Tim Hordern

I ♥ building amazing products and teams. QA + Product + DevOps + Fast = Awesome.

The New World of Computing

The resolution and clarity are astounding, a joy to read on, and give me hope that one day we could potentially achieve near print resolution in computing. The new iPad screen is everything I’ve always wanted on my desktops and laptops for the last 5 years, but I could never get.

The new iPad is incredible. In comparing the resolution of the iPad 2 and the 3rd generation iPad, you can clearly see a difference, a leap, in the quality of the display. Things seem sharper, clearer, more real. The boost in processor speed means graphics are shown faster, apps are snappier, pages load faster.

We’re not there yet, but as Jeff says, the new iPad gives us hope that one day soon, we will have devices that display no differently than printed matter. Electronic devices will never fully replace printed matter - we will always need tactile, sensory input in the form of print - but we can hope that we no longer think in digital or pixels but the quality of the content. Much like we used to view the Encyclopaedia Brittanica as a gateway to a world of printed knowledge (where the notion quality was gained from both the printed design and the quality of the content), soon devices will be able to provide us print-quality content almost instanteously (the quality of the knowledge is up to the user’s choice of material … ooh look lolcats!).

In using the new iPad, it’s actually not viewing photos or big graphics that impresses me. Don’t get me wrong, it is impressive to view photos on the new iPad. But what really impresses me as a design nerd is the small details that are now able to be rendered with the new display. Small borders, shadows, minor details - these all were hard to determine on the iPad 2. But now they are clear, like viewing the borders on a printed page. In fact, it’s almost jarring to look at non-Retina apps - the jagged edges of the lower-quality icons distracts from the experience of the application. If you are developing a purely iPad application, you should have already had Retina graphics ready to go (and if you haven’t, get started now).

At the point where these simple, fixed function Post-PC era computing devices are not just “enough” computer for most folks, but also fundamentally innovating in computing as a whole … well, all I can say is bring on the post-PC era.

I will be giving my current iPad 2 to my parents. It will be very interesting to see at what rate they use the iPad versus their existing desktop and laptop environments. I’m guessing there will be questions, there will be some confusion, but they will begin to use it more and more over the traditional choices.

Anecdotal evidence of other similar age users adopting iPads suggests to me that I’ll need to have a range of apps pre-loaded that would suit their needs, as the App Store still remains a complete mess for finding quality apps. I’ll have to spend some time with them as they both use it initially, but baby steps first. But once they’re up and running, I hope that they will begin to explore and use the iPad for themselves.

One of the most impressive things that I have seen about the introduction of the iPhone and the iPad is how older generations have taken the devices onboard for themselves. They are teaching each other, in cafes, in restaurants, at dinners. This same age range used to ask us for help with setting up the VHS, then the computer, then the Internet. Now they are exploring and teaching each other because the device is simple, elegant and straight-forward. That’s incredible.

I hope that, like I did, my parents (and others of their generation) will begin to realise that the best device is the one that gets out of your way and lets you enjoy viewing and creating content. The new iPad just improves on that - the speed of the new processor(s) and the quality of the display is so good that you begin to ignore the device entirely.

It’s a new world, and I’m looking forward to it.