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back to article Tim Cook's post-PC iPad domination dream crushed by reality

Despite Tim Cook's declaration that we live in a post-PC world as he presented the new iPad to the world, analysts at Gartner forecast that demand for PCs will accelerate in the next two years. Apple CEO Cook dreams of a world in which fondleslabs not only outsell PCs but render them irrelevant. These stats suggest otherwise. …

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"Post-PC"...

Read this as "post PC-domination" and suddenly it starts to make sense.

I think it's fairly obvious that smartphones and tablets *are* replacing PCs for many home/casual users (who can afford this) and even for quite a few business users. This will lead to the PC finally being degraded to what it actually always was: Office machinery. Nothing wrong with this, really.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Post-PC"...

I came here to make a similar point, since if we ever do make it post-PC*, then what, I wonder, will the tablet OSs and software be written on?

You have hit the nail on the head though, I browse the net more on my phone now than my PC, but use my PC just as much but for my nerdy adventures. I just hope the decline doesn't affect PC gaming, because I will never play a FPS on a control pad and I do like a good rampage.

* Yes I know I know he's all "the PC is dead", but what he's saying without saying it** is desktop computing is dead, which includes the iMacs etc used for iPhone/iPad application development.

** You've got to love Apple PR.

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Re: "Post-PC"...

Don't be bothered about it. Gartner is a famous Microsoft paid shill. You should know that by now.

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Re: "Post-PC"...

How about asking fondle slab owners if they have a desktop computer. I bet you find its 90%+

So much for post PC

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`Desktops´?

What are they?

Actually, in our firm I can find 3 of them, one of which is for the receptionist. Apart from the servers locked away in the basement, the remaining inventory comprises about 500 laptops. Was the same with my previous company about 10 years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Enough iPad articles

Isn't it enough? I can't really read two articles by Anna Leach mentioning the iPad on the same day.

Make me think the Register is beginning to sound like The Onion:

This Article Generating Thousands Of Dollars In Ad Revenue Simply By Mentioning New iPad

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Stop

Re: Enough iPad articles

I'm with you on this, I read El Reg for an interesting redtop-esque take on tech news, one which I enjoy very much.

I'm getting fed up with the constant Apple coverage. I mean, FFS, it's approaching: "APPLE BOG CLEANER FARTS! CHINESE ECONOMY BRACES ITSELF".

The forum is now an echo chamber & on Apple articles a pointless place to post a contrary view. There is an inevitable end to this click-bait shite and the law of diminishing returns may be a good place to start the study.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Enough iPad articles

Yes. I hanker for the days when it was Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft on the Reg. Yes, that was proper news.

Hang on, someone's whispering in my ear... oh yes Apple is a big company now.... and yes they do have an impact on the industry... and Microsoft has lost relevance a little... what's that? Oh, I shouldn't let my personal dislikes get in the way, and The Reg dishes out to Apple when required...

Fair enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Well it could take us into the post PC era

Well it could take us into a post PC era if Apple provide the tools, form factors and options to make that happen. The Transformer at least partly shows the way. Stick Thunderbolt onto an iPad, provide a compelling portable keyboard option and we're over 90% of the way there. Of course, without a compelling Office package, the iPad will never quite get there.....

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Linux

Re: Well it could take us into the post PC era

The iPad is designed to be a glorified Tivo. No matter how many people like to pretend otherwise, such a machine is not a PC. It will not replace PCs due to lack of basic features and the fact that the tech is in control of the users.

"Perfection" means something different to everyone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well it could take us into the post PC era

Thunderbolt on an iPad? What for, do you have many SSD RAIDs to plug in?

Compelling keyboard options are incoming, did you notice the new iPad comes with Bluetooth 4 low power? Makes for very long lasting wireless keyboards...

Office.. Well I'm sure you heard the rumours. ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPad is designed to be a glorified Tivo

Good luck with running GarageBand and AutoDesk Sketch on your Tivo. There are people other than couch potatoes buying and using tablets.

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Re: Well it could take us into the post PC era

Well, as the author of the accidentally anonymised post above, I'm bored, have time on my hands (always do on Friday night) so I'll elaborate:

Firstly, you need to remember that tablets are both PC and input in one and I do believe in the long term that they will probably surplant the traditional PC/laptop form factor. To address a couple of responses:

Thunderbolt is not just about storage but also the monitor connection. The hub for a post PC era tablet would likely be a Thunderbolt Display, providing a display, wired network connectivity, USB, Firewire (it it's still around) and so on. In this configuration, the iPad is the PC, the touch input device and perhaps even a graphic tablet all in one (if only Apple weren't so unfriendly to pens).

