Saturday, March 29, 2008

The iPhone Is No Desktop

iPhone not going to be next desktop ...

"Time and time again we've heard that bigger is better—until the technology revolution came along, that is. Now, the emphasis is on smaller, cheaper, and faster. I've always subscribed to the notion that smaller is superior—until recently, when I saw that smaller is actually becoming a problem.

The "big" thing nowadays is to use a powerful laptop as your one and only computing machine. So, people sit at their office desks with the laptop in front of them and squint at the relatively small screen and go blind. They drag the machine everywhere, and if it gets lost or broken, they're toast, since they never perform any kind of backup. (Nobody backs up much these days.) Even if people do back up, though, they're likely still SOL since the restore function typically doesn't work well when a new machine is involved.

And these machines—these laptops—are delicate, very delicate. Yes, there are some ruggedized clunkers built for the police and such, but in my opinion, most laptops are flimsy.

So, I was doing the This Week in Tech show over the weekend, and one of the participants was singing the blues over spilling a cup of coffee on his two-month-old Apple laptop's keyboard. If this was a desktop rig—the old-fashioned kind—you'd have wrecked only a $50 keyboard, if that. Today, though, he's out over $1,500.

And it's only going to get worse. Everyone thinks that the iPhone is going to be the next major computing platform. Some even hope that it will replace the laptop as the primary PC platform. And what if it does? What are folks going to do when they spill coffee on their iPhones? They've already done a lot worse--they drop them into toilets over and over. PodShow's Adam Curry lamented having this happen to him, as did Leo Laporte on a TWiT podcast.

And these devices are poised to become the next desktop replacement platform? Splash. Splash. Splash.

... The desktop computer—whether it's a Mac or PC—is the best model for computing—certainly better than an iPhone. Let's outline the reasons why:

1) Easier to upgrade
2) More versatile displays
3) More powerful, with multiple drive bays
4) Cheaper
5) Harder to steal
6) Wealth of input devices (keyboards and mice)
7) Easier to type on
8) Easier to fix
9) Unlimited storage
10) Harder to steal"    (Continued via PC Magazine, Dvorak)    [Usability Resources]

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