Post-PC era? Think again

Marco Arment (founder of Instapaper, which I love) nails it when he says iPad isn’t an Office Productivity device. He writes:

The iPad isn’t really a great “office productivity” device, in the traditional PC sense. It can be used that way in some cases, but it’s rarely the best tool for the job.

It seems that Apple has discontinued the Keyboard Dock with the launch of the iPad 2, which confirms that they saw it as a temporary hack, too. And rather than issue a huge update to the iWork productivity apps, they branched out into different uses with iMovie and Garage Band, and beefed up the graphics processor more than any other upgrade to strongly benefit games.

I don’t think this was their plan from the start — I think Apple didn’t know any better than we did, a year ago, whether the iPad was going to end up as a productivity device in practice. They probably thought, like we did, that it would replace laptops a lot more often.

But, as often happens in technology, the iPad hasn’t “killed” the laptop at all — it has simply added a new role for itself. And that role doesn’t include office productivity for most of us.

So true. I can’t think of leaving my laptop and using a tablet device for Office Productivity functions I do which includes using E-Mail (Outlook 2010) and Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Visio etc). Multiple reasons for this, but most of these have to do with lack of input and output devices. I find it difficult to use my fingers so well on a virtual keyboard on a Tablet device as compared to a physical keyboard of a Laptop. I don’t want to carry VGA connector cable or a keyboard dock with a Tablet. I tend to carry a lot of data on my laptop which I can’t on a Tablet device with limited storage (64 GB max). I know there are cloud options but some of my data is confidential (from work), some very private and cloud is not an option to store this data.

Primarily, iPad and other tablet’s capabilities as a media consumption device is great. You can read books, watch movies, browse web, and now create music also. It also serves well for very app-specific business usage like taking orders in a restaurant, with hospital staff, with real estate guys who want to show different layouts on a site visit etc. So what iPad has done is created a niche for itself as a Media consuming, mostly Read-Only device. And as we speak with iPad 2, media creation (Garage band and iMovie apps) also comes mainstream.


iPad or any other Tablet device cannot signal a Post-PC era unless we get enterprises also onboard (I know Apple is working hard on this). These at best signal a Post-Netbook era, an era which nobody wished for but still happened in absence of cheaper/user friendly media consuming devices.