What is a “real computer”? That ubiquitous question animates the tech world. You hear it all the time, mostly because the various experiments in new forms of computing — from Chromebooks to Surfaces to iPads — all hinge on changing the definition of what a real computer actually is.
For consumers, it’s great: There are more choices, not just between devices, but between ways of working. Want to use touch, do everything online, or take notes with a stylus? There’s a device for you.
For people who review tech, however, this presents a problem. As people change how they work, offering advice on what to buy can depend on your definition of a computer. Take the reviews of Apple’s new iPad Pro this week, which were both critical and, to my mind, mostly wrong. The consensus from most tech outlets: The iPad Pro was theoretically great but is too limited and too expensive. In short, it’s not a laptop, and therefore it’s bad.
But what if the iPad Pro’s very limitations make it both good and prophetic? In adhering to an overly traditional idea of a “real” computer, tech reviewers are missing where computing is headed.
Now, in fairness, Apple set themselves for an unfavorable comparison. By stating that the iPad Pro is faster than 92 percent of Windows laptops and by hyping its power and speed, Apple is clearly suggesting the new model is a “real computer” and thus a possible laptop replacement. So that’s exactly how most tech reviewers evaluated the iPad Pro. The Wall Street Journal said it still can’t replace a laptop, while The Washington Post said that users would still long for a mouse and trackpad. Meanwhile, The Verge’s Nilay Patel sharply criticized the iPad Pro for how it interrupted or simply prevented his usual workflow, making it hard to import photos from a professional camera or impossible to connect external storage.
Patel, who has always been a thoughtful, insightful commentator on tech, was particularly bothered by these limitations because of the price of the device: The model he tested costs over $2,000. For that money, you can get not just a full laptop, but a high-end model like a MacBook Pro or Surface Book. That the iPad Pro couldn’t do simple things made the value proposition seem off.
Apple did itself no favors by sending Patel the top-end 12.9″ model with a full terabyte of storage …read more
Source:: The Week – Business