Some more things to think about…

By now I am sure you know everything there is to know about the iPad. It is a stunning device. I am at a loss for words on where to begin or what I can add that others have not. That said, I am going to try to make some observations and, hopefully, add some new things to think about:

  • There is no way you can have any idea of how amazing this thing is by looking a pictures and reading sound bytes and blogs. You have to watch the video on the official site. Seriously, stop reading right now and go watch it. I’ll wait… Back now, good. As you can see, every single built in app has been re-imagined for this device. Now, here is something to think about… What if every Mac had applications designed specifically to exploit the capabilities, screen size, etc. of the device? What if the SDK’s allowed a developer to support these nuances in a single app (i.e if it’s an iPhone – look and feel this way, iPad – That way). Now, what if you had a large display that you could slide the iPad right into the side? If the software is built right it could adjust (If iPad in display – do this…).

  • It was not mentioned but the thin and light new Apple Wireless Keyboard is supported.

  • Very interesting how Mr. Jobs pushed the fact that Apple is a mobile devices company so hard.

  • Pair the iBook store with Amazon’s Kindle.app and you not only have one killer book selling device, you also have witnessed the death of the Kindle itself. That’s OK though since Amazon likely does not make a profit (I say likely because they refuse to talk about those numbers) on the device, it is simply a way to sell more books.

  • The publishing industry has been aching for a way to make money off of the content in the internet age. It’s simple, make great “iTouch” apps and make them free through the app store, then charge your normal subscription rates. I can think of several publications I would subscribe to here for a richer experience, ads and all (Wired, Vanity Fair, New York Times, etc.)

I am sure I will have more thoughts and may update this post as they come. Until then, I can say that I could easily see this being a main computer for a lot of people, especially if you have apps as robust as the iWork ones demoed at the event. Seems like it would fit a large number of people’s “enough”

Some things to think about…

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

– Steve Jobs

The greatest technology contributions that Apple has ever made are the ones that are so obvious they are often overlooked. Apple essentially created the language of computer UI. In fact, they have done so twice now.

Xerox/PARC legends aside, it was Apple that pushed and popularized the very idea of how we interact, instruct, and use a personal computer. It still remains today, virtually unchanged in concept from the beginning. The desktop as metaphor for a real world office – with files, folders, a workspace – all are there just as they were in 1984 when Apple introduced them to the general public in the Macintosh. The idea of a pointing device and typewriter style input – yep, still unchanged from 1984 when such things were generalized by Apple as the way we interact with such a machine. Everyone, from Microsoft to every graphical implementation of Linux, now uses this established UI language. Apple established the paradigm and it became the standard.

Apple has now established the paradigm for how we interact with a new class of computer. One that is small enough to hold in your hand and fit in your pocket – The iPhone. The obvious reason is that input for such a device would not work well with the methods they established for the desktop machine, and extended to the portable machine. Previous methods, developed for the world of the PDA, were insufficient in several respects. So, Apple has established a new paradigm, a new UI language, and it has became the standard.

What many people fail to see, what is directly at the center of why Apple is successful where other companies fail, is that they define this standard of interaction with the device itself. This is where the design starts. These are the first questions – How would you use this? Why would you use this? Other companies rush to create products to fulfill a need. Apple often creates products that define the need. These are two very different and, I would argue, opposite things. Other companies rush around to create devices that use this same basic language that Apple has developed. Because it is not an organic part of the creation process, because it is just a bunch of “me too”, they can’t possibly compete or succeed. The very thing that is most important, how you use it and why you need it, is being defined by someone else.

The ads for the iPhone are a perfect example of what Apple is really selling and where their strengths lie. Apple’s ads don’t focus on how it looks. They focus on how it works. Because they are the ones who establish the new paradigm, they are compelled to consistently and methodically show not only the reasons one would use it but how they would do it. They essentially need to function as instruction videos because you have never seen anything like this before nor did you know you even needed it, and they are defining both…

Press here, swipe here, tap here with your finger, tap on this onscreen keyboard. Look, it’s where you want to go and directions of how to get there! With a picture of the destination. It’s like magic, only better!

