Tim Cook Is Right; the Laptop Is History

When I think about the debate that continues to swirl around whether or not the iPad could ever replace the traditional laptop device, I can't help but consider the bigger picture. After all, "tradition" is relative to circumstances, conditioning, and environmental factors, and when I think about the experience of today's children—at least those children in the modern, western world—I have to draw the conclusion that to these young minds, raised in environments where touchscreens are practically all they know, a laptop or even a desktop, with their bulky forms, clunky keyboards, and generally speaking, lack of touchscreen interface, will seem quite antiquated, to say the least.
 

Tim Cook recently stated that the iPad Pro could and would replace the laptop, and funny enough, many pundits have scoffed at such a notion. The thing is, Tim Cook is a smart man, looking at the long game. Let's keep in mind that there was a time not that long ago, when a rotary dial phone was simply the most advanced technology a household could posses, and let's not forget how everyone raised their eyebrows with doubt over the notion that digital music stored on devices, which in some cases were smaller than a matchbook, could ever replace those flat, round shiny things, now what were they called again? Oh yes, I remember, compact discs!

The fact of the matter is that the iPad and to a lesser extent, the iPhone, have already replaced the laptop; we just happen to be at the early stages of this process. As the kids who are now one, two, and three years old grow and mature, they will do so in an environment where their parents' primary devices are touchscreen, and as they develop their own computing habits and skills, it will be on a touchscreen.

Think back, as cool and convenient as those brick-like cellphones of the early '90s were, can you imagine your expression if someone suggested you give up your iDevice in exchange for one of those? Likewise, these babies born into a post-iPhone world will likely scoff at the notion that a laptop or desktop computer is somehow more practical or efficient or necessary than a tablet, "phablet," or smartphone, especially when taking into account the speed at which even these touchscreen devices have continued to evolve. Heck, as an adult, I can barely stand to use my laptop, I can only imagine the experience of a baby born into a world where almost every personal device that their parent's and siblings use has a touchscreen interface.

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I've written a lot for iPhone Life over the years about the changing tides in the world of personal computing since Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone back in 2007. It's amazing to see how quickly we all adapt to these new devices and conversely, to witness how quickly these devices adapt to us. We already live in a world of touchscreens and AI assistants, speech-to-text, and the App Store, which is filled with everything from console-quality games to flashlights to drawing tools to movie and music production apps to cloud-based information-sharing apps that work across multiple platforms and devices.

Peter Kotoff / Shutterstock.com

Will the iPad and iPhone ever replace the traditional and antiquated desktop or laptop? The truth is, they already have. We are just beginning to see that this is the case. I think that if anything, the most fantastic proposition isn't that touchscreens will replace laptops, but that virtual reality and neural interfaces (think chip implants that directly connect the human brain and a computer) just may be the next big thing, the thing our babies look at and say to their grandchildren (barring a zombie apocalypse), "I remember when touchscreen tablets were fancy and far-out modern technology!"

Top image credit: Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock.com

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Dig Om's picture

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech