The Future of the Mac Is the iPad

by Hadley Stern Jul 20, 2010

When the Macintosh team formed it was clear they were onto something special. So clear, in fact, that Steve Jobs attached himself to the project as soon as possible and became it's leader. What they were inventing was not just a computer, but a computer for everyone—incredibly intuitive to use, innovative, and affordable.

As a very proud owner of the Macintosh Plus I experienced that revelation first hand. Up until then my computing experience had been limited to command prompts. And here was this thing with a mouse, and a screen that rendered documents like they looked! And a file system that had a metaphor that I understood immediately. The world was slow to embrace the Mac, but once Windows came along, using the same GUI paradigm this revolution was unstoppable.

There was one distant failure to the original Macintosh project (some would say the reason for it's demise) and that was cost. Steve Jobs and the rest of the team wanted to build a machine for everyone, but they simply couldn't due to the price and complexity of the components.

Zoom forward almost 30 years and here I am typing on this curious device called an iPad (an aside, I'm writing this on a plane, and it is perfect for the ever-shrinking personal space on today's flights.) I am using a device that has 10 hours of battery life, is able to play videos and movies, and render books beautifully. And I can write, create presentations, and more with it. It is very light, and very easy and intuitive to use. The operating system and file system is completely invisible to me, much like I never have access to the software that helps drive my car.

I cannot defrag the hard drive, view the file system, run command prompts, or even run (on this version) multiple apps!

And all this for $500.

Which brings me back to the Macintosh. Many folks out there, including myself, are wondering what the heck is going to happen to the Mac? The whole iPod thing after all was never a threat, it just plays music and a few more things. The iPhone was interesting, but it's form factor and power would mean (for now) that it would always be delegated to a mere mobile device.

But the iPad brings up panic in some people's voice. Will iOS replace OS X? Will we only be able to buy Macs that have no view to the filesystem, no beloved terminal?!

My guess is Hell yes. And why? Because the iPad takes the original spirit of the Macintosh and revolutionizes it. Steve jobs was not using hyberbole when he stated that the iPad is a magical and revolutionary device....It is! It is computer as utility. It is like a well-made watch that just works with little or no effort. He wasn't saying it was magical because it was an Apple tablet. He was saying it was magical because it removed so many barriers between interface, device and human.

The iPad is in many ways truer to the original Mac vision, as Steve Jobs and the original team imagined it, then the Macintosh Plus I, because it's truly a computer for everyone. Where Apple ultimately takes this device and its Macs will look like the same place, wait and see.


  • Exactly. It’s the computer both my 86 yr old mom and my 4 yr old granddaughter (who does) can use.

    Martin Calloway had this to say on Jul 20, 2010 Posts: 1
  • Steve Jobs and the rest of the team wanted to build a machine for everyone, but they simply couldn’t due to the price and complexity of the components.

    Not the whole story you forgot this part:
    (The) marketing campaign caused CEO John Sculley to raise the price from US$1,995 to US$2,495.

    Babblefish had this to say on Jul 23, 2010 Posts: 7
  • The real disconnect here is saying that all users are consumers, sheep who do not typically create. Will paint programs, and other types of creative endeavors (like GarageBand, iMovie, etc.) benefit from an iOS style approach for many? Likely. Will real power users ever be satisfied with a walled garden, lower powered hardware approach because “That’s all most people need” type thought process? Heck no. I wouldn’t say the more complicated the better, but I want control and choice when I am in “geek” mode and not surfing the web on my couch with my iPad. There are two user types, power users, and everyone else. Whoever continues to cater to the power user as well as the consumer will win. We create the content everyone else consumes, so we define what is needed by what we create.

    MacWynn had this to say on Jul 31, 2010 Posts: 1
  • My grandfather is not really a geeky type of a guy but the iPad completely change all of that. iPad has become component of our lives. -GAR Labs

    Garlabs had this to say on Aug 17, 2011 Posts: 16
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