But here is where these things get a bit less obvious. The rest of this will be pure conjecture on my part. Just a lot of “what ifs”. Some food for thought if you will.

What if the iPhone were just the beginning? What if it is the establishment of a new paradigm not just for the smartphone but for the personal computer itself? It is no secret that the interaction metaphor established in 1984 is dated and not well scaled for the future we can see in our mind and feel is just around the corner. What if that thing we keep hearing rumors about will be the next “a ha” moment in this progression towards a new way to interact with our technical world? What if all of the work done to not build upon, but strip away, the Mac OS in Snow Leopard was to pave the way for this plan? What if Apple is about to reinvent the idea of computer interaction not just for the Mac but, once again, for the entire industry? As they have done with every single market they have entered before?

You know, just some things to think about…

Unclutter Your Mac in One Week – Day 6

If there is one truth I have learned in my short time in this world, is that there are filers and there are pilers. Most people are very squarely one or the other.

For instance, I am a filer. I like to keep things in nice sensibly organized containers. I like to take disparate objects and group them into a semblance of order. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Few things make me more content than creating order where formerly chaos ruled. Ask me where anything is and I can likely point you to it easily (“User guide for the TV? Look in the green file cabinet in the blue folder marked Manuals. Oh, it will be towards the back of that folder because the items in there are alphabetical”). When I work, I love to have what I am working on on the desk and nothing else. It allows me to focus and not be distracted by other things.

My wife is the exact opposite of me. She loves piles. Especially, when she is working on a project she likes to have all of her work strewn about. To see it all at once gives her comfort and purpose. I am sure that if I asked her right this moment if there was any order to these piles she would hem and haw and claim that there was, yet I would be able to find in mere seconds a half dozen examples proving otherwise. The only order is the picture she keeps of each pile in her head. Ask her where something is and she can likely find it for you fairly quickly even if she can’t point you directly to it (see, you lack the mental picture and she lacks the patience to paint it for you).

You see, people who are pilers by nature think spatially. When I see a cluttered space or computer desktop, I don’t assume someone who is crazily disorganized and living in chaos. I think, here is a person who could be a piler and is able to find things amongst the clutter because they remember where it is from a spacial perspective on the desktop. They remember in relation to other files, the quadrant of the screen, even what part of the desktop picture it is covering. Piling is not only how they work, it is who they are.

There is a sub group of people I have not yet mentioned. That is the person who is a filer by natural desire but a piler in practice. These folks would love nothing more than to get things organized and “under control” (in quotes because I want to further stress that most natural pilers have things perfectly under control). Things are not that way for them because they don’t even know where to begin. Things are so far disorganized that they are quickly overwhelmed by it.

I got some feedback following the day one post that it seemed like moving the items from the Desktop and into your Documents folder was just a whole lot of “sweeping the problems under the rug”. Could be. It all depends on who you are.

To a filer, that may be true. To them, the problem is not solved until everything is organized to the nth degree. To a piler, if they dared to follow my instructions from day one, well, they would be lost. They would not be able to function working out of anything with inflexible structure or hierarchy. For the sub group, those who long to know where to start, that was it Ð a starting point. For them the exercise elicited a sigh of relief that may have been just the step they needed. From there, should they so choose, they can now get organized in a way that makes sense to them.

There are countless ways to further break this stuff down. Some may choose to group documents and files alphabetically. Some, by date. Some, by topic or project or area of life (Personal, Business, Family, etc.). If it makes things easier for you, quicker to locate, faster to quantify, then you should do it. Some may choose to dump everything into a single folder and let Spotlight, Quicksilver, Launchbar or some other tool do the finding.

But these are all second steps. These are all optional steps. The first step is simply admitting you have lost control and are now assuming the power to snatch it back again.

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