Skip navigation
Help

Apple computer

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/sayforward.com/subdomains/recorder/httpdocs/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

What was Microsoft's original mission?

In 1975, Gates and Allen form a partnership called Microsoft. Like most startups, Microsoft begins small, but has a huge vision – a computer on every desktop and in every home.

The existential crisis facing Microsoft is that they achieved their mission years ago, at least as far as the developed world is concerned. When was the last time you saw a desktop or a home without a computer? 2001? 2005? We're long since past the point where Microsoft's original BHAG was met, and even exceeded. PCs are absolutely ubiquitous. When you wake up one day to discover that you've completely conquered the world … what comes next?

Apparently, the Post PC era.

Microsoft never seemed to recover from the shock of achieving their original 1975 goal. Or perhaps they thought that they hadn't quite achieved it, that there would always be some new frontier for PCs to conquer. But Steve Jobs certainly saw the Post PC era looming as far back as 1996:

The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That's over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it's going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.

If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth – and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.

What's more, Jobs did something about it. Apple is arguably the biggest (and in terms of financials, now literally the biggest) enemy of general purpose computing with the iPhone and iPad. These days, their own general purpose Mac operating system, OS X, largely plays second fiddle to the iOS juggernaut powering the iPhone and iPad.

Here's why:

Apple-cumulative-sales

The slope of this graph is the whole story. The complicated general purpose computers are at the bottom, and the simpler specialized computers are at the top.

I'm incredibly conflicted, because as much as I love the do-anything computer …

  • I'm not sure that many people in the world truly need a general purpose computer that can do anything and install any kind of software. Simply meeting the core needs of browsing the web and email and maybe a few other basic things covers a lot of people.
  • I believe the kitchen-sink-itis baked into the general purpose computing foundations of PCs, Macs, and Unix make them fundamentally incompatible with our brave new Post PC world. Updates. Toolbars. Service Packs. Settings. Anti-virus. Filesystems. Control panels. All the stuff you hate when your Mom calls you for tech support? It's deeply embedded into of the culture and design of every single general purpose computer. Doing potentially "anything" comes at a steep cost in complexity.
  • Very, very small PCs – the kind you could fit in your pocket – are starting to have the same amount of computing grunt as a high end desktop PC of, say, 5 years ago. And that was plenty, even back then, for a relatively inefficient general purpose operating system.

But the primary wake up call, at least for me, is that the new iPad finally delivered an innovation that general purpose computing has been waiting on for thirty years: a truly high resolution display at a reasonable size and price. In 2007 I asked where all the high resolution displays were. Turns out, they're only on phones and tablets.

iPad 2 display vs iPad 3 display

That's why I didn't just buy the iPad 3 (sorry, The New iPad). I bought two of them. And I reserve the right to buy more!

iPad 3 reviews that complain "all they did was improve the display" are clueless bordering on stupidity. Tablets are pretty much by definition all display; nothing is more fundamental to the tablet experience than the quality of the display. These are the first iPads I've ever owned (and I'd argue, the first worth owning), and the display is as sublime as I always hoped it would be. The resolution and clarity are astounding, a joy to read on, and give me hope that one day we could potentially achieve near print resolution in computing. The new iPad screen is everything I've always wanted on my desktops and laptops for the last 5 years, but I could never get.

Don't take my word for it. Consider what screen reading pioneer, and inventor of ClearType, Bill Hills has to say about it:

The 3rd Generation iPad has a display resolution of 264ppi. And still retains a ten-hour battery life (9 hours with wireless on). Make no mistake. That much resolution is stunning. To see it on a mainstream device like the iPad - rather than a $13,000 exotic monitor - is truly amazing, and something I've been waiting more than a decade to see.

It will set a bar for future resolution that every other manufacturer of devices and PCs will have to jump.

And the display calibration experts at DisplayMate have the measurements and metrics to back these claims up, too:

… the new iPad’s picture quality, color accuracy, and gray scale are not only much better than any other Tablet or Smartphone, it’s also much better than most HDTVs, laptops, and monitors. In fact with some minor calibration tweaks the new iPad would qualify as a studio reference monitor.

