Daniel Eran Dilger
Random header image... Refresh for more!

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.

  • http://www.cyclelogicpress.com Neil Anderson

    “Radio is dead, and VHS is dead, but they aren’t the same kind of dead. ”

    Only mostly dead.

  • samgreen

    If radio is dead, are Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern zombies?

  • Donald

    Thanks, Dan, for a stimulating, interesting, and informative discussion. Please continue the good work.

    Meanwhile, please be careful not to join the legions of people who misuse the word “lay.” You wrote, “Just wait until you get an iPad and you can lock the screen so it won’t flip annoyingly as you try to lay in bed…” Unless you meant to say “lay your body down,” it should have been “lie.”

  • Per

    Oh politics.

  • MarkyMark

    Another group the iPad will kill off is fancy custom home-automation system control-pads.

    If it were my blog, I’d automatically delete all off-topic posts, especially involving politics or religion.

  • olambo

    It will interesting to see which of your predictions come to pass. I think you’re still being a little conservative especially on its effect on Apples traditional core business.

    NOTEBOOKS including the Macbook line. Dead. Why do I or anyone else need one of these. Most consumers just consume, the iPad is better for this. Power users may use laptops, but many hook theirs to an external screen and a box like the mac mini might be more useful as long as you have a iPad to back it up.

  • http://Lyndell.NET/wordpress/ lyndell

    $200 12″ Atom powered laptop would be brilliant, but no one is doing it right. iPad with keyboard dock will suit many technophobes better than a cheap desktop.

  • David Dennis

    I would certainly hope that Dan and that sexy comedienne girlfriend he found are still enjoying looking into each other’s eyes. There are some things gadgets just can’t do …

    @addicted44: Prisoners during World War II created markets based on swapping cigarettes. People in third world countries buy and sell stuff in completely unregulated markets ignored by governments because there just isn’t enough money in them. Even in the Soviet Union, where markets were supposedly forbidden, markets for services came up. So no, markets are not a creation of government; they evolve spontaneously if they are not otherwise provided for.


  • harrywolf

    Dan hits the tech business like a nuclear weapon and destroys a few fools with well-researched political comment along the way!

    Dan, easily the best article yet – BUT – did someone piss in your cornflakes?

    If so, I hope they continue to do so and you continue to fire up your righteous anger and tell it like it is.

    It feels like the sixties again! I LOVE it!

    (yeah, the 60’s, whatever, but at least there was a kind of beautiful, if misguided hope back then……)

    Daniel Eran Dilger for President! (just dont go to Texas, Danny boy)

  • GQB

    @David Dennis
    All kinds of systems work well spontaneously at a small scale, including (or particularly) markets.
    Its when the scale becomes large, and the influence of power and corruption distort the system that regulation becomes necessary to make the system work.
    Just because an unregulated system works fine with 10 prisoners swapping cigarettes doesn’t mean it works well for millions of people in a system where the distribution has gone to a point where a tiny minority control the vast majority of the wealth.

  • http://www.geoffrobinson.net geoffrobinson

    I would dance on Flash’s grave.

  • stefn

    Great rant, DED.

  • KenC

    Dan’s rant reminded me of the movie Network!

  • mattp

    “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.”

    You nailed it Dan. Can’t wait for your next article.


  • http://www.copperhead-design.com Mr. Reeee


    Great article! Lots of laughs and food for thought.
    Please revisit it next year when iPad 2.0 is released.

    My iPad should be delivered in few hours.
    If I manage to get any sleep, it’ll be a miracle!

    Speaking of pissing in cornflakes…
    Isn’t it about time you banned that idiot rufustfirefly?
    Why doesn’t he/she/it just go back to teabagging and leave us alone?

    Groucho Marx would horsewhip that idiot.

  • http://www.copperhead-design.com Mr. Reeee

    @stefn 7 KenC…

    That was no rant… that was INSPIRED!

