Will the iPad replace the laptop computer?

Wed, Apr 7, 2010


Amit Gupta thinks so, and likens it to how the advent of quality camera phones started to remove the need to carry around a point and shoot camera.

Laptops have always been a compromise solution. They’re awkward and unergonomic, slow compared to their desktop counterparts, have poor battery life, and are just as complex and confusing to operate as their larger brethren.

Enter the iPad. Simpler, more convenient, and for 99% of uses, good enough. See a pattern?

… And, like your cameraphone, it’s going to sneak up on you. But one day, pretty soon, you’ll realize that you haven’t used your laptop in days. That you tend to grab your iPad first whenever you need to visit a website or answer email. That your laptop never leaves your desk anymore.

It’s an interesting argument, but I’m not sure if I buy it just yet. Typing is such an integral part of the computing experience that I don’t think the iPad can really do to laptops what camera phones did to dedicated point and shoot cameras – that is, make them superfluous.

And besides, the iPad isn’t even trying to replace your laptop. In fact, Apple is positioning it as an entirely new device – a media consumption device capable of handling some basic day to day tasks, but not a primary machine for anyone who uses their computer for more than simple email and web browsing.

The fact is that many people use their laptops as their desktop computer. It just happens to be mobile is all. Remember that Apple makes an insane amount of money from its lineup of high margin notebooks, and it will keep the iPad just feature-hungry enough so as to not cannibalize its MacBook sales.


1 Comments For This Post

  1. Sky Says:

    Two comments. because the iPad supports a bluetooth keyboard it can offer the best of both worlds. One can haul just the ultraportable iPad most of the time, and occasionally bring along the BT keyboard for reports and other typing-intensive tasks.

    Second, I don’t think we know yet whether or not Apple “isn’t even trying to replace your laptop.” To me, iPad Version 1.0 has a certain Mac-mini quality of providing an entry point for switchers. Where the Mini enabled Windows users to try a Mac, the iPad enables legacy form-factor users (e.g. clamshell laptops) to try touchscreen.

    Perhaps a year from now we’ll have a better understanding of what Steve and co have in mind, and what this will mean for future Mac products. I can imagine a next-generation Slatebook Pro that effectively replaces today’s Macbooks in form and function.

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