Daniel Eran Dilger
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iPad, the destroyer: 19 things it will kill

Daniel Eran Dilger

Pundits, particularly of the Windows Enthusiast variety, don’t understand the iPad. It won’t kill the netbook and certainly can’t kill the notebook, they tell us. If only they knew what the iPad was really meant to destroy.

Steve Jobs likes to kill old things

Back in the 1970s, Steve Jobs pushed his Apple co-founder to kill the expansion slots of the Apple II. Steve Wozniac fought to retain them, but by 1984, Apple was selling lots of machines without slots, including the Apple IIc and the Macintosh. They supplied easier to use ports instead, so users didn’t have to buy a serial expansion card just to plug in their printer.

Jobs killed the 5.25“ floppy drive by introducing the 3.5” floppy on the Macintosh, then killed it off too in the 1998 iMac, telling users to burn CDs or use the network. The iMac also killed off a variety of old legacy ports to capitalize on the premise of Intel’s USB.

In software, Jobs killed off the command-line with the Macintosh only to return to it with NeXTSTEP, but its rich graphic desktop meant users only went there when they wanted to, not when their graphical shell abandoned them in the dark wilderness of DOS at inopportune times. Jobs didn’t kill the CLI, he kill its necessity for all users.

Read Jobs’ more personal musings from the early 80s through the 90s and into the last decade, and you get the clear impression that Jobs understands death as a creative force better than most people. For society, culture, and technology to progress, old thinking has to die off to make way for fresh new ideas. People who don’t die are dragged kicking and screaming in the future the way Strom Thurmond panted into the last decade with segregation still ripe on his breath.

Jobs has uniquely, and remarkably, kept pace with radical changes in technology to maintain a position on the progressive front fringe of tech like no other figure in history. Nobody else has been around for nearly 40 years of progress, continuously leading major companies that define how the world works, and with a finger in everything from the enterprise to education to consumer markets.

A reason to kill

When something works, you don’t need to kill it. But in some cases you should, as Jobs proved time and time again over his career. The iPod Mini was wildly popular, but Apple cut it down at its apex to introduce the Flash RAM iPod nano, which was even smaller and more durable.

Apple could also have mostly sacrificed its iPod business in order to gain the larger and much more lucrative iPhone, but it didn’t do that. Instead, it killed the old idea of what the iPod was: a big hard drive wrapped in a layer of simple user interface for choosing songs from a list.

In its place, it created the iPod touch, which carried on the torch of the iPod brand while slowly phasing out the old identity of the iPod. This is fantastically difficult to do. One only needs to look at companies like Palm and Nokia and Microsoft and Sony to see how much easier it is for even large groups of smart people to take a successful product and let it either die on the vine or fail midway through attempts to revitalize it.

Apple, with Jobs at the helm, has so expertly pulled off massive coups over and over that everyone in the media has been lulled into thinking that this sort of thing is simple stuff that you just plan out and then do by throwing money around, apparently unaware that Sony and Microsoft and Palm and everyone else has had lots of time and money to do what Apple has done over the last decade. They just don’t know how to do it.

The iPad prepares for a killing spree

Apple isn’t about to destroy its MacBook business, which has been expanding dramatically over the last half decade. And it didn’t introduce the iPad to kill off the iPhone or iPod touch. Successfully creating something new without sacrifice is all that much harder to do. It will require Apple to kill off interest in rival things of its competitor’s in order to allow the iPad to inhale the attention spans of consumers that those devices were once consuming.

TV killed off the radio. The CD killed off the audio cassette. DVDs killed off VCRs. The Internet has helped to kill off a variety of things that used to make sense before it, from travel agents to directory assistance operators (if you don’t think those things are dead, you probably are getting fairly old). And so it is that the iPad will kill a lot of stuff.

DVDs. Steve Jobs’ hobby of Apple TV set up a market for immediate movie rentals and purchases via iTunes. That’s still there, but the iPad now delivers the same functionality with wireless mobility, in addition to the value of everything else it does (and unlike the fixed, limited features of ATV). Additionally, iPad also supports services like Hulu and Netflix, which will appeal to a wide audience of users who already use those services. Why do we own DVD’s again? Dead.

eReaders. Oh the Kindle, we hardly knew ye. And the Sony Reader and the B&N Nook. Your e-ink screens pleased pundits and the cat ladies who sit around reading novel after novel, but it was a remarkably limited technology. The rest of your hardware and software was pretty marginal, so it’s hard to weep. Dead.

Stacks of papers in office meetings. Xerox dutifully churns through forests of trees to create documents that will only ever be glanced at once, if that. Greenpeace doesn’t care, because making a stink won’t help it get donations. All the group can be bothered to announce is that the iPad might access servers that sit on the predominantly coal-fired US electrical grid. Stupid jerks. Anyways, every company that is somebody will be passing around iPads loaded with digital documents. Companies are already ordering fleets of iPads, for the same reason their executives sport MacBook Pros: they say “we’re creative and use high quality stuff.” Reams of papers: you’re dead.

