After having put some time into thinking about people’s discomfort with the iPad a couple of weeks ago I was interested in this brief article in AppleInsider where Steve Jobs admits that the notion of a post-PC era is ‘uncomfortable’ for many people – a subject that I touched on in my post. Jobs’ comments appear to support my own impressions that this is really just a maturation of the industry, a democratisation of access to computing for the masses and that it won’t undermine traditional computing for those with the necessary skills. This should be a relief to people who worry that such devices will replace computers and thereby destroy the ability of individuals to be technically “generative”. I also basically agree with his summary of tablets as a new form factor that replaces the need for a PC for many people, that PCs will continue to exist and that more choice is good (and although I still don’t agree with the Apple business model – and feel that it will suffer as other people replicate their innovations in more open ecosystems – only one of us is obscenely rich ).
More broadly my gut feel is that as the interfaces and capabilities of tablets increase in sophistication so we will be able to encourage more ‘vertical’ and ‘individual’ creativity and “generativity” in the population as a whole. These people won’t be using the same tools as those we’ve had to learn to create through PC use but then they also won’t need that lower level, general-purpose control over raw computing that many people have had to learn merely to pursue higher level interests. There will still be plenty of IT work – in fact more than ever – implementing applications and services to help these newly liberated consumers ignore the underlying computer and be creative within their own domains.