad feels like to me at time: a great tool that is missing parts to make it truly useful.
The way I see the iPad taking over the mass market from laptop PCs is subtly. I think it’s more about people hanging on to old laptops for legacy tasks, spending their money now on new iPads, and then using their old laptops less and less over time.
I could easily get by without an iPad. It would be even easier to get by with an iPad 2. But with each new model of iPads my life gets a bit easier — not exponentially, but incrementally. Even so I don’t need an iPad, but I want one. I want to use it more.
And as Gruber highlights it will be a slow takeover, but as a nerd I want it to be an immediate takeover and the pull between the two is painful for any nerd. But the platform isn’t ready yet, it gets closer everyday, but it’s not quite there yet.
I suspect this is part of the pull that nerds are feeling, and part of the push that ‘normals’ are beginning to feel. The idea that the next thing is already here, but the rest of the world, in one way or another, has yet to catch up.
I bought my MacBook Pro with the assumption that I wouldn’t upgrade it for three years. By then my iPad might be faster at computing tasks. By then the iPad may be there. By then I just may not need a laptop in the traditional sense of what people use laptops for.
I can’t wait for then.