Textbooks. Kindle suggested some hope that kids wouldn’t need to be busting their little necks with backpacks full of massive paper volumes of static learning content. But Kindle’s e-ink technology isn’t any good at random page browsing or quickly jumping back and forth between sections. It’s also painful to mark up with annotations. The iPad has none of those problems, and adds all manner of new interactivity and video features, making it a good decade for trees. Short term, thick tomes of rapidly changing educational content: you’re dead.

Netbooks. Oh Dan, you’re so controversial. Netbooks are an amazingly cheap way to get low powered, junky hardware that can even run Linux if anyone cared to. You can type into a word processor, play moron-level Flash weblet games, and even surf the web. Yeah but you can’t enjoy the experience. Netbooks, you’ll only live on in that you’ve already killed of the desktop PC, but your wildly hyped premise? It’s dead.

PSP, DS. Oh no, now you’re just being mean. Think of the children. No, let the children think for themselves. Who wants to shell out $30-50 for a dopey game title when you can download cool $1-5 games to your iPod touch on a regular basis or get rich, major games from big publishers for $6-12 on the iPad? They’re beautiful, wildly interactive, and are going to slay Nintendo and Sony in the portable gaming market. Nintendo’s boss says he doesn’t get the iPad. That’s executive speak for “I’m going down with the ship.” The correct answer was: “We’re creating iPad titles based on our beloved franchises as fast as we can.” Ya’ll are dead.

Brochures. You walk into a Mercedes dealership or begin talking to a real estate agent about that multi-million dollar property and they used to hand you a glossy printed brochure. Screw that. Now you’re going to be handed a digitally interactive version of the product on an iPad you can peruse as the sales expert tugs at your heart strings. They send you a link to look at at home, too. Sold. Glossy print? Dead.

Single-purpose industrial gadgets. Custom developed information systems that cost the government millions to develop in small scale batches. Inventory systems that use some clunky old version of the Windows Mobile platform Microsoft itself just marked for death in its effort to clone the iPhone of 2008 in WP7 next year. Proprietary medical management and note-taking systems, sometimes based on (ugh it stinks) Tablet PC. Category, you could have been a short list unto yourself, but it doesn’t matter because you’re all dead.

Other tablet-ish stuff. Yes, I already mentioned Tablet PC, but this catch-all bucket of death is about the consumer market. This stuff historically kills itself: Palm’s whatever, Nokia Tablets, CrunchPad, UMPC, Slate PC. Along with the death of all this stuff comes the death of Microsoft’s ability to decree what devices are called. It doesn’t make anything anyone wants to buy, so why is it defining all the ridiculous category names? HHPC, UMPC, PMP, really? Microsoft, your leadership in consumer electronics is just like your products and those of Palm and the rest of them: dead.

The credibility of haters. People who earn their livelihood by saying stupid things about Apple, either because they’re shills for a rival firm or because they generate more web traffic staying stupid things about Apple than saying stupid things about another company people care less about, are going to find it remarkably difficult to prattle off more of the same garbage they’ve trotted out repeatedly about the iPhone, the iPod touch, and the iPad. John Dvorak, Daniel Lyons, Paul Thurrott, etc, ad nauseum aren’t going to be able to be taken seriously at Apple’s next launch. But those people aren’t being taken seriously now; the real change will be that fraud marketing and public relations groups who prepare “data” showing how uninterested developers report themselves being in Apple’s next platform, or how terribly worried customers are about not having Flash, or whatever other synthetic results the fact-factory was paid to deliver are simply increasingly and obviously going to be seen as an ineffectual waste of marketing resources. Dead.

Flash and Silverlight and JavaFX. What if Apple created a significant new category of computing devices and connected it to its installed base of 70 million mobile devices, and none of it ran Flash nor Silverlight nor JavaFX? Why would anyone bother to learn that stuff? To deprive Android of having any native apps? To keep performance from rocketing out of control? To expand the required development efforts and QA by orders of magnitude, with no commercial payoff? Dead.

Office. Wait, how does the iPad kill Office? Well, much as the revitalized Mac OS X first proved that, even post-2000, it was possible to create and maintain a software platform mostly independent from Microsoft, and as iPhone established that Apple could successfully introduce a major new platform not based on Windows and Intel chips and turn it into a an important force in mobile software, the iPad is now merging those realities toward Office in a threatening way. Microsoft struggled to launch Vista and it failed to keep WiMo going, but it still seems to be full steam ahead for its Office monopoly. But no, there’s no hint of a multitouch version of Office similar to Apple’s new $10 iWork apps. Apple has beat Microsoft to market again, before its rival even realized it was in trouble of losing anything. Microsoft’s comical Pocket and Mobile versions of Office are embarrassing, and the company hasn’t demonstrated any ability to copy the iPhone or the iPod touch successfully, so what hope is there for a Microsoft tablet or a mobile-savvy port of its currently very PC-centric Office suite? Microsoft doesn’t even have any financial motivation to port Office to the iPad, given the$10 per app threshold Apple set. Dead.