  • psycroptic

    wait, kill handheld games? what the dick?

    the primary appeal for these types of devices is that they can be very easily portable. yeah, the ipad’s light & thin and what not, but folks are always gonna want a (relatively) pocket-sized way to play games methinks.

    also, i’m not that up to speed on the construction of the ipad, but both the PS and the DS seem to me to be a bit more physically durable than the ipad. idk

  • wwarby

    Oh come on. Ordinarily I enjoy the Apple cheerleading to be found at Roughly Drafted; it’s rarely even handed but it’s usually on the mark or at least close to it, but this post really is something else. The iPad may marginalise or even kill a handful of the things on this list, but:

    DVDs. Really? a 10″ handheld computer is going to kill the entrenched technology of choice for watching movies on big screen TVs? Come on. If any Apple products were going to impact on the DVD it would have been the Mac Mini or Apple TV and neither has even taken a significant bite out of that market. It’s staggeringly obvious that DVD is a format for home use on a big screen TV and iPad is a format for travelling or away-from-home viewing. There is no overlap.

    Office. Really? If iWork for iPad turns out to be anything more than a gimmick, it’ll be a niche product for very specific functions. To impact on Microsoft’s Office monopoly, large numbers of users would have to replace their desktop PCs with iPads and there is absolutely no reason to think that is going to happen (and a lot of reasons to think it won’t). The iPad will be something users have IN ADDITION TO a desktop PC and they might use iWork for iPad is certain situations were it makes more sense than using Office/iWork on a laptop. If anything is a threat to Microsoft Office, it’s OpenOffice but even that has barely loosened Microsoft’s grip on the productivity software market in business for one simple reason: The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. Office on it’s own is a rip off, but as part of an Enterprise agreement it is a compelling solution for most businesses and Apple simply is not competing in this market (yet).

    In-flight entertainment systems. Really? The airline is going to ditch their own entertainment systems on the assumption all passengers own an iPad? Or are they going to hand out iPads as you board the plane? Come on. Even if you overlook this blindingly obvious fault in your logic, you have to overcome the fact that most of the movies you see on an airplane are recent cinema releases not yet available on DVD (or iTunes) and that the in-flight entertainment system is hooked into the plane’s trip computer. Clearly some passengers will board with their iPads and use them instead of the seat-back screen but there is absolutely no reason to suspect the seat-back screens are going to disappear any time soon.

    At least half of the ideas in this post are completely baseless IMHO – blind fanboy-ism of exactly the same kind that you tear Microsoft and Google fanboys apart for doing.

  • enzos

    Why the need to kill off the old? Jobs is a Buddhist and according to Buddhism, “rebirth in subsequent existences must rather be understood as the continuation of a dynamic, ever-changing process of “dependent arising” (“pratītyasamutpāda”) determined by the laws of cause and effect (karma) rather than that of one being, transmigrating or incarnating from one existence to the next.” (Wikip). A religion fit for innovators.

    Great stuff, Dan, but what’s with the socratic second voice?


  • donarb

    Saw the Charlie Rose show last night with Walt Mossberg and David Carr. According to Mossberg, the one thing that will be “killed” is the mouse. And as others have said here, the mouse won’t disappear, just be rendered nonessential.

    I think the big thing about the iPad is that it makes the computing experience for average users much more organic. You become more involved in the experience, and the device disappears. You’re no longer concerned about the machine, but directly interacting with content.

    Which is why I cannot understand the current commercials for the Droid and Palm Pre. With the Droid, they show a robot manipulating the interface. With the Palm Pre, the interface manipulates itself with no intervention from humans at all. Apple’s commercials show the human hand, one of creation’s greatest inventions, directly commanding the user’s will.

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    I am interested to see how OS X for Macs and iPhone OSX will come closer together in the years to come. I realize that the iPhone OS is touch based which is not meant for vertical screens like we use on our Macs, but laptops already have large trackpads that could be used to navigate. Apple could develop a similar device for their desktop computers. I would like to see a program, maybe even part of iLife, that runs a virtual iPhone on your Mac. It could run as a stand alone program or control your iPhone/Touch/iPad when connected to your Mac. There are actually a lot of iPhone apps that have no true OS X equivalent that I would like to be able to use on my Mac Pro. Think of it as a Dashboard on steroids. It that does happen, that would also give all those Windows using iPhone owners another incentive to buy a Mac if that integration can give some added value to using their device. I would hope that it would make syncing far easier. iTunes was designed as a music program and has been forced into becoming bloated and something it was not designed to do.