Problems? Well you have to look at an iPad while you're touching it; not easy to do when you're trying to stare at a monitor at the same time (but not exactly insurmountable from a design perspective). Thunderbolt provides access to all those "basic features". It's up to Apple to stretch the OS to cover everything else.

Microsoft Office for iPad. Yes, I've read the rumours and would like to see it happen but if Microsoft is also looking to the post PC era, will they not have a similar vision for tablets running Windows 8 and Metro? I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft is very conflicted on the issue of Office for iOS (personally, I think they'd be mad not to).

The glorified Tivo response...... I take it you do know what a Tivo is? Last time I fondled a Tivo, it didn't do much for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Not in this lifetime

People have foolishly been predicting the end of the desktop PC for five+ years and now it's the "end of the PC era" - if you believe the talking heads. Thankfully as usual they are wrong. Desktops and laptops will exist for longer than most folks are alive. While the electronic toys will continue to flurish they will not replace PC's for decades.

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Joke

Re: Not in this lifetime

If that's true, then there may yet be a Post-Apocalyptic Appleplectic convention someday...

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Re: Not in this lifetime

I wonder which will happen first - death of the PC or arrival of a popular Linux Desktop. :o)

I think the consensus view is right (and I think it's what Cook referred to) and the PC will become less relevant but still important. It's all part of a shift from General Purpose Computing to specialised kit, be it Games Consoles, Tablets, Sat Nav, Smart Phones or whatever.

The PC will still be there but will have it's own specialisms at which it will excel (Serious Word Processing, Development, etc. - perhaps defined as authoring?) but more and more of the stuff we've traditionally done on it because it was the hub will fall away to other more convenient devices.

I only open my Laptop email client these days if there's an office attachment I want to work on, other than that my phone and iPad do me just fine.

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Happy

Supplimental technology..

That's how I see Pads of any brand. Lighter to lug about than a laptop/ultrabook/netbook on your travels with a decent resolution and good battery life, enhanced by the convenience of WiFi Hotspots and 3G when and where needed.

However the PC will always be the workhorse for most, we use them to download and convert media like MP3's and video content into manageable formats and file sizes to compliment the Pads and Smartphones. It's all about storage capacity and believe you me, a 2TB hard disk is more convenient than a deck of SD cards.

Again the "Office" applications will come into the fray too, there are Office'esque apps for Pads, but what's available is better for editing and presenting content that's usually generated on a PC.

The no brainer is gaming, Pad based games aren't too shabby but they cannot compare to the mid-range to high end gaming PC or laptop. Remember, not everyone enjoys the console.

I don't foresee the PC being replaced by the 'fondeslabs' but remember that "most" Pad owners do in fact own a PC [or Mac] too, so if anything Pads may well eat a little more into laptop sales.

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Re: Supplimental technology..

Bing, that pretty much describes the way I use things right now as well

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Anonymous Coward

'Why are we arguing..."

"Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world" – Ray Ozzie

One of the great Softies

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/373420/ray-ozzie-world-is-over-the-pc

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N2
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Hmm

Quite a long time ago, the motor car replaced the horse. Gas central heating replaced coal fires

still see plenty of people riding horses & we heat most our house with a wood burner, so its horses for courses as I see it,

Use your PC, Mac, Linux box, iphone, android, phone7, tablet & anything else that comes along if it suits they way you work & does the job.

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"Crushed by reality"??

You are assuming that Gartner's anal-ysis (ie. numbers pulled out of their ass) has anything to do with reality. The reality is that people aren't particularly fond of sitting in front of a PC, especially one running Windows, and the fact that they can increasingly avoid doing so via their phone or iPad is a blessed relief.

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Thumb Down

Re: "Crushed by reality"??

Thanks God we have you and your opinion pulled out of a stack of real surveys to correct those losers at Gartner...

...what a douche.

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jai
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Re: "Crushed by reality"??

really? how many analyst predictions have been accurate? all the ones i can remember reading on here over the years have always turned out to be way off the mark. Analysts don't get paid for being correct, then merely get paid for making these predictions.

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Boffin

Re: "Crushed by reality"??

At $600, people actually expect to buy something that can at least do the same stuff they do on their PC. The iPad can't. Only wealthy people are buying 'em, the rest of us remain unimpressed and keep on using PCs for real work.