Windows Media Center, set top boxes, Tivo. Microsoft kept flogging the idea of having a command center for recorded TV sitting on your family PC that you can push to your Xbox 360 to watch on your TV. Uptake has been weak enough to keep it free bundleware. But who’d want that when they’re already using iTunes, have iPods and iPhones, and can watch live streaming content or their own library of stuff or movies or episodic TV they can buy on demand, from anywhere? Sony’s trying to push the PS3 as a hub for content, and Tivo has been hemorrhaging cash trying to maintain enough subscribers in competition with the cable company’s own boxes. Apple’s the only company with the mobile part figured out, with an anywhere download store, and brilliant ease of use. There’s a lot of living room stuff that’s ending up… dead.

Idle moments. Remember when you used to sit in the park, lost in your lover’s eyes? Now you’re both busy checking messages on your iPhone. Just wait until you get an iPad and you can lock the screen so it won’t flip annoyingly as you try to lie in bed, half awake reading the latest headlines. Now you’ll have a fixed, big screen display giving you bleary-eyed access to all the information that used to stay attached to your desktop computer. The times you spent doing nothing are all now dead.

Chrome OS. Oh noes! Yes, if you thought Google had another year to complete its tablet strategy, you were wrong. By the time the first beta of its HTML-with-Flash only platform ships, the iPad will have a strong installed base and there’ll have been months of iPad adoration in play. How does a simplistic yet expensive web-tablet compare with a sophisticated iPad platform with real media playback (even Android’s fake iPod module is atrocious), real games (not just Farmville), and a vast collection of native software that nobody will have any financial motivation to port to generic ad-supported web pages or Flash apps just to address the slim potential for Google to sell tablets better than it’s been selling smartphones? It’s not here yet, but its going to arrive… dead.

Android. Oh dear, now you’re really going out on a limb. Sure, Android will stick around just like Creative still makes MP3 players and just like AOL is still a going concern, but it will increasingly fail to matter because nothing is holding it up. Apple has three anchors for the iPhone OS, each holding down very different markets and audiences: the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. They’re suspending the platform like a big tent in the App Store. Android has one trick, and its a mess. The phone hardware wasn’t designed right, the OS has architectural problems, and the app model presents major security issues. All customers care about is what it can do. But Android can’t play sophisticated games, nor is anyone buying enough apps to turn that situation around. Further, Google’s tablet strategy is splintered on Chrome OS. Secretly, that’s because Google doesn’t believe in the future of the Android platform, at least not in its current incarnation as a modified Java VM. The company hopes to migrate its users to HTML apps across the board, so it doesn’t even care that Android Market is losing the battle against the Cocoa Touch App Store. That’s a few reasons why its soon going to be… dead.

Prospects for Windows Phone 7. In 2006, Microsoft unveiled the Zune, thinking it has soundly beat Apple’s 2005 iPod in a number of areas. Then just months later, Apple dropped the iPhone. This time around, Microsoft is striving to achieve a measure of parity with 2008’s iPhone 2.0. The problem this time is that Apple has iPhone 4.0, the fourth generation iPhone and iPod touch, and iPad. How is WP7 going to look relevant or interesting? Dead.

In-flight entertainment systems. Remember the luxury that seat back video screens used to suggest? These days, the early ones look archaic; smaller than an iPod touch. Even the more modern ones are clumsy and look terrible and limit your viewing angles and are likely to not work right. If it does happen to be working, the interface is ridiculous, the buttons barely function, and the content plays at weird times or demands that you pay stupidly high fees just to watch a movie. The iPad is perfect for using in the confines of a plane. It doesn’t need the space of a laptop and works a lot longer. It has a much larger display than a netbook, and its more fun to watch than a iPod or iPhone. Why fool around with some generic junk that may or may not be installed or working when you can ignore that and just relax? Seat backs: dead.

Google’s ad monopoly. With all the revenues it collects from its monopoly, it throws around money on acquisitions and often failed projects. No, not Microsoft in the PC world, it’s Google on the web. Google seems to have earned its position, but the reality is that Google got its lock on the market even more heinously than Microsoft. The company owes its entire existence to stealing the core business of Overture, something that’s no secret but also rarely mentioned these days. After Yahoo acquired Overture, Google paid Yahoo millions in stock to settle the matter, which not only kept Yahoo around as an inconsequential figurehead in search, but also allowed its incompetent management the largess to squander Overture until its talent all ran off to Google and Microsoft. Also like Microsoft, Google ripped off its former partner Apple in hopes of stealing what Apple had invented. But this time around, Apple is playing offensively by moving into the ad market itself. It plans to launch its own ad network and integrate it right into the Cocoa Touch tools, making it that much harder for Google to sell mobile ads (which are currently pretty dysfunctional anyway), the whole reason it got started with Android. If Google is just stuck servicing Android, a group of freetards who refuse to pay for things, who will want to advertise there? Dead.

  • Per

    It’ll be interesting to see if anyone pulls the old “Hey I can get a Dell for half the price of [insert Apple product name] with better specs.”

  • iax

    DVD dead? Getting DVD quality content from iTunes is many many years away. CD aren’t dead either, after all vinyl isn’t dead-thanks God. Of course, not many people cares about HiFi audio or video.

    Staying in the same tune, building a meaningful digital collection with no analog back-up means you’ll be left empty-handed some day soon. How dumb would one feel when all his kid’s early childhood pictures are lost forever? Buy your favourite DVDs (or even better, Blue Ray DVDs) and CD audio albums and print the best of your photos (i n a d d i t i o n to usual digital back-ups).