  • donjuan


    Thank-you for the entertaining April fools, but “Idle moments” are indeed a most unfortunate victim of this device, cell phones, and all the other portable electronic fetishes that we carry about.

  • shadash


    Take a look at the votes on the 1964 Civil Rights bill. No Republican in the South (and only a few Southern Democrats) voted for the bill. This wasn’t a party issue it was a region issue. The Republicans dominate the South now because they pander to whites in the South.

    The original House version:
    * Southern Democrats: 7-87 (7%-93%)
    * Southern Republicans: 0-10 (0%-100%)

    * Northern Democrats: 145-9 (94%-6%)
    * Northern Republicans: 138-24 (85%-15%)

    The Senate version:
    * Southern Democrats: 1-20 (5%-95%) (only Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas voted in favor)
    * Southern Republicans: 0-1 (0%-100%) (this was Senator John Tower of Texas)
    * Northern Democrats: 45-1 (98%-2%) (only Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia opposed the measure)
    * Northern Republicans: 27-5 (84%-16%) (Senators Barry Goldwater of Arizona, Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, Edwin L. Mechem of New Mexico, Milward L. Simpson of Wyoming, and Norris H. Cotton of New Hampshire opposed the measure)

    A Nixon adviser named Kevin Phillips is the one that came up with the Southern Strategy.


  • epenthesis2

    Oh come on. Ordinarily I enjoy the Apple cheerleading to be found at Roughly Drafted; it’s rarely even handed but it’s usually on the mark or at least close to it, but this post really is something else

    Pretty much, yeah. A few of these things, particularly Flash, may well die off in the next few years (whether or not the iPad can be considered directly responsible), but this slaughter is simply not going to happen. Dan, I’m not sure you realize how much of your credibility you’re frittering away by never exercising some critical thinking.

    My warning bells started going off at “PSP, DS.” Yeah, iPad is certainly poised to become popular as a gaming platform. No, it’s not going to kill dedicated handheld systems until it starts getting the licenses that the major players already have. There’s a good reason there are so many active competitors in this market–there are no true substitutes. Moreover, a big chunk of the gaming audience is priced out of the iPad.

    And seriously, wtf is wrong with you people who have to discuss politics in every f*cking thread? Get lost.

  • gus2000

    I hope you’ve all figured out by now that Dan means “dead” in the sense of being irrelevant and outmoded. I can still go out and buy a saddle right now for my horse, but the auto has supplanted the horse as a means of transportation. (Yes, I actually have a horse.)

    BTW, typing this on my brand-new iPad!! The site looks great Dan!

  • Mike

    You have a horse? When can I ride it? :)

    All kidding aside, it seems like most of these predictions are already or close to becoming true. Although I have to disagree with the killing of Office part. Unless Microsoft decides to quit selling Office for the Mac, Office just won’t die and people won’t consider alternatives because it’s just too easy to keep the status quo. Especially since Office is competitively priced with iWork on the Mac. So I don’t think it’s a black and white case. Yes, Office use will hopefully erode and dwindle, but it won’t die off and become irrelevant, at least not in the near future. Maybe 10 years from now, it’s a possibility.

    And alot of these predictions actually come from what the iPhone is doing in conjunction with the iPad, since both run on the same OS, especially the ones about Chrome OS and Android. Unfortunately for Apple, Google is actually subsidizing the cost of Chrome OS and Android, making it less than free in terms of cost for the manufacturers. The only thing they might lack is a highly integrated and highly polished interface. Sure, if Apple can get its costs down to the point where it sells some of its phones free with a contract that doesn’t cost $70 a month, people might consider that over a lower priced alternative. But unfortunately for Apple, it seems like the mobile operators (particularly Verizon) don’t want to just hand over control to Apple so that they become a dump pipe selling services.

  • http://michaelraybman.wordpress.com mraybman

    I think that while a lot of your predictions may come to pass, it will take a lot longer to kill flash, paper and small notebooks (not netbooks) than the iPad’s product lifetime. As revolutionary as the iPod was, it didn’t kill everyone else in the portable music space before being slowly phased out by the iPhone.

