Apple’s iPad put a fork in personal computing

John Kirk writes for TechPinions, “When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in January 2010, he wondered aloud whether there was room between the smartphone and the notebook for a third category of tablet device like the iPad.”

“Everybody uses a laptop and a smartphone. And a question has arisen lately: is there room for a third category of device in the middle? Something that’s between a laptop and a smartphone. And of course we’ve pondered this question for years as well. The bar’s pretty high. In order to really create a new category of devices, those devices are going to have to be far better at doing some key tasks. Better than a laptop. Better than a smartphone.” – Steve Jobs, January 2010

Kirk writes, “Hard though it may be to believe, Western Civilization once had to collectively ask itself a similar question regarding a then radical new form of technology…a fork.

“Before the fork was introduced, Westerners were reliant on the spoon and knife as the only eating utensils. Thus, people would largely eat food with their hands, calling for a common spoon when required. Members of the aristocracy would sometimes be accustomed to manners considered more proper and hold two knives at meals and use them both to cut and transfer food to the mouth, using the spoon for soups and broth.” – Wikipedia

“A spoon, a fork and a knife are three different categories of cutlery. A smartphone, a tablet and a notebook are three different categories of computer,” Kirk writes. “A fork is its own category because it is far better at doing some key tasks. Better than a spoon. Better than a knife. A tablet is its own category because it is far better at doing some key tasks. Better than a smartphone. Better than a notebook.”

Read more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: We currently use knives, forks, spoons, and, we guess, sporks (if you want to separate notebooks from desktops): We use iPhone 4S smartphones, iPad 2012 tablets, 11-inch MacBook Air notebooks, and 27-inch iMac desktops. All linked seamlessly together via iCloud.

What do you use?


      1. Bill was not weak and would have pushed the tablet forward of he could have. Microsoft built software and others made the hardware. Apple made both and could create the merging of both into one seamless system. Steve did what Bill could never imagine. Apple, Steve Jobs, was and still is a better machine at resolving problems. Bill and Microsoft was never weak, they were lacking in vision and technical capability.

        1. “Microsoft built software and others made the hardware.”

          And this is why they failed. They were hoping (with only one eye barely open) that the business never changed. And never wanted to be the instrument of change and preempt their market share corner of the world. Without co-hardware and software development they were inevitably doomed. Now they realize this at the last, as they head into irrelevancy.

          1. “never wanted to be the instrument of change ”

            That perfectly sums up Microsoft. The company would be fat and happy without a GUI.

            Look how plump Mr. Clown was for all those years. Now he’s having to run to keep up. (at least it’s good for his health)

        2. I bought one of the early tablets in 2003 (the Motion 1400). I wanted to use it the way I now use the iPad and it was a complete failure in that role. It was only marginally better as a notebook and a disaster as a desktop replacement. It was the finest machine I have ever used for playing JigZone, but that role won’t justify the cost ($3K at the time).

    1. Every time a Windows PC owner uses either the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch for data use (surfing, Facebook, Twitter, …) they do not turn on their old PC. If it is not used, if doesn’t wear out, get virus or SPAM infested, … making it unnecessary to replace that turd every year or two. They may get 5 or 10 or even 20 years out of that old crappy Windows PC.

      If it isn’t used it will not need to be replaced. Just put it in the closet or basement incase. I still have my slide ruler in my desk. Haven’t used it in about 38 years or so. When was the last time you used a calculator? (When did the iPhone come out? That was the last year I needed a calculator or watch.)

    1. Actually, I was thinking that Netbooks were more like a spork. Kind-of understand the concept but really not good at anything.

      Androids tablets in my mind are like a cheap plastic fork compared to an actual metal fork. Basically a bad cheap copy that doesn’t really do the job well and breaks all the freak’n time.