  • jomi

    @Per: Well… would be nice to see them do an iPad clone for $249… :D
    But of course, all other companies have to pay much more for flash memory than Apple because Apple buys such vast quantities.

  • http://www.greennotes.com.sg jaypres

    Oh, you forgot to mention that iPad kills Flash once and for all. iPhone and iPod Touch just shake its foundation. iPad nails the coffin.

  • pixelkisser

    Fair enough, but TV did not kill off the radio. That was a stupid thing to say.

  • SamLowry

    point 20: harddisks.
    The costs of Flash memory is driven down so dramatically by iPhone, iPod and now, even more so by iPad, that sooner or later, all Macbooks will have SSDs as standard configuration. PCs will follow.

  • rufustfirefly

    Thanks for the reminder regarding Strom Thurmond. Of course, he was no Robert Byrd, former Minority Leader of the Democrat Party in the Senate, who was a Grand Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan. All forgotten now by 50% of the country. Or the fact that the Democrat Party provided the bulk of the opposition to Civil Rights including of course, its defense of Slavery, where the Republican Party was the party fighting for abolition. The cultural DNA still exists, where the current Democrat Party operates the plantations called the “inner cities” where minorities are “kept” uneducated, living in crime, and trained to expect nothing more than “government handouts” as the best that they can achieve. All efforts of the Democrats are to keep the Plantation operating, delivering the majority of its votes to the machine, while freedom is never delivered. The new evolution of Strom Thurmond – the Democrat Party and the permanent welfare state plantation. Get in line for your “gubmint cheese” – we will take care of you (yeah right)

    [I am tempted, for the first time, to simply strike the majority of your comment for being not just irrelevant, but completely ignorant. I didn’t mention Thrumond’s political affiliation, but you don’t seem to understand what it was. Yes, there are plenty of old Democrats from an era so long ago that their views are shockingly archaic in terms of progressive values, but the simplistic “D vs R” charade you attempt to set up is flat wrong.

    Your characterization of Civil Rights as being something Republicans pushed for with Democratic opposition is, itself, a wrongheaded idea. The fact that Lincoln freed slaves in the middle of the 1800s has no relevance to our decade, because the parties have repeatedly changed to the point of being unrecognizable.

    In fact, Strom Thurmond was originally, like the majority of the South before 1964, Democratic (and you should know this). But he changed to the Republican party after the South did too in the mid to late 60’s, largely in response to racist whites’ hatred for Civil Rights legislation passed by JFK and LBJ.

    It was Republican president Eisenhower who sponsored the landmark 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts, which was met by “Democratic footdragging.” Thurmond supported racial segregation with the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single senator in the Civil Rights Act of 1957, despite the law being rather weak. By 1960, 18 Southern Democrats were filibustering the bill.

    But JFK’s Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which actually made racial discrimination and segregation illegal), was signed by an LBJ fully aware that it would cause the Democratic Party to lose its political power in the South.

    Sure enough, Thurmond became a Republican in 1964, and helped Nixon win the South for a Republican president in 1968 (the first time since Reconstruction), all using the “Southern Strategy” that aligned white supremacist’s hatred as a political force to serve the needs of big business. That remains today, as the South continues to be predominantly Red.

    “States Rights” is a Southern Republican euphemism for outrage over the Federal Government prohibiting their cherished slavery and apartheid. But that’s slowly changing as old people there moderate slightly and die off. – Dan ]

  • DesperateDan

    Fair enough, but TV did not kill off the radio. That was a stupid thing to say.
    No it wasn’t. Before TV arrived, evening entertainment consisted of entire families gathering around the radio to listen to popular shows. When was the last time your family did that?

  • http://schmiddi.us/randomthoughts/ schmiddi

    i think the one thing the ipad might resurrect is the desktop … why? well you won’t really need a laptop anymore, but you still might need a powerful, larger screen device for writing, photo and video editing. getting an ipad + an iMac will cost as much as getting a macbook pro but ultimately you will have more computing power with the combination of the ipad and iMac. plus access to a larger screen …

  • fring

    That’s a hefty dose of schadenfreude Dan and my Kenyan AA tasted all the better for it.
    Sorry, but can’t agree about radio, at least here in the UK where the good old Beeb flies the flag excellence on a daily basis and Jazz FM powers my sanity filter.
    @SamLowry… agreed, HDs will be dead when Apple’s data centre is up and running.

  • rufustfirefly

    Our family gathers around the radio every weeknight. All that is on TV is mindless garbage. On the radio we get to hear Mark Levin, author of Liberty and Tyranny. Funny, smart, entertaining. It’s great. Popcorn and Mark Levin – maybe a cheeseburger. Our TV is much closer to dying that our radio. We have updated the radio with internet access – which eliminates static. We tune in via the computer. And we don’t have to watch the mindless drivel put out by the networks and Hollywood that pretends to be entertainment. Maybe if Steve Jobs would reinvent Hollywood this would change – but for now, as John Prine said, “Blow Up Your TV” – not your radio. How would you then get Mark Levin, The Great One?

