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The Fusion Of Design & Portability

The Fusion Of Design & Portability

by , 11:30 AM EDT, July 16th, 2001


Image published by AppleGossip.
Apple's discontinuation of their CRT monitors has led me to a new theory about the direction that computer design will take in the future. Demands of consumers have always driven the direction that new designs levitate towards. There are the G4 machines for professionals and the G3 machines for the consumer. There are laptops for the mobile users and desktops for the stationary users. But what about a combination of laptop and desktop? I think such a combination would be just the thing to spike Apple's market share.

The failed Cube demonstrated that the consumer marketplace is unwilling to accept a costly CPU with an affixed LCD screen, regardless of breakthrough design. Instead, the two must be fused together in some subtle manner which only Jonathan Ives could contrive. Maybe it will be something like this clever mock up published at AppleGossip. Apple's vision must be to design a computer to fit this need.

Apple's laptops are exquisite illustrations of beauty in every form of design, ease of use, and comfort. Titanium covering, well positioned I/O ports, and large wrist pads are all features which create the essence of said beauty. Combine such elements with a large screen, DVDs, and a kickin' graphics card and the consumer has one heck of a machine.

And who would not love to have a laptop as opposed to a desktop? Attach an optical mouse to it and sit it on your desk for a Quake 3 fraggin' session, or some hard-core Photoshop editing. Grab your laptop before heading out to class and take notes using Word rather than the awkward Palm Graffiti technology. Instead of lugging over a 35 pound computer to a friend's house to play networking games, toss a feather-like 6 pounds into the passenger's seat. Pop in an Airport card and roam the backyard while surfing the internet, or dip your feet in the pool while you read the latest news online. Wireless internet is the future; a technology which only laptops and other portable devices are fully able to utilize.

The reason consumers adore their laptops goes beyond the practicality of portable computing; logistics are also important. No longer is a desktop machine needed for huge hard drives, gargantuan amounts of RAM, expandability, I/O ports, ergonomic keyboards, large displays, and removable storage media devices. The advantage of the desktop is extinct. They aren't needed for extraordinary power and productivity. Laptops pack quite a punch, combining all of the above features, while using low wattage processors in order to supply the utmost battery life. Prices have also experienced tumultuous drops in the past few years. One can find a second generation laptop for first generation desktop prices, a new sight in the computer marketplace.

Because of the practicality of mobile computers, I believe that desktops will fade into the distant past. I hope that Apple also thinks that the division of stationary desktops and mobile laptops should evaporate. They will merge into one. Powerful, yet portable. Productive, yet ambulatory. Given, corporate servers and work stations for instance, needn't be mobile. Their main purpose is to supply the biggest bang for the buck, not ease of use or portability. For consumers, however, portability is the Holy Grail of the computing experience.

I liken the paradigm shift away from desktops to the trend that we have seen in vehicular sales. SUVs are popular. They embody everything, from power to pulchritude, that many humans want in a car. They are a combination of the versatile mini-vans and the svelte sports cars. SUVs are the best of both worlds. I hope that Apple will develop a new computer that will also be the best of both worlds, portable and powerful. Such a design will change the computer world as did the introduction of SUVs into the automotive marketplace, and I eagerly anticipate its arrival. Many of you reading this might think that the iBook or the TiBook is that machine, but I think that both of those models are but a step along the way. It is more likely that the long-fabled LCD iMacs that many had been expecting for MWNY, until Macworld UK burst that particular bubble, will be the step after that. When it actually comes to market, of course. ;-)

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