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iPad: Email is for Old People, So Are Desktops

posted by DL Byron on February 04, 2010

Anyone with a dog in the iPad hunt has posted something more thoughtful than “it sucks” or “want” by now. After selectively scanning the various provocative posts, I chose Mule Design’s blog to leave a comment. It begins with, “email is for old people” and follows Mike Monteiro’s point that, “the iPad isn’t the future of computing; it’s a replacement for computing.”


Image by Mule Design.

That’s the prevailing thinking and agreed.

the next-generation has no allegiance to the platform and none to the desktop metaphor or “drilling down into the OS,” like the old people do.

They’re using the tools we built for them and aren’t entrenched in the choices we made and battles we fought during the dotcoms and Web 2.0. To us, our life’s work is in these apps and to them it’s just another site to say, “hello.”

I realized this yes when my daughter told me email is for old people, but also upon discovering formspring.me last week. Adrian, my daughter, and her friends all have Tumblr blogs and sometimes want comments on them, so they go over to Formspring.me. They jump back and forth like that without concern for “Drupal, Movable Type, or Wordpress.”


With a Macbook, PC, or Tablet, they’ll go there to check their myspace and maybe an email from Dad, but they don’t care if it’s folders or icons they open up. Doesn’t matter if they touch it, mouse it, or text it. That’s not their battle. It is and was ours.


More interesting in the iPad debates is what’s happening culturally. As I said in the comment, I personally don’t care what snark-driven, click-through-ad-chasing, bloggers care about my buying decisions and neither does my daughter and her friends. In the blogging revolution, we upended traditional media, gatekeepers, and tastemakers.

Now we’re seeing the death of uncool. Brian Eno wrote about that last year in a post for Prospect Magazine

There are just too many styles around, and they keep mutating too fast to assume that kind of dominance.

He’s writing about music styles, but the same thinking can apply to gadgets and consumer products.

As people become increasingly comfortable with drawing their culture from a rich range of sources—cherry-picking whatever makes sense to them—it becomes more natural to do the same thing with their social, political and other cultural ideas.

Where 14-yr olds click from social networks to blogs and back they’ll also choose their personal trends in gadgets, in whatever manner makes sense to them. I think with little regard to who makes it and what we say about it on Twitter.

PCs had their chance and failed to deliver a touch-screen tablet. Apple has one now and it’ll sell. Is it a replacement for computing, as Mike says? Sure and another device and platform will come later for the next generation.

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Articles and posts I read before I wrote this include, but are not limited to

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