Even though people hate using Windows PCs, it's the stuff where they actually do *real work*. Can you do your job on an iPad instead of a PC?

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jai
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Re: "Crushed by reality"??

I don't think _anyone_ is buying an iPad to replace their work PC.

they might be buying it to replace their pad of paper that they take notes on in meetings, or to replace their filofax or contacts/calendar, etc. Possibly their email too, because Outlook is a horrific pain in the neck. That's what i intend to do with my iPad.

If people were buying iPads to replace their work PCs, then i think we'd be seeing vast numbers of them being returned, because you are correct, you cannot do all the functions that a work computer is generally used for. But if you're buying a tablet in the hope of replacing your work computer, then you're an idiot.

People are buy iPads and tablets in general for use at home. For casual web surfing from the sofa, instead of using a heavy hot laptop. For playing light-weight games. For reading books on the way to and from work. Y'know, for fun and entertainment, the exact opposite of what you use a work PC for.

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Re: "Crushed by reality"??

Daniel, there are people who leave the PC at work and use anything but a PC when they are out of office.

I've even heard of people earning a living without a PC, can't be real work, can it?

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WTF?

So it's true, Cook is just as full of it as Steve "Freedom From Porn" Jobs, his master was...

...because this load of hilarious BS is truly Jobsian level. )

Really? iPads replacing PCs, really? Where? Maybe they get into hands that never really used a PC anyway but to replace anything? Highly unlikely, at least not in his lifetime.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So it's true, Cook is just as full of it as Steve "Freedom From Porn" Jobs, his master was...

You're a Troll or Shill,

I just checked your post history on account of this post and all you ever do is attack. Never once have you submitted a positive comment.

Even the ones where you 'agree' with someone turns into something negative.

Are you being paid by MS you shill?

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Stop

Re: So it's true, Cook is just as full of it as Steve "Freedom From Porn" Jobs, his master was...

Take it by the tone you're using that you're being paid by Apple

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> Are you being paid by MS you shill?

Unlikely, given that several of his previous posts are also anti-MS. (See the Metro story comments.)

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WTF?

Re: So it's true, Cook is just as full of it as Steve "Freedom From Porn" Jobs, his master was...

...says an Anonymous Coward?

Priceless.

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Go

True, I like calling it as I see it but I don't think it's a problem, even if I user harsh words (which is always deliberate, trying to penetrate the bubble, higher chance to get mailed around inside the bubble so eventually someone might start thinking about it etc.)

I'm not being paid to be an even-handed wordsmith (eg journalist) here so I don't really care if it hurts some companies and execs - after all I pay for their products, not vica versa,

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"The developing world"

I have relatives in the developing world. Back in the 90's I was surprised how many of them had cell phones as their only phone. When they explained it to me, i understood that the phone infrastructure was not great, land lines were expensive. In the end cell phones were a good value, and some people even had booster stations for their homes.

When thinking to the lack of constant electricity, lack of hard wired communications, I can see the kids that are growing up now might choose a tablet instead of a PC. It might be that PCs, due to inertia of business interests and need of schools, continue to grow, but that does not mean that it is a long term trend.

For example, most people I know in the developed world have a laptop, not a desktop. The exception are those that buy an all in one Yet no one thought that relatively expensive laptops would outsell desktops, yet in 2008 that reality came to pass. Likewise, it will take time for software to be rejigged for tablets, but the 10 hours of power, always on internet, and versatility will certainly continue to drain sales from the PC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The developing world"

Oh so you like surveys...

I'll remember that the next time someone says Android is doing badly in the market or that PC sales are dropping.

'I think these numbers are flimsy' or some other BS that doesn't fit with the actual reality of dreadful PC sales. Gartner? Consistently wrong

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Anonymous Coward

What?

When has Gartner been right about their forecast?..... ever.

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Pint

Beware the aftermarket effect!

The developing world is looking for low-cost Internet connect. Out of that 400M unit demand, some portion will be met by low priced second-hand units. With decent performance i the last two generations of desktops/laptops (better than the networks to be expected), the trickle-down of used PCs could turn into a torrent.

The trigger for this to happen is the turnover of equipment well before its effective end of life. PCs meet this definition, with around a 3 year average install at the first user (More for desktops, less for mobiles), compared with a design life of 8 years and a 'real' life of around 10, due to good quality improvement efforts and the astounding longevity of Windows XP.