  • broadbean

    So you wrote the cloning piece instead of this one for April Fool’s Day? Nah, better kill off a whole bunch of stuff on Easter Friday… Can’t wait for your Easter Monday Miracle Edition. ;)

  • ChuckO

    @rufustfirefly 6, except now all those old prejudiced, southern Dems are the core of the GOP.

  • ChuckO

    Apple is the light in the fog of hopelessness that is American business at this point. They are one of the few remaining companies that do it the old fashioned way. Think of great products you’d want for yourself and build them. They also have avoided the fate of many of our other once great and COOL businesses (Levi’s, the car companies) that lost their souls in a race to the bottom and making products that suck.

  • rufustfirefly


    Wrong. Robert Byrd is still in the Senate, accepted despite his Ku Klux Klan past. Obama just killed a Wash DC inner city school voucher program that offered the benefits of private schools to poor urban DC children. Democrats like the “private” option for their kids, but prefer to send the plantation children to Government schools, where the lessons are simple, like the Democrat view of the needs of inner city children. Sixty years of being run by the NEA and Democrat policy, refusal to even consider private competition and vouchers, and the Democrats keep the people on the plantation, with their annointed jail keepers, those leading lights of intellectual freedom, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Lewis Farrahkan.

    Democrats have all the history opposing black freedom, they don’t tolerate any diversity of black thought. And they don’t tolerate true challenging education being offered to inner city blacks – the kind of education the Democrats insist on for their own kids.

  • iLogic

    Apple is adding an incredible amount of value to its ecosystem that it is staggering to the competition. Meanwhile new users are flocking to the new platform making it harder for competitors to sustain a successful plan of attack, especially one modeled directly after Apple. I do believe Apple has an opportunity with the iPad that goes beyond just the App Store and media centric developments. Namely the selling of more Macs. The iPad still needs a computer to synchronize to iTunes and that’s exactly why Apple should get more competitive on hardware pricing. So that people who get iPads don’t go out and buy more PCs. This time around the iPad is not just for Mac users, and with an increased interest in switchers, the price of the Macintosh needs more tuning. Dan, this will be huge.

  • http://themacadvocate.com TheMacAdvocate

    Google also loses in the short term by having a device that is single-window focused like the iPad gain mass appeal. As I think you pointed out in another article, people tend not to click through ads on their iPhone. The same should apply to the iPad.

  • gplawhorn

    “Kill” is a little strong. Even netbooks (may they all crash and burn!) won’t be “killed” by the iPad, if for no other reason than Apple-hate. Apple needs its competition, otherwise it wouldn’t be Apple. Yes, Microsoft *copies* Apple. But Apple then purposefully distances itself well ahead of Microsoft, which works to our (the users’) advantage.

  • notte

    Intresting article, like your perspective, philosophic. “He not busy being born is busy dying”; Bob Dylan.

  • FreeRange

    @rufustfirefly – Dude, get a life. And get an education while you’re at it, or is your head too far up your rectum! In case you hadn’t noticed, our Democrat president is black. Duh!!!!!

  • rufustfirefly

    Free Range – yep he is black (1/2). And he personally killed the Wash DC school voucher program because the Democrats are owned the NEA teachers union – which promotes job security and destroying competition versus the well being of the inner city children. And the black president, and the Democrats, who operate on the belief that private industry is bad and therefore needs to be regulated and or taken over, have inflicted huge increases in unemployment . He promised 8% unemployment based on passing his trillion dollar stimulus package. Unemployement has is 25% higher than that now. This unemployment hurts the poor the most. So, it is possible for a black president to preside over destruction of the American dream for Blacks. Obama is doing that. Check out Detroit and Cleveland – run by Democrats for decades. That will be the US. Car jacking is the major industry left in Detroit. So, Free Range – get your head out of the droid mode and begin to use some critical thinking. High taxes, enormous regulation, government run monopoly schools, government mandated purchase decisions, the state seizure of the student loan industry, the state seizure of 2/3 of the American auto industry, the demonization of the Financial, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, Energy, Insurance and other industries – these are stupid, destructive, and purely Democrat initiatives. And they hurt Black people, White people, OSX people, Microsoft people.

    [Kent you need critical thinking skills and less adoration of extremist right wing talking points.

    It was Bush who destroyed he economy, and who bailed out banks who created the mess due to deregulation. It was Bush who left the US deeply in debt by refunding $1.4 TRILLION to taxes to the richest of the rich while doing nothing for the middle class for 8 years. It was Bush who started the illegal occupation of Iraq at the cost of $4 TRILLION.

    And thanks for the laugh, it’s simply comical when old republicans try to speak of blacks and the poor as people they care about. Republicans have done nothing but obstruct progress like the ghost of Strom Thurmond and taunt the president with racist memes.

    Republicans are bankrupt on ideas. All they have is ignorant gibber-jabber leveraging race and religion and hate to manipulate people to vote for the interests of large, government subsidized corporations. It is no longer a legitimate political party. Which is bad, because the US needs at least two parties that function. – Dan ]

  • jkundert

    Love the title, Daniel. That alone gave me a big smile to start the morning!

  • Aframe

    The iPad will kill the desktop PC. It will also kill office desks. You will still need a chair.

