Reply to post: Re: Not just hipsters I'm afraid

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads

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Re: Not just hipsters I'm afraid

I wasn't really claiming that only hipsters use macbooks, I was just poking fun at the kind of person who might spend their time writing code in a coffee shop. However that's silly, because I write code in coffee shops sometimes, and I'm way too old to be a hipster.

My point really was that things like iPads and iPhones depend for their success on a copious supply of apps, and those apps don't get written on the devices they target, both because those devices lack things like keyboards which people who write code tend to want, and because they don't in fact host the kind of development environment which you use to write the apps at all.

And then, if Apple laptops go away, that leaves either non-practically-portable machines on which to write code, or assumes that the people who write apps for iPhones and iPads will do so on Windows or Linux laptops.

I don't think the non-portable machine option is something that can be taken seriously: I started my career with machines which sat in rooms you had to go to to use (and those rooms were often pretty cold) and the entire trajectory of computing since then has been to make things more portable. I'm 55 and I quite like working in coffee shops: they're, frankly, often nicer than open plan offices.

I think the deveopment-will-happen-on-non-Apple-laptops option is more possible, but is probably long-term suicidal for Apple: it's the exact opposite of the kind of tie-people-in strategy which has worked so well for them.

There's a final option which is that it all happens in the clown and you access the clown via your iPad. You still need a keyboard, so it will be some kind of iPad that looks a bit like a laptop, an apple version of a chromebook I suppose. That might just fly, but actually issues of latency, connectivity &c are kind of hard to deal with well (and I do a lot of work-based stuff via VNC so I do quite a lot of what is, essentially, this).

So, in summary, the market for machines on which developers write iPad and iPhone apps is relatively small, but it is absolutely critical for the continued existence of those platforms. I don't think Apple are stupid enough to cut off their own air supply like that: they will keep on making portable development machines -- laptops in other words.

(As a note to this: this is one of the things that I think doomed Sun: they owned the university desktop (which were called workstations of course) market) in 1990. But enterprise systems were far more profitable and Windows & Linux started eating their workstation market. So they gave up on it, people stopped writing things for Solaris since they no longer had Solaris machines, and Sun in due course ran out of air. The Solaris-desktop market was tiny, but critical.)

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