    Plus, I think a lot of companies have learned from Apple and are bound to release solid competitors. These competing devices will need widely adopted OS’s and so Android/Chrome OS/Windows 7 will still be in demand for a while.

  • grantly

    Great article, Dan. I kinda thought you might have a good one to mark the ‘Pad launch, but you blew past my already high expectations! Reminded me of the one you wrote a hundred years ago about MC’s Scanlan Lake, and pissed off the pool lady, because you commented on all the …piss!

  • Raymond

    Dan, You could have also mentioned that the iPad’s low entry point at $499 torpedoes Microsoft’s ambition to raise the cost of netbooks; extracting even more money for Windows licenses. Apple has put a ceiling in place now for what OEMs can charge for a netbook.

  • http://www.copperhead-design.com Mr. Reeee


    I see your points, but as in the desktop/laptop computer environment, it’s all about the software. AND I might add, about integration.

    Android and MS OSes have several handicaps vs. Apple’s Total Integration Model (let’s call it TIM… gotta love acronyms).

    Since the MSdroid ecosystem consists of many manufacturers and OSes with few guidelines (of which anyone is aware) getting them all to work on (virtually) the SAME OS will be extremely difficult. (I don’t really see WinMo7 going much of anywhere.) MSdroid will end up being more like the Windows side of things than the proponents will care to think of or recognize. Yes, they’ll probably market some compelling devices, but with an array of different hardware configurations… differing screen resolutions, processors, keypads, touch-screens, ports/slots, etc… the end product will be just as complex, buggy, unstable as Windows. This will be a boon for IT people who thrive on others’ tech misfortunes, but no thanks.

    Say what you will about Apple’s TIM, but it works. 300,000,000+/- mobile devices, PLUS Mac OS X is a pretty good indicator. As we see, limiting hardware configs has turned out to be a good thing, in that you can really get an handle on EXACTLY what is there on the hardware side AND be able to fine tune the software to take advantage of the hardware.

    Apple now has 3 devices (4 when the 3G iPad ships). How many MSdroid things have we seen, with new models popping up weekly?

    Look at the iPad… mine, anyway ;^) … the naysayers bitched about the “missing” pieces, but the thing is smooth, fast and literally disappears when you’re using it, in a way that even Mac users would be hard-pressed to imagine. With the huge battery life, I literally used it off and on for most of the day and evening yesterday and even read the NY Times for an hour this morning before the battery finally crapped out.

    Me? I’ll take that.

  • http://www.curiosity.com curiositrey

    An accurate list of predictions – at least I have been thinking along those lines…You forgot to mention music hardware (synths, samplers, groove boxes), camera filters and lens add-ons, remote controls, any electronic device that you can think of can be recreated – and improved! – on the iPad…A great example is the $10 App version of the $400 Korg Electribe. The only people who don’t get the iPad as a total game-changer are the ones who haven’t tried one yet.

    As to the guy who mentioned the lack of analog back-ups, and the lower than hi-def quality of the movies and music, somehow I managed to print my photos archivally, store them in Cloud servers, and still transfer between camera, iPod and iPad…I love listening to my vinyl, while I edit photos on my iPad.

    And my kids want my iPad badly – they got it right away. Why Nintendo – who embraced gestural controls early – aren’t all over the iPhone OS I have no idea…My daughter wants her Ds games ported immediately! If you can sell a million copies at $10 without shipping a physical product, versus 100,000 over packaged inventory clogging games, it is a simple no-brainer. Nintendo, you are getting ready to lose the kids.

    It is a one-way technology, just like Tivo was…Once you experience the interface and possibilities, you can’t imagine working any other way.

  • Dude

    @schmiddi: I agree that I’m unlikely to buy another laptop and will instead have an iPhone, iPad 3G, and a Mac Pro. for heavy work like editing videos, and analyzing large datasets of cycling power meter data. Laptops just aren’t that light when traveling and have a limited numbers of cores for video editing, and analyzing millions of cycling datapoints.

    @MarkyMark: I’d be happy if it killed off my separate remotes for the stereo, AppleTV, TV, etc. I have to turn on 3 devices to watch an iTunes download. If I have cable TV, I’d have yet another remote.