It's happened before, when the 3270 terminal market collapsed in a few months, for example, and now Apple has to contend with the current tsunami of used iPads and iPhones. Will it happen with the PC? There are no preventive barriers......... Wnen, not if?

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Tim Cook should learn from his own last name

Tablets only replace PCs in the same way that a microwave replaces an oven, hob and grill. A tablet, like a microwave, is smaller and requires less ability to use, but far less capable. Some might be happy with just the more limited device, some will see the newer device as a useful addition to the traditional tools, others will want to avoid the new-fangled stuff as much as possible. At the extreme there will even be some who see the appeal of going back to the basics of an open fire or typewriter.

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Gartner predictions

So, when has a Gartner prediction ever proved to be accurate?

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Meh

Whose your daddy^H^H^H^Hmarket?

The pad and the PC live in different worlds. Pads are used at home, PC purchasing is mostly business driven and in the near future, that means W7 upgrades from XP. The home PC has a vastly longer life-span than the office PC, though we might see a bump as people find a spec which transcodes video well for their tablets. The tablet is both more fragile and less mature, leading to a much faster turnover. Almost nobody swaps a pc for a tablet or buys a new PC every year.

So yes, granny might get a new ipad and let her old imac moulder in the spare room, but I'm not sure Cook's crowing is particularly relevant to anything. If anything, I would expect the challenge to the PC in business to come from racked windows ARM blades working as VDI servers or perhaps from a paradigm shift, if google ever manage to get NaCl doing something useful, or perhaps citrix can do something clever.

So we might be in a post-pc world in the same way that mobile games are the heart of gaming. Yes, its rubbish, but its the biggest market for non-business purchasers.

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PCs aren't going anywhere

any more than cars are.

Cars have been around for the thick end of a century, and aside from changes in appearance and engine efficiency, are pretty much the same sort of thing now as they were back then. The first cars were "horseless carriages" that looked like boxes on wheels, compared to the streamlined vehicles of today. But cars still have 4 wheels, an internal combustion engine, a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals, and a windscreen, the function of which haven't changed for a century.

The WIMP (windows icons mouse pointer) interface is as much the standard for driving a computer as the steering wheel and brake + accelerator pedals are for driving a car. Despite the advent of touchscreens, many processes are still better performed with a keyboard and mouse. Anyone who has tried typing an article or constructing a 3D model on a fondleslab will understand this.

Fondleslabs will end up becoming an adjunct to PCs, but won't be replacing them any time soon, if ever.

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Devil

The iPad is a PC

The sooner we get over that we'll come to recognize that the PC market is growing like a weed. It's boomtime economy in IT! We need more servers, more bandwidth to support these new devices, more IT folk to support them, more services, more web programmers, more of everything.

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Unhappy

Reality Check - I don't usually whinge but............

Big fan of tablets with two iPads, two Androids tablets, several Windows pen computers.

I take anything that Apple says with a large dose of salt. PC or Mac will always be the "digital hub" connecting an array of devices, for me. iTunes is a key element in the connection of various Apple devices, on a big Dell workstation (XP SP3), backed up to external hard drives. Use Macs for other stuff, mostly movies or web site creation.

Watched the entire Keynote as an iTunes Podcast & what a bunch of scruffs (rich scruffs). No attendee at these events has the balls to interrupt or ask questions (except The Register who are persona non grata). eg. why is web hosting discontinued with MobileMe ? Ditto Web Gallery. If iPhoto is part of iLife then why isn't iWeb (part of iLife) also available on iPad. Thousands of businesses & individuals are dropped in it once again because Apple's pulled the plug. They do this on a regular basis. Won't be going the iCloud route any time soon.

Moving Web Gallery to SmugMug & may stay with iWeb or go RapidWeaver/Sandvox/Freeway route.

Now for specifics, & this is why you need fast wired broadband. Big updates to iTunes, Pages, Numbers, iPads, iPhones etc running into multiple GBs. Latest versions of Numbers etc require that the iPad be updated. This process took several hours & failed ! I'll sort it out but it's a real pain. Will then need to repeat on second iPad & iPhones. To Apple's credit these updates usually go smoothly. Other vendors are just as bad or worse. Never put all of your eggs in one IT basket, always, always, always back up, and particularly with Apple - the devil is always in the detail.

Will I be getting a "new iPad" ? You bet, but later in the year once the initial & inevitable manufacturing glitches are resolved. Android stuff is also on the "wish list".