    If all of your email is on your iPad, if all of your resources – notes, calendars, addresses – are on your iPad and you have iWork apps, why bother going to a desk or a desktop PC?

    Remember that one of the main points of the Xerox Parc, Macintosh and later Windows OS was that with a mouse, you could move a pointer on a screen, “almost as if you were pointing at it with your finger”. Now the iPad has removed that final caveat. Not WYSIWYG, (what you see is what you get) but “what you point at is what you select”.

    As iPad apps develop, new ways will be found to make that human interface even more direct, and desktops, keyboards and mice will all eventually seem like unnecessary obstacles to getting your work done.

    BTW, what happened to all those “why the iPad will FAIL” articles?

  • ChuckO

    Don’t feed the troll! ie rufustfirefly. He’s just here to hijack the sight with his ideological BS.

  • martimus

    @rufustfirefly, Never argue with a pig, they are shorter and less intelligent than you, and they will drag you down to their level, wallering you around in the mud. Pigs love the mud, but you just get dirty. History is not the strong suit of the “Me, Now, Everything You’ve Got” pigs.

  • rufustfirefly

    Daniel left the Easter Egg – the cheap shot at Strom Thurmond. Had to respond.

  • BrianSt

    Great article Dan. I agree with most of your dead products walking. A few misses though.

    Brochures – these are still valuable for distributing to people you will never see. My very 21 century wired and virtual non-profit is now producing brochures to leave in targeted high-traffic areas (Apple Store strategy) to capture the interest of people we would never have the manpower to greet, loan an iPad to, and sell to.

    Word – I think you meant the Office monopoly. Just like Google and the netbook, Word et al. will always be with us but people that never imagined being without Office will start using iWork and realize that Office is not necessary. That is if iWork is up to the task.

    Android – I don’t see how Android will fail as long as a large % of the manufactures and operators need SOMETHING to feed to smartphone consumers. Windows has imploded, Palm is running out of cash, Nokia is lost, Android fills that big whole. If Apple executes perfectly and RIM buys and pushes WebOS as their next generation I could see Android plateauing but Moto, HTC, and others need to sell something to Verizon. It is a product that is succeeding by default, not because of inherent qualities, but as long as the need is there if will keep growing. The Android app store could be a big fail however, if every new Android model continues to be incompatible with the last.

  • BrianSt

    @rufusdryfly and friends
    We tried the laissez-faire “magical market” approach before. It got us 1929-1932, and then the 2008 meltdown when we tried it again. Ultimate fail. Markets exist BECAUSE of regulation. Ever read about US stock market before the SEC? If you want to prove libertarianism correct, Somalia awaits your investment money.

    90%+ of black Americans vote Democratic (there is no “Democrat party”). Are you saying A) They are too stupid/ignorant to know what is good for them, or B) They actively want to be on a “plantation”?

    Your comments only leave those to interpretations. Btw, I like in a city, Oakland, with lots of poor people and crime and I am not moving back to the suburb where I grew up because the public school my daughter will attend next year is far better than the suburban schools. It is not even in the top ten “popular” public schools in the city either. So much for your horrible “big city” nightmares; they don’t match 21st century American reality.

  • http://www.ge-om-e-try.com normdwyer

    I submit two other product categories it will kill off; in-car entertainment systems and all those crappy hardware based kid’s education systems from Leap Frog to Vtech, etc.

  • http://www.austinsteele.blogspot.com bOMBfACTORY

    Great article Dan. My hope for the iPad is that by being so useful and so user friendly, it might get people who seem to automatically buy PCs (yeah I’m looking at you, mom and dad) to stop the self-torture they’ve been inflicting on themselves by blindly going with MS-based computers (which seem to fail and need replacement every two years or so) and finally consider buying an Apple product.

    Oh, and rufustfirefly, thank you. Now move along.

  • John E

    boy, this may the #1 all-time RDM rant! but Fun!!

    first thing i did was check the date at the top to see if it was still April 1.

    love crazy over the top stuff like this. and it’s probably about half right, too!

    really hope i remember to comet back to it 4/2/11 and see how many of its predictions are actually showing up as major trends by then.

  • rvaillan

    Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer–
    Otter: Dead!

  • Maniac

    Great article, Daniel. iPad is the next generation of personal computing, and it’s arriving 26 years after Apple introduced the previous generation.

  • addicted44


    “Markets exist BECAUSE of regulation”

    That is the greatest piece of insight I have heard in a very long time (I am not being sarcastic). That simple statement also completely undermines the current free-market ideas (which are nothing but a parody of what Adam Smith proposed) that are floating around in some of the more powerful circles of government, unfortunately.

    What a lot of these free-market extremists fail to recognize is that a market is not a fundamental state of nature, and exists only because governing bodies create, and enforce rules and regulations that allow the markets to exist. Ever heard of cavemen setting up shop?

  • addicted44

    As far as the iPad is concerned, I agree it is the next generation of computing. It is the moment when computing goes from being the domain of technologically savvy people to the domain of the everyman.

    I think Gruber makes the best analogy, with cars (of course…) wherein, cars used to be something people tinkered with, and changed parts in, etc. However, cars have gone well beyond that and I cant remember the last time anyone I know not still in college, looked inside the hoods of their cars.