  • jcf

    Dan, you missed a fairly obvious one that would have nicely rounded out your list of now 20 things: digital photo frames. You can set the iPad into a slideshow mode while it’s locked. Combined with a case or dock to keep it upright, it’s a natural substitute.

    Also, I don’t see Nintendo faring very well in the hardware business over the next 5-10 years. They seem to be desperately pumping out new DS units every six months or so mainly to boost sales, and the Wii’s early success with its low price and novelty controller is giving way to much better values offered by Sony and Microsoft. Everyone else has caught up with or surpassed Nintendo on touch screens and motion control, and while they are traditionally known for innovative controllers, I don’t see them doing much that Apple isn’t already developing in a much broader context beyond just gaming.

    That narrow focus on gaming is what I think will ultimately doom Nintendo to an ever-shrinking niche. On the software side, they’ve repeatedly failed over several years to deliver a seamless online multimedia experience (granted, it’s also taken Sony a while to do the same, but they are in far better shape). Meanwhile, Apple is gobbling up the casual market, leaving Nintendo with only its usual list of first-party IPs. Will they alone be enough to keep hardware sales afloat when more and more people (not just gamers) already own iPhone, iPod Touches, and iPads? My suspicion is that they won’t.

  • http://www.copperhead-design.com Mr. Reeee


    The photo frame really is kind of a stealth iPad feature.

    I hit the photo frame button this morning by accident and was pleasantly surprised to see the 2 photos of flooding in Massachusetts my sister sent going thru a slide show. I suddenly wanted to load photos from trips to Bulgaria, Greece, Istanbul, Aruba, Guatemala, etc. and let it do the photo frame thing.

    Apple really seems to have covered all the bases with the iPad!

    BTW, I was at the Upper West Side Apple Store today and it was JAMMED. it was wall-to-wall iPad! Lots of people with iPads and others, presumably my neighbors who got their iPads via UPS, buying the few iPad accessories available.

    Holy shit. Game changer. And more than just the for D-pad obsessed!

  • gctwnl

    It is interesting to wonde what the iPad ‘new computing form factor’ is going to do to the existing smartphone-laptop-desktop landscape. Intuitively, maybe two modes live side by side:
    – smartphone + laptop (which doubles as desktop)
    – (simple phone +) pad + desktop
    The latter could be pad+desktop with the pad as VoIP phone using a bleutooth headset (answer calls without taking your iPad from your backpack/etc.

    So, the iPad could improve desktop sales at the cost of laptops which always are somewhat a performance compromise. iPad on the road, powerful desktop at home for the heavy lifting.

  • http://www.pov.me/ pv

    You forgot flash :-)

  • jdlcxxx

    You forgot to mention that the iPad will cure cancer.

  • http://qtp.blogspot.com sachxn

    I completely agree with each and every point you have written but but we have to see if apple is really preparing itself for the ad world or not.

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    Netflix for the iPad suddenly changes everything. I was not that impressed when the iPad was first announced. I mean, iTunes TV/Movie selection is pretty small and VERY expensive. Who wants to pay $2 for a TV show you only want to watch once? But now that netflix will also be available, I am actually considering buying one. I already have a subscription that I use on my PS3 and absolutely love it. For $9 a month I get unlimited viewing. I can even use my phone as a 3G wifi hotspot to stream movies to an iPad where wifi is not available. Netflix is the killer app for the iPad. Now if they would just release a Netflix app for the Apple TV…..

  • iLogic


    Have you checked out Corey Doctorow’s “Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either) ?

    The following paragraph is one of the easiest ones to chew on:

    “Wal-Martization of the software channel”

    And let’s look at the iStore. For a company whose CEO professes a hatred of DRM, Apple sure has made DRM its alpha and omega. Having gotten into business with the two industries that most believe that you shouldn’t be able to modify your hardware, load your own software on it, write software for it, override instructions given to it by the mothership (the entertainment industry and the phone companies), Apple has defined its business around these principles. It uses DRM to control what can run on your devices, which means that Apple’s customers can’t take their “iContent” with them to competing devices, and Apple developers can’t sell on their own terms”

    Through out the article he constantly uses the term “iApps” and “iStore” in an obvious attempt to change perception.

