We geeks love the nuance of our geekiness. We debate the merit of things like blog comments at length (or more likely ad nauseam). We overanalyze our iPhone’s mute switch. And now we have turned our obsessive need to categorize onto the iPad, questioning if it is a personal computer or not.
As Terry Lucy puts it:
So here’s my definition of a personal computer:
A Personal Computer (PC) is a device that one can interact with seamlessly. A device that can store memories, media, books, TV and film for the user to consume on-demand. A device that the user can create and share their own content from. A personal computer is a device that is easy to use for anyone. […]
When Apple released the iPad, I would argue that it actually released the first, truly personal, computer.
The way technology is headed in the future, calling the iPad a PC will set precedence that will only lead to even more confusion and misinformation. […] Let’s stop classifying the iPad as a PC, it only serves to confuse people.
My thoughts… who gives a crap? We need to stop obsessing about what we call the device and focus on how we use them. People are going to gravitate toward the device that best suits their needs. For a filmmaker, a desktop is likely the most personal. For a writer, it could be a MacBook Air. For a college student, the iPad is likely ideal. For a person on the move, the iPhone might be more personal than them all.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you call the device sitting upon your desk, on your lap or in your pocket. It matters what you do with them. We are quickly getting to the point where several of the things in our lives could be classified as personal computers. When it comes to everything from our desktop to our phone, these devices are inarguably computers. As to the personal nature of them, well, that is up to us. When it comes to classifying our devices, their names are irrelevant; the only things that truly matter are our needs and the ability of our tools to meet them.
It’s fascinating that such a small and inexpensive tablet device actually has a shot at replacing someone’s large and expensive desktop computer. But what else is fascinating is that the device and the market are less than two years old and people are already starting to make that transition.
The impact matters. The distinction is a waste of time.
If you truly want to know how personal a device is, go make something with it. Test its limits. Hell, test yours. See what you can accomplish. You’ll quickly know if what you’re using is personal, a computer, or better yet, both.