    Initially I really didn’t like the iPad, because this insight (that the computer now needs to be designed with the premise that it is mainstream, as opposed to the idea that it is to be used by tech-savvy people) has taken some time coming.

    Gotta give credit to the folks at Apple who saw this coming way before the rest of us.

  • addicted44

    @John E.

    Agreed. I really doubt half of this will be true a few years from now, but the fact is that no one prediction is particularly outlandish. Every one of those have a decent chance of being true.


    I wish you would do an article examining how the pro-standards, pro-open source, Linux fetishists, have gone completely off their rockers criticizing Apple’s exclusion of Flash and support of the open HTML5 (and others, like CSS and SVG) format.

  • NickBob

    First rate piece. Quibble about radio, dead as leading actor, but lives on as co-starring charactor actor. Would also add that readers who have never watched Jobs graduation day address at Stanford should take the time, he speaks of the great thing that death is, making room for the new in life. It’s much more than that as well, highly rccdmd.

    And fake Rufus T, you mention you “had to respond” to DDE’s ‘easter egg’, yet I noted no such response concerning Democratic Party splitter Thurmond (in 1948, as a fucking Dixiecrat against Truman), defending the indefensible too hard for you? Jackass. Oh, and Byrd has long since renounced his membership in and the ideals of the KKK, has worked against their program in Congress and has promoted racial equality for decades now. You wingnuts can forgive and forget ‘errors of youth’ for your own philandering family values types who do not practice for themselves what they preach for others, but somehow when a Democrat works against the errors of his youth that never counts. Groucho Marx would strike you hard for abusing his charactor’s name, Jackass.

  • myatthwin62


    May I remind you of some Democrats who jumped ship. “When the going gets tough, the toughs get going.”

    Reagan, Sessions (?) of Alabama, Spectre (?) of Pennsylvania, etc. Evidently, ‘a leopard CAN change its spots’.

  • myatthwin62

    One of the comments, by iax, makes a lot of sense to me. Plus, the paragraph on office folks passing iPads around instead of paper; well, that’s not going to happen. For one thing, at $500 a crack, the iPad may grow legs and disappear quicker than you can say, “it’s expensive.” Maybe at the real estate office selling multi-million-dollar homes or at dealership selling $100,000 Mercedes Benz M Class (or top of the line of affordable S Class) or BMW 750i’s, they can afford to ‘give away’ or ‘loan’ iPads to serious, serious, serious buyers.

    Even at hospitals ($5,000 a day’s stay) they may not be able to afford iPads among the doctors (and nurses) taking in patients’ bio on their rounds. The iPad might run off at quitting time with the ‘lower-paid’ employees, of course. ;-)

    Good article though, not all it said is going to happen. DVD, my current storage media, has not alternative. I rather have my files on stable media under my roof rather than on a remote server or ‘cloud’ storage. Besides, I’m a cheapskate and DVD blanks are like, 15 cents for 4.38 gigs – can’t beat that.

  • myatthwin62

    Speaking of Thurmond (excuse me for talking politics on this hi-tech forum but I didn’t start it), he was a Democrat before jumping ship. And he was a segregationist from the Deep South (South Carolina) but get this; he had an illegitimate daughter by a black woman. Talk about hypocrisy!

  • worker201

    Seems like a lot of readers are taking the kill/dead metaphor a bit too seriously. I think it’s a great way to think about things, simply because it is so flexible. Radio is dead, and VHS is dead, but they aren’t the same kind of dead. So there’s no reason to think that Android and DVD and brochures will end up in the same place that BetaMax did. I found this article amusing and informative, thanks to a well-played trope.

  • iLogic


    You might be right about the iPad in the short term but not the long term. There is no doubt (in my mind at least)that the iPad / tablets will penetrate new sectors and change systems for the next several decades.

  • Orenge


    iTunes video didn’t match DVD at first—years ago—but it has offered quality better than DVD for a very long time now. Your information is out of date. (And my digital photos will survive my house burning down thanks to remote backups. My printouts will not.)

  • Extensor

    I think Dan means dead as in marginalized to the point that they might as well be dead. (For those pro radio comments).

    But the real question is…. will it kill off the Amiga and AtariST?

  • MWHebert


    While families didn’t gather around the radio when TV arrived, it did continually expand it’s audience for 80 years (from 1920s) until the time the iPod came out. THAT killed radio as it’s advertising share and it’s audience has shrunk. What TV did kill, temporarily, was Movies. Well, until the 1970s, with Frances Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg made people come back.

    I did need the wake-up as I have (as a 50’s something) been in print design for too long! Good thing I’ve been learning CSS and blog design! But not everything from the past is bad and not everything in the present needs to be killed off and replaced with something new. Just look at our food supply in the US. 50 years ago it was better. Right when TV came in …

    Anyway I love your commentaries and keep them comin’.

  • http://ObamaPacman.com ObamaPacman

    Wow Dan, bravo. That’s pretty entertaining.

    Kill! Kill faster!!!

  • mihomeagent

    I keep waiting for a lefty like Dan to specify what Bush deregulated in banking. He didn’t. They always point out bills that Clinton signed. And ironically, THOSE bills didn’t destroy the economy. Nor did Bush’s actions. Bills that did, and executive orders that did, sprung from Democratic presidents—Clinton and Carter.