    Daniel, I really really hope this guy is on your squat list!

  • gctwnl

    Re: Doctorow

    I am also pretty pissed off that I cannot run my own software on my dishwasher, that AEG controls what software is run on it, etc. :-) Or same argument re: Nintendo DS.

    The tech oriented people do not get it, I think.

    iPhone OS based devics are a bit half way between completely open, like a PC or completely closed like your set top box.

    So it is a new option in the complete range of possibilities. Is that a problem?

  • addicted44

    Re: Doctorow

    I am sure Mr. Doctorow doesn’t drive a car made since the 90’s, you know, since all those electronics in there are just a big-black box, and you cannot hack into them, like you could hack into the internals of your cars in the 60’s. i.e., the Walmartization of the modern car.

    I am sure Mr. Doctorow has never purchased a video-game console, or played any computer games for that matter, thanks to all the DRM on those games. i.e. the Walmartization of the video game market.

    I am sure Mr. Doctorow never uses Google, since all that source code is hidden away, and has never been open-sourced by the Lords of All Open Source, and they Who Can Do No Evil? i.e. the Walmartization of the search engine.

    etc… etc…

  • http://allasloss.com Nick R

    These are some bold predictions of death. Even bolder is the claim that it will be from the iPad.

    DVDs – streaming and Blu-ray couldn’t handle this task. A bit of a stretch to think the iPad will undo the grip DVDs have on the market (or on the studios’ wallets).
    People love to think electronic versions of paper will replace paper, but sometimes nothing is better.
    Killing the eReader — yeah. The eReader was never even alive, was it?
    The PSP & DS… it’s crazy to think, but you’re probably right. The lame attempt at media integration into the DSi was horrible, and the PSP – with a more sophisticated and polished media integration, just couldn’t take off. The key problem – playing a game on a DS or PSP is playing a video game to most adults. Playing a game like Doodle Jump on the iPhone doesn’t feel the same – as in dorky.

    I love me some Nintendo, but I would never bust a DS out in the DMV line… my iPhone, yup.

  • tundraboy

    I almost feel sorry for the Limbaugh republicans when Dan tears them apart by methodically picking through every half-truth and outright falsehood that they mouth from the Official Talking Points. Where oh where have the thinking republicans gone? They’re disappearing from opinion pages and the only place to occasionally catch one is on PBS or MPR. Really, I can’t remember the last time I had an intelligent, informed conversation with a self-identifying republican. Seriously, as liberal as I might profess to be, this is not good for the country.

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    A couple of quick replies into the fray.

    Nothing can kill the Amiga unless it can display two resolutions at once on the same screen. The Amiga though obviously killed the Atari ST ; )

    Portable gaming. The iPad / iPhone ecosystem won’t kill that market per say, directly, though from recent buying trends it appears the PSP might cop it between the eyes. Rather it will be a cumulative thing based on generational exposure and price points.

    Ah hem. Five years ago, if you had a kid you got them a DS, that was the training ground. 15 years ago you got them a GB or console. This creates an expectation in the users both in terms of games and pricing. Now you let them at your iPhone with a couple of 99c or free games to play with. This changes everything for the future.

    The argument against the iPhone effect on portable gaming is quality. No disagreement from me BUT quality sadly isn’t the key, it’s exposure to a quality threshold. MP3/AAC is crap compared to CD, JPG and MPG are crap compared to photos and VHS (non copied). Yet somehow crap has totally stomped quality. How? Expectation thresholds. If you grow up with tinny plastic headphones and looking at JPG’s then that’s what you think is awesome. MP3 sounds no different through crap audio gear and if your viewing tool is pixel based then a image made of chunks seems reasonable. Even now people are trumpeting download HD video as somehow being better than BluRay, it’s not and it doesn’t matter because in the next 2 years chances are you will watch more download HD than Bluray and in doing so your expectation of quality will drop.

    So kids today are being exposed to less involved games that are cheap and plentiful. Your kids will be downloading new free games every half hour, playing with them for an hour maybe and getting another one. You won’t haggle with them over 99c or 1.99 a game so their experience will be more consumed with iPhone esque gaming versus the limited exposure due to in family battling over which 30-50 DS game they might get for christmas.

