Anybody who says they know how the tablet drama in general and iPad narrative in particular are going to play out is blowing smoke. Me, I’m inclined to think tablets will be a wonderful game platform, excellent for reading books, have a raft of vertical applications in hospitals and factories and airports and so on, and not be that big a player in the office setting. But hey, I could easily be wrong. Having said that, here’s somebody who’s wrong for sure: Marc Benioff.
He wrote a piece entitled Hello, iPad. Hello, Cloud 2. From it, I quote: “The future of our industry now looks totally different than the past. It looks like a sheet of paper, and it’s called the iPad. It’s not about typing or clicking; it’s about touching.” Hmm... maybe. We haven’t learned yet where touch wins and where it doesn’t. For example, lots of people including Bill Gates were convinced that we would come to control computers primarily by talking to them, and that turned out to be wrong. My mind is open on touch.
But then Benioff goes on to say “It’s not about text, or even animation, it’s about video.” That is so, so, wrong. Intelligence is a text-based application. Benioff isn’t stupid but that remark is.
Oh, and by the way, I consume a moderate amount of video, and I really like doing it on the 1080p LCD TV just the right distance in front of my comfy leather chair with the great footstool. Among other things, I can balance my computer on my lap and write seriously on it, just like I’m doing right now.
OK, I’ll make a prediction. The most important way that the tablet is different from the computer is that it’s optimized for analog, not digital, input. Whatever the applications are that are best driven in an analog way, those are the ones that will drive the tablet ecosystem.