Humane computing

Following on from the idea of moving past paper, I want to revisit M.G. Siegler’s post from last April on what the iPad might be:

“In concluding his iPad thoughts on the earnings call, Tim Cook noted that he continued to believe the iPad would eclipse the PC market in terms of sales. Tim Cook is an operations guy. He has long handled Apple’s supply chain perhaps better than anyone has ever handled a supply chain in the history of industry. When he makes such a prediction, it’s not to be taken lightly. He has Apple’s supply chain ready and primed for such a day.” …

I return to my mother. She first looked at the iPad as cool, but foreign. Now you can barely pry it out of her hands. It is her computer.

Craig Mod responds to Siegler’s part about his mother with this: “Really, this is what it boils down to: the iPad is the first computer that is humane. Truly humane. Usable. Fully understandable by the common user.”

I agree with Siegler’s insight into Cook that the iPad (or something like it) will replace what we think of as computing devices (desktops, laptops) today. After living with iOS, sitting down with even a MacBook feels like I’m subsuming myself to technology and the process of using technology. Writing, communicating, reading, etc. on iPad doesn’t feel this way. It does feel humane.

Our desktops and laptops feel natural to us now. Essential even.

But I think our desktops and laptops are to “computing” what the first telephones where to “voice communication.” A rudimentary first step toward something much more humane—in the case of the phone, what is today anywhere-communication as one service among many on a pocket sized device that can be charged by the sun.