Granted, this is happening on tiny 4" and 10" screens first due to sheer economics. It will take time for it to trickle up. I shudder to think what a 24 or 27 inch display using the same technology as the current iPad would cost right now. But until the iPhone and iPad, near as I can tell, nobody else was even trying to improve resolution on computer displays – even though all the existing HCI research tells us that higher resolution displays are a deep fundamental improvement in computing.

At the point where these simple, fixed function Post-PC era computing devices are not just "enough" computer for most folks, but also fundamentally innovating in computing as a whole … well, all I can say is bring on the post-PC era.

[advertisement] What's your next career move? Stack Overflow Careers has the best job listings from great companies, whether you're looking for opportunities at a startup or Fortune 500. You can search our job listings or create a profile and let employers find you.

0
Your rating: None

[Every week GameSetWatch editor-in-chief Eric Caoili rounds up the latest news/media for obscure and offbeat games from Gamasutra's sister site and alternative video game blog.]

Over at our recently alt video game blog GameSetWatch, we shared a number of fun stories during the past week, including an authorized Commodore 64 conversion for Canabalt, an iOS port of Mac classic Glider, Bloody Wolf bandannas, and more.

GameSetWatch's highlights from the last week:

C64anabalt: Canabalt For Commodore 64 (pictured) - Following up his Commodore 64 conversion of Terry Cavanagh's platformer VVVVVV, Paul 'Paulko64' Koller is working on re-creating another modern indie game for the 8-bit system: Adam Saltsman's popular Flash/iOS one-button game Canabalt.

What Pet Vet Could Learn From Xenoblade, And Other IGeNerator Revelations - Inspired by the ever-wonderful Video Game Name Generator, Jocchan's IGeNerator applies the formula to feature articles for gaming websites. The results may hit a little too close to home for some, but you'll probably end up getting a few good laughs out of it anyway.

I Can't Believe That These Bloody Wolf Bandannas Exist - No matter how much you like video games, no matter how long you've been collecting, and no matter how big of a TurboGrafx-16 fan you are, I can practically guarantee that this eBay item is not in your possession.

FileKiller: 'Malware With A Win Condition' - The game selects 20 files from your computer at random. To win, you must delete them all. You don't know what each file is until AFTER you've deleted it. Files 10 and 20 are folders, deleting them deletes everything in them. There is no undo.

Twin Peaks For The Atari 2600 Is Exactly As One Might Imagine It To Be - Based upon Agent Cooper's journey through the Black Lodge in the final episode, Atari 2600-style take on Twin Peaks features appearances by the pint-sized Man from Another Place, a screaming Laura Palmer, doppelganger Leland Palmer, doppelganger Dale Cooper, plus more.

Classic Mac Game Glider Coming To iOS - If you had a Mac in the early 90s, or at least if you putzed around with your school's Apple computer when you were supposed to be doing something productive, you likely played John Calhoun's Glider or one of its several sequels.

0
Your rating: None


John from the Free Software Foundation sez,

From reading the Nintendo 3DS Terms of Service, one could be forgiven for thinking that Nintendo is exiting the video game console business and entering the brick-making business.

The 3DS Terms are a perfect storm of 1) Updates will happen automatically without your specific permission any time the device connects to wifi 2) The device will constantly try to connect to wifi 3) Updates will specifically disable devices found to have modified software or unauthorized peripherals.

On top of that, Nintendo claims a license to photos and other user-generated material on the devices -- and those things are also automatically uploaded, along with user location data gleaned from wifi network proximity.

DRM prevents users from disabling any of these antifeatures, which is why DefectiveByDesign.org has taken an interest, encouraging people to send cardboard bricks to Nintendo. In the wake of all the Sony PS3 news, is this really the direction Nintendo wants to take things?

It gets better: Nintendo claims a perpetual, worldwide license to the photos and videos you take with your camera!

Nintendo 3DS Targeted in Anti-DRM Campaign

(Thanks, John!)

(Image: Fimo Nintendo 3DS, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from hansel5569's photostream)

0
Your rating: None