That's the IT industry for you. Don't we just love it ??!!

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Stop

Tablets are not the only post PC device

What about smart phones, for instance?

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Anonymous Coward

Just what is the Post PC World anyway?

The desktop PC's physical form factor has evolved from the typewriter and copy stand. Where the task involves typing lots of text, it's probably hard to beat. Other tasks may not fit so well and the 'Post PC world' gives us devices better suited to those tasks. For example, where the work is visual, a tablet is great for painting drawing, and it's not hard to foresee a desktop work-surface equivalent to a draughtsman's table. With other tasks that use PC technology, the PC has already become invisible, with users interacting with dedicated control surfaces. What's not so obvious right now is what will happen to the cubicle farms where a major proportion of workers spend their day. Right now, they are physically structured around the form factor of the desktop PC, to the detriment of human interaction and collaboration. I suspect this is where the impact of Post PC devices will be most needed and most felt. The good old 'office of the future' – again…

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Re: Just what is the Post PC World anyway?

Charity shop?

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But you need a PC to use an iDevice!

Given that they need to connect to a computer running iTunes their desire to lose the computer isn't going to work.

Also, when I can plug in a proper keyboard, 2 large cinema displays, local storage, run desktop applications, connect optical and USB drives then an iPad *might* start to become semi-useful but the horrid amount of clutter it would generate to enable that means I'll stick with my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro for the foreseeable future.

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Re: But you need a PC to use an iDevice!

"Given that they need to connect to a computer running iTunes their desire to lose the computer isn't going to work."

errr, no you dont. Not since iOS5.

while i have been sitting reading this article, I have updated my iPad to iOS 5.1, wirelessly, and also updated all the apps that have been waiting for updates. If i want to, i by music from the iTunes store, which goes straight to my iPad, and also my iPhone.

For the record, I do have 2 desktop (windows) pc's at home, and use both (fairly) regularly, and I cant see that that is going to change. One of these I hold my iTunes library on, but it is no longer 'required' for updating iDevices.

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PC/Laptop, iPad, tablet and smart phone are complementary products in the ever expanding tech marketplace. One does not always replace the other. However, it is part of a senior marketeers job to say that they do, or will, to make a splash and get attention on his/her firm. That's fair enough.

Tablets are exciting, but the boring truth is that they are unsuitable to replace PCs because they don't have a keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

Popular for suits

There are certainly people who think thay can manage to do their job without a PC, or even a laptop. Most of this type have had laptops for a long time so they are not as productive as they might be. Some of them stopped carrying their laptops around when they got a Blackberry.

Now some of these people want rid of the BB and when they find that they are not going to get exchange from home on an iPhone, they want an iPad too. You can explain the limitations until you are blue in the face. If you point out that company policy does not allow this, they will go and rewrite policy. You can point out that corporate applications won't work on them, they want the corporate apps rewritten. They haven't managed to get the Data Protection Act rewritten yet...

What does this group of people actually do?

They don't do admin. They have secretaries for that (They call them PA's)

They don't actually run the business. They delegate that to lesser suits.

They don't actually make anything. They look down upon shop floor workers as peasants.

They wear suits. "But what do they actually do?" They wear suits.

These are the people that Apple sees as their future. People who want an electronic status symbol that we will know they do not actually use the work applications on it. They get annoyed when we block the games and Facebook but not too much. It still looks cool.

They will call us when they try to surf at work and find that the web filters work upon it.

No. This is not the future. This is stupid.

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Re: Popular for suits

I don't wear a suit - it's a condition of my employment, in fact - but I do use an ipad. Not whilst I'm developing software, that happens on a company laptop.

Perhaps Cook just got his language wrong. I certainly find that there are occasions when the ipad does replace an actual computer. Here are some use cases:

Sometimes when I come home from work, I have computer ennui, and I won't turn on my home PC at all that night. I'll still do stuff online, I'll just do it on my tablet.

When I go on holiday now, I often won't take an additional laptop with me, I'll just take the tablet.

Tablets are much more social devices than laptops or PCs. You can pass them from person to person, flip them around etc. It's a more engaging way to interact with technology.

At $JOB we do have a company tablet that the suits can book. We sell subscriptions to web content, and the suits like to use the ipad to demo our sites to small groups.

To me, it sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder about people who wear suits and own ipads. Did your wife run off with a suit wearing fruitophile who ran over your dog?

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