    Outcome? The effect of the iPhone on the portable gaming market is two fold. Firstly gamers will expect less for less and Secondly the developers will respond to this because it is better for them than risking huge dollars on some massive complicated game.

    Same with controls. Of course touch is not better than buttons, but if you grow up dealing with touch issues they will be normal. I remember people complaining about having to look at buttons and a screen with console games, it was too hard and limited visibility (by looking away). No trouble if you are raised on it. Right now, kids are being raised on touch.

    As a parent as well you can see the easy lock down of the iPad, its use as a cheap computer and its abilities to do assignments as being selling points over a DS and you can chuck in 30 games a month for the kid for the price of one.

    Sony, MS and Nintendo make money off being the exclusive publishing point for their consoles (same as Appstore), if the market expectation drops from $30 – $1 there is some big trouble ahead for the console makers. Sony and MS would never see black on new consoles. Nintendo at least would see black on hardware and could probably weather the market shift.

    I’d say Nintendo is in the best position to survive the collapse of game pricing. They have also taken the leading road in casual gaming and expanding markets, so at least they understand where it is all headed.

    Other things the iPad will kill to some degree or another.

    1) The corporate/education thin client
    2) Lighting control desks
    3) Sound control desks
    4) KVM / switches for headless servers

  • gmmour

    Another thing the iPad is going to kill in the long term is physical keyboards and tracking devices (mice and trackpads)… I do believe that Mac OS X for MacBooks will start becoming more touch friendly, eventually yielding full touch based MacBooks and desktop Macs!

  • Aframe

    The iPad WILL kill the desktop PC

    “Aframe { 04.02.10 at 8:16 am }
    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?”

    Years from now, people will look back on the introduction of the iPad as the turning point between computers that needed [first] a keyboard and [later, thanks to Apple] a mouse, and those that humans could use without anything other than their finger, body or “touch” gestures.

    All of the people who do not understand this, and all of the devices they sell or work on, will soon become “obsolete”. That does not mean they will not continue to exist.

    We still have people using film cameras, we still have people listening to shortwave radio, we still have people using 78-rpm gramophone records, 8-track tapes or Microsoft Windows. Some or all of them are doing good work, but almost none of them are still contributing to the mainstream of history.

    So when Daniel Eran Dilger says these “dinosaur” technologies are dead, he doesn’t mean they are “deceased”, but he does mean they are “removed from the mainstream of history”.

    And I Agree

  • praetor

    The only thing that the iPad will kill is your credibility as a writer.

    Maybe if it wasn’t using technology that’s already a decade old and wasn’t being kept afloat by microtransactions by third party developers so that they can hawk their remake of a flash game that could be found on the internet for free for $5, but until that changes (and it won’t), the iPad will be another overpriced, failed commodity that only diehard fanboys will slobber all over.

    [Is there some sort of Logan’s Run principle that makes technologies worthless after a decade? And is iPad’s embarrassment of today’s resistive, +1″ tablets part of why you are so upset that you have to call up down? Also, you don’t seem to understand the definition of the word “commodity.” But thanks for being a jerk, as its so hard to come by anonymous, arrogant, and ignorant turds on the Internet. – Dan ]

  • RC Cola

    Killing DVDs? Ridiculous. iPads would have to replace televisions first, and that is an area where bigger is better. It won’t happen. The only thing that might eventually kill off the DVD is blu-ray.

    Killing the DS/PSP? Another thing that won’t happen. While you use the price of games to compare the app games to DS/PSP games, you fail to compare the quality of games. I use my iPod touch and yes, I have some games for it. However, nothing I have on my iPod comes close to the quality of games I can play on my DS.

    Those were just two of the most ridiculously outlandish things I found in your article.

  • RC Cola

    Oh, and Nick R.

    “I love me some Nintendo, but I would never bust a DS out in the DMV line… my iPhone, yup.”

    This seems to have more to do with your own insecurities than it does about which is a better ideal for gaming. Though if I had to wait somewhere a while and didn’t want to play a game, I would choose to use my iPod Touch to watch a movie or tv show that I have on it.