    [That’s a lie, but if it were true, why didn’t Bush do anything in 8 years to fix “problems” that were created in the 70s before Reagan? Bush didn’t even show up to work most of the time, and the Texans I met in Austin last month were pretty clear on the fact that Bush wasn’t remotely qualified to do any sort of job. He was just a good looking, charismatic moron who presided over a state very rich on old wealth and with no difficult decisions to make. Which is why the GOP found his clone in Alaska to replace him: the kind of ineffectual boob that simple, uneducated fools can rally around.- Dan]

    I wonder what tax rebate to the rich Dan is talking about. Bush didn’t do one. He did cut taxes—for everyone. I know it’s a favorite Dem talking point (Obama uses it all the time) to say that Bush cut taxes for the rich. He didn’t cut taxes for the rich—he cut taxes for everyone. The economy grew.

    [But the economy didn’t grow enough to make up for that $1.4 Trillion bailout for the ultra rich. In fact, compared to Clinton (when no housing bubble occurred, despite a legacy of, as you say, so much existing Carter Policy), there was no real prosperity under Bush at all. Bush failed.

    But Bush did spend money dramatically, siphoning off funds to his will connected, ultra rich friends while America fell apart under his watch, from the Army to its internal infrastructure to FEMA to its international reputation. Good job, loser party. Bang up job with the conservative spending, limited government rhetoric. It’s all lies.]

    I wonder where the Southern Democrats found consolation. The Southern Strategy myth just doesn’t wash. The Republican Party never gave segregationists or racists anything they might have wanted—no anti-civil rights stands, no persecution of blacks or Catholics, no suppression of civil rights. The filibusters against civil rights have come from the Democrats, and the Republican Party overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act (also opposed by a large number of Democrats).

    [If you think the “Southern Strategy” is a myth, then you’re either a liar or a moron, and I have no interest in arguing with either. Those racist democrats are now republicans, which is why the South is red. Hint: it’s not the label that matters, it’s who you are and what you do.

    And today, the republicans are at the forefront of racism and intolerance of all minorities, whipping up religious fanaticism and inciting violence instead of democratic debate. Disgusting.]

    You’re a font of far-left-wing talking points when you go to politics, Dan. The tech analysis is good. The politics–you’re the kind of extremist and cliche and talking-point parrot you always accuse Republican commenters of being.

    [There is a difference between facts (such as citing events that actually happened) and the false “talking points” of the new republican party, which are all misinformation and lies. Things like suggesting that America can win foreign oil independence by domestic drilling. That’s a lie, but they like to say “drill drill drill” because it’s easier than thinking and considering facts.

    I don’t get the things I say from some talk show personality or books on hating Republicans. Nothing in your entire comment is anything but bullshit you’re repeating from Fox. Shame on you, you’re on the wrong side of history, just like the angry American mobs who fought for racism and segregation barely 40 years ago, and tried to make out JFK as a communist. – Dan]

  • NickBob

    you have a few points. Those deregulatory bills that Clinton DID sign were passed by a Republican Congress (division of powers and all) but Big Money has friends in the Democratic Party, up to and including the Obama White House and the current Congress. The regs that were undone were erected while Big Money howled by FDR and a progressive economic Congress, mostly Democrats, in the 30’s, the current Democratic Party base still favors the New Deal even if someof our reps only provide lip service.
    Which brings me to your other point- it’s true that the Southern Republican crossover hasn’t reversed the de jure movement to racial equality nationally, but they’ve made sure the brakes have been applied and in the meantime have thrown their legislative backing behind the social conservative agenda in all it’s myriad forms. So lip service to reversal of the still-popular Roe v Wade and Social Security privatization, and now the Affordable Healthcare Act, just as we on the left have lip service to a host of liberal items not attended to by this government. Democracy, in the words of the prior President, is hard work.

  • gctwnl

    Nice. Summing it up like this makes it strong. Only one issue with it: price. iPad + some apps is still far more epxensive than some VTech stuff for instance. Renting iPad’s to all passengers adds to the weight more than the screens in the back seat of the other passengers and is expensive. There will still be some room at the bottom, I guess.

    Btw, Dan, did you read Nixonland by Perlstein? Great book. It seems the last decent GOP US president was Eisenhower (who coined the term “military industrial complex”, i.e. the guys charging $300 for a hammer for the Pentagon) and he was succeeded by JFK who campaigned partly by scaring people about a ‘rocket gap’ with the USSR that never existed (as Eisenhower stated). Isn’t politics interesting? Tea party and Sarah Palin anyone?

  • kt

    mihomeagent: “I wonder what tax rebate to the rich Dan is talking about. Bush didn’t do one. He did cut taxes—for everyone. I know it’s a favorite Dem talking point (Obama uses it all the time) to say that Bush cut taxes for the rich. He didn’t cut taxes for the rich—he cut taxes for everyone. The economy grew.”

    Oh brother. You’ve apparently forgotten Bush’s capital gains tax reductions and his efforts to eliminate the “death tax.” Two tax reductions that overwhelmingly benefit the rich.