I'm not worried about guys like us. There will always be machines for us (powerful, complex, etc.). Why? Because if for some magical reason there wasn't all of a sudden, we're the type that would just make one.
If the iPad replaces traditional computers, it will only be because using a touchscreen and virtual keyboard is more practical than a mouse and a physical keyboard.
Also as a tradeoff to simplifying the experience, the experience is also weakened. And as users become more savvy, they'll want to try out new stuff. These things may not be compatible with the iPad platform because of its closed nature. There are eventually going to be some scenarios where some cool new thing only works on open platforms like OS X or Windows (or linux).
Also I'd like to add that one of most popular reasons I hear from friends who don't like mac is that it dumbs down the experience. That it's for people who don't know how to use computers (like their parents). I actually had this same faulty preconceived notion until I found out programmers usually preferred os x (and switched).
If the iPad replaces traditional computers
I don't think there's any reason why a nice simple product with great design and UI can't be used by all, including the technical/geeky type.
I don't think it's going to replace traditional computers.
Also as a tradeoff to simplifying the experience, the experience is also weakened.
This is a classic geek fallacy. This is the reason smart phones were so godawfully unusable before the iPhone came out. Ask any designer—removing things can dramatically improve a user experience because it decreases the cognitive load.
There are eventually going to be some scenarios where some cool new thing only works on open platforms like OS X or Windows (or linux).
Definitely. I'm not quite ready to jump on the iPad world-domination bandwagon just yet. But keep in mind that many cool new things will only work on the iPad as well, and it remains to be seen how locked down the iPad will remain, so this isn't a definitive argument by a long shot.
But I do understand what you're saying. Obviously there will be people who will be more technically savvy than others, but the overall trend will be towards more new technology in our lives. What seems new and complicated now will just be pencils and erasers to the next generation. So while I do believe that technology will become more transparent (more natural), I don't think it should/will become dumbed down.
> This is a classic geek fallacy. This is the reason smart phones were so godawfully unusable before the iPhone came out. Ask any designer—removing things can dramatically improve a user experience because it decreases the cognitive load.
Yea I'm well aware of that. I don't think good design and power are mutually exclusive. But I was specifically referring to the general idea that simplifying things naturally results in less power. The trick is to simplify it without sacrificing power, in which you'll result with what we call design. But I think it's important to realize that simplifying without sacrificing any power is probably impossible. You'll undoubtedly lose some degree of power. Closing the app platform results in a simplified experience, but we can all agree it takes some power away from developers too. I probably shouldn't have used the word "experience." I meant experience to describe the capabilities of the system.
Not sure exactly which part you thought was complicated, but I'll take a stab and reexplain this:
good design is about fitting as much power into as intuitive an interface as possible. Simply removing things does not necessarily mean better design.
It's like getting a car with raw power or good mileage. The trick is in getting as much of both as you can, but sometimes you may prefer one over the other.
But I still disagree with you, there isn't a simple equilibrium between power and simplicity. And this is my interpretation of the Apple philosophy, I would bet I share it with many Mac users, and it's odd to me, not with you.
The simplicity in the experience greatly determines the pleasure you take from it, and this determines the context where the "power exchange" happens. Your "power", or the value you get from a product/service is all determined in this context. Albeit being a techie, and having a special interface with these machines I can no longer stand more hurdles since I discovered that it hasn't to be like that.
And it's such a nice discovery to make.
My argument's not that simplicity is bad. I'm saying that you can't just strip away things or a single button would always be the best product in the world.
I'm not saying there's an equilibrium between power and simplicity. I'm saying the trick is in getting as much of both as pasible.
I think it's not ludicrous to say that os x has a simpler user interface but you have just as much power as windows. The complexity is still there. It's just well hidden under intuitiveness. But the important thing is that os x didn't get there simply by having less features. Stripping away things doesn't always help make it better. Consider a video encoding tool. You could make the software easier to use by making it a file picker and a encode button. But this easier is relative to the user. You're definitely sacrifing some power. But if you hide advanced controls you can simplify th ui but removing often unused controls while keeping power features like codec selection available. But it's not just about simplifying by removing any and all features that a single group finds unecessary. It depends in your users. Ideally, all the power with all the simplicity.
I used to be the first, now I consider myself more the second. You could say I'm getting older, but I like to think I'm getting smarter.
Hey--I enjoy hacking away more than ever. But if the means is getting in the way of the end, then I'm just really impatient anymore. It's like waiting for a slow computer, sort of. Or, better yet--having to figure out which slot of RAM in my desktop is having problems before I can do some development at an acceptable speed without tons of swapping. I can do this stuff. If I'm learning something from it, great--but it's still getting in the way of what I want to be doing.
Just because technology gets in the way of doing work doesn't mean that work is not technical in nature. And, of course, there are plenty of valuable, useful endeavors out there that are not inherently technical in nature. Those are not somehow lessened simply they desire to focus less on the tool and more on the result.
There will always be machines for us
Plus, is it better to make $10 and give $3 to Apple or make $5 and keep all of it?
Being at their mercy is a little more worrying. But if you had enough users you'd be much less at their mercy.
I want to be root. When it comes to deciding what code runs on my system, I want to be the final decider. I want to be real root, not sandboxed root. See: PS3 Linux. I suspect the Apple of today would give us sandboxed root and tell us to like it or get bent.
I think jailbreaking on the iPad is going to be a very interesting thing. Jailbreaking your phone was kind of a scary proposition because you'd lose your phone if it got bricked and not be able to get the $200-$300 subsidy on replacement,etc. With the iPad, the worst case is going and buying the equivalent of another computer at the same price.
No doubt if Apple did make XCode for the iPad it would require an Apple developer license to run. What they seem very keen to avoid is having a cheap compiler or virtual machine or interpreter on the platform that lets people download code and circumvent the App Store. I doubt that they are against people developing on the platform for its own sake.
Telephones used to be complex, in that they needed many people to complete calls, then they got bone simple.
But then they got complex in a different way. I don't think you can buy a phone today that just gives you a dial tone and basic DTMF buttons.
Mobile phones are worse (so to speak). But as best can see there are increasing numbers of people using their mobile as their only phone.
There's a market for feature-less devices (check out Reader's Digest for their ads for phones and such; basic behavior and a few Big Button options for the AARP crowd).
But it seems there's a larger market for at least all sorts of complexity.