  1. I use an old Dell Inpiron as a paper weight, a Dell Dimension wrapped in fishnet for a boat anchor, and an old Compaq Deskpro 365/25 as my fitness stepper in the basement. I thought that’s where all old (Microsoft) partnered hardware ended up. No?

  2. In related news msft just announced it’s new product the “unitensil”

    It takes the obvious culinary advantage of a spork to a brand new level. They have incorporates a razor sharp edge along one side of the handle of the spark to create the “Metrospork” Ms press spokesmen bagdad bob states that “Now you only need one it combines the functions of all flatware into one easy to use uni-tensil .”

    Early reviewers have complained of cutting their hands badly on the razor sharp serrated edge of the handle and also of having to grab the (dirty) head of the unitensil to be able to use it as a knife. msft’s bagdad bob replied that those are minor annoyances taken way out of proportion, and points to Rob End-erhills culinary supersite where Rob calls the new unitensil “perfect in every way” and “a revolution in flatware”

  3. MacMini as music-centre with all my cd’s losslessed. AppleTv to connect MacMini to Philips Tv.
    MacBookPro(2012) for work. MacBook(2008) for the family.
    Ipad with all the games and comics for the kids.
    Ipad3 for myself on the couch.
    Imac (edition 2001) for making music with Yamaha-keyboard and garageband.
    MacClassic doing nothing, just being there as our first Mac 1989.
    Iphone 3g for my girlfriend Iphone 4S since one month for myself. Iphone 3gs as an iPod touch for the kids (no Sim-card).

  4. I use a Mac Mini for entertainment, an iPod Nano when I’m biking, MacBook Air when I’m writing and an iPad when I’m pooping. There’s a device for every occasion.

  5. A tablet is its own category because it is far better at doing some key tasks. Better than a smartphone. Better than a notebook.

    Always missing from these discussions is the fact that the ‘tablet’ was around for ten (10) years before the iPad arrived. What Apple did was make the ‘tablet’ into something an actual human being would enjoy using. This points out that Microsoft is, as ever, crap at GUI development and user-friendliness. MS had a massive lead and had not-a-clue how to do it right. They STILL can’t do it right. Metro is a horror GUI. To use it is to hate it. The Metro lash-back from Windows 8 has already begun, and the damned thing won’t be officially released for two months.

    IOW: Give Apple credit for more than just creating a new computer niche. They knew how to do it right. The almost total FAIL of Android tablets continues to point out Apple’s serious skills are far more than just hardware. As ever, Apple transcend the thoughts of simple minds and wed together both hardware AND software into near-perfection. I like that. 😀

    1. That massive lead in tablets was criminally squandered by Microsoft.

      …NOT due to unimaginative engineers BUT because of the stupefying mantra broadcast by the man in the high castle, forcing all other ideas to dissolve into oblivion (imagine the sound of droning):

      “Windows…Windows…here, there, everywhere, always, forever and ever.”

      There was never a serious effort to understand human usability, only a focus on perpetuating Windows.

      Hark, thou, to the murmuring of the barbarians drawing ever closer to the citadel.

    2. Well said, DC.

      Read various articles that the overwhelming majority of puter users only use, or really need, a few basic functions. iPad certainly goes beyond that and also cuts the cord.

      To watch my five-year old niece and my 80-year old father use an iPad seamlessly for the first time. Well, nothing short of remarkable.

      1. Which points out what an anomaly my mom is. She’s used to using, (get your barf bags out), a WebTV. She’s tired of being knocked off ye olde modems all the time and wants a laptop. She has eyed the iPad, seen it in action via her best friend, and doesn’t like it. So we’ve been looking over low end MacBooks.

        Then one day she starts gabbing about a cheapass Android tablet for $199. I nearly toss my cookies. I point out the obvious. Oh, the incoherence of the tech illiterate. Beats me what she’s going to get. It’s times like these when I point out that I don’t support crap hardware and software. Have fun on your own. Then I allow the incoherent to live with their choices, as is the default for the living. (0_o)

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