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Steven Sinofsky @stevesi
, 17 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/ I’m fascinated by the technical “class” obsession w/ iPads replacing laptops.

This review of GUI and mouse is what I think some of the review of the iPad will look like in 20 years. Sure I could be wrong.

I have no illusion of convincing anyone but some thoughts… DM or email me. Old scanned article.
2/ When the mainframe computer came out, the professional class was convinced that computers could never do what they did.

That was true. They did different things and much better. Then work changed giving rise to business analysis beyond “accounting”.
3/ When the first PCs (and word processors) came out, the professional class said they could not replace typewriters.

A most common example in my first summer job of installing IBM 5150’s was filling out “forms”. PCs could not fill out forms! That is literally what pros did!
4/ Then workflows changed and forms became software and the idea of using a Selectric to fill in a form went away. Replaced with streamlined work in a whole new way.

Repeat for everything using spreadsheets then “slides” (they used to be 35mm film!)
5/ Then when GUI came out, the professional class of PC users said it was a baby toy computer. It dumbed down all their work and slowed them down.

I was a support person they called to tell me the new computers were stupid. I am sure many reading this were on one side of that
6/ Every time I read “guardrails” referring to the iPad I think about all the “business users” I showed the first Mac to who told me it was too restrictive and they couldn’t do what they needed to do.

As if “reveal codes” or installing a TSR was required to be doing work.
7/ Mac/Windows replaced character mode incredibly quickly even though it would be 10yrs before Windows Word or Excel would “win” a side by side review with character mode equivalents in “feature for feature”.

Guardrails made it possible for computing to do more by doing less..
8/ This is what has already happened with mobile “versus” PCs and why PCs have been replaced.

We used to use PC tools to do things like place orders, deal with customer service, do banking, budgets, and more. All are phone tasks now for billions. AND more volume and new things.
9/ Many things ran on mainframes for years after PCs took over.

Many things ran on DOS for years after Windows “won”.

Many things ran as Win32/OSX apps even though phones dominate computing.

In each case, the new way opened up a scenario to an order of magnitude more people.
10/ The list of things being cited as holding back mobile from “replacing” PCs looks a lot like those lists about PCs, GUI, etc.

Some are just trying to make a point like plugging a printer into a computer. Printers have been networked/wireless for a decade already.
11/ USB storage seems to be a hot button. But vast majority of people will never own USB storage (yes I know—Android phones YouTube videos on TF).

If you don’t have a PC you only create “files” that exist in cloud and will never move it off the cloud to fragile local storage.
12/ Using SD cards in a camera feels like “filling out forms”. Pros are all transmitting wirelessly already (yes to a PC!) and built-in wifi appeared first on consumer cameras. Plus images are destined to be shared via mobile apps first anyway.
13/ Many exec assistants, bankers, and landlords filled out paper forms on Selectrics for a long time.

Many lawyers and accountants used character apps for years.

So on. In all cases constant improvement and *change* in work made clear new work was done in new ways *alerady*.
14/ Guardrails and “restrictions” are the reason why one generation can be 10X the previous generation, not a hindrance.

It is true over time the new takes on characteristics of the old, but in new ways not in obvious ways. PCs became servers, but not mainframes.
15/ I know this won’t convince anyone but I do think that some historical context is due because 44M iPads a year is a lot before counting phones.

The number of non-PC users (with jobs even!) >> number of PC people *already*.
16/ In 20 years, some reviews from today are going to be that review of the mouse and graphical OS. Only this time, the weird part is that the future is already here by the billions.
PS/ I know most people have jobs to do (I used to make software for people’s jobs) and can’t just change over night.

This is more of a plea about recognizing the transition and not dismissing it because it doesn’t happen instantly or by adding the old to the new.

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