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Don't hoard MacBooks or iMacs yet.

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I walked through Barnes and Nobel yesterday just to see if they might have an Xcode 4 book on the shelf and was surprised to see that at least 80 percent of the programming section was now taken over by the iPhone, iPad, Android and IOS. The remaining books were Perl, Python, C, and VB manuals that have been there for years. The book was available for order, but when I asked the order clerk about the mix of titles locally, he replied that "Programming on the PC past history. Everything is on the iPhone now," or words to that effect.

Now, I know that opinions of a store clerk who thinks that Xcode, Eclipse, or NetBeans are now run on a four inch screen, are worth exactly what an iPhone is worth for hosting a C compiler suite, but, after a year's worth of blogs and new blurbs that "The PC is dead," I realize that a good part of the non-technical world believes that.

But, today, if I read the news right, and if the news was correct, then Apple has sold a record number of Macs in the last fiscal quarter. Not counting the not inconsiderable number of Win machines stamped out for the more unfortunate, then the Laptop/Desktop isn't following the CD on the way out quite yet.

How many iPads would it take to host Mac-Forums.com?
 
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I'm not concerned. Everything I work on weighs at least a ton. Good luck getting rid of those machines :D
 

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Moved to the proper forum and title edited for spelling. This is not a proper topic for Apple Reports and Rumors (you provided no link). Please read the Sticky Post at the head of each forum before posting.
 

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The book was available for order, but when I asked the order clerk about the mix of titles locally, he replied that "Programming on the PC past history. Everything is on the iPhone now," or words to that effect.
He doesn't know what he's talking about. Surely he must be aware of the relative ubiquity of computers and surely he must know to look a few pages in to see that tools have to be developed on the computer just so one can program for mobile devices.
 

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Steve Jobs was right on the money when he said that PCs (and by that, I'm referring to "Personal Computers") would always be around. He compared them to trucks - when the automotive industry first got started, people needed something more utilitarian, so the most popular vehicles were more like trucks.

Nowadays, people drive cars that are much more sleek and comfortable. But there's still a lot of people who need the utility only a truck can afford.

So, PCs will always be around, except PCs will become less mainstream while people move over to more "comfortable" solutions that don't require maintenance, anti-virus or security software... like an iPad.

Let's be honest, PCs were mostly the domain of geeks and businesses for many years before the Internet became the "killer app". That's when the public at large became really interested in them... but not because they were interested in programming or playing with them as toys, they were bought mostly as a tool to get to the Internet.

If you can do the same thing with an iPad that you won't have to bring to the Geek Squad every six months for disinfection, why would you bother with a PC? It's instant gratification without any of the headaches. That's what makes the iPad, iPhone and other devices like them popular. It's the promise of a more seamless conduit to the Internet.

So, I do see a change in the industry for sure, but I don't think PCs will ever go away. Sure, there will be stalwarts that insist on a big screen monitor with a keyboard and mouse, but I'd be willing to bet that the PC ends up going back to its roots, as the domain of the techie geek and the business user.
 
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Nowadays, people drive cars that are much more sleek and comfortable. But there's still a lot of people who need the utility only a truck can afford.

Well, in this state, for every car you pass on the road, there are four pickups in front and behind it.

But, seriously, since I have been in computers since they had vacuum tubes, I am often asked where the industry is going. Naturally, I have no more idea than the average smuck. My usual reply is that if I even had a hint, then Bill Gates would be my gardener.

I have a tough time believing that a desktop system could possible be replaced, but I can also remember people speculating on just what the punched card machines would look like at the turn of the century. (Much faster, the holes would be much smaller, the paper would be dustless, etc. Ha!)

To me, the Ipad (and I have one) is unsatisfactory for Internet access for more than casual use. It is certainly portable, but is slow and clunky. On an Imac (heck, or even a PC), I can almost instantly have ten pages opening as I read the first one, click it closed, open a replacement, then move to the next to read while the first is loading. And have RSS running in a window, email in another, Xcode - well, you get the picture. My Ipad just doesn't have the same productivity, even though it is great on the road.

So, there is the school of thought that the full computer system will be the domain of actual content creators and will be submerged by the vast number of portable units to come.

And the one that says that there is no way that desktops/laptops can be replaced and portable units will just be icing on the convenience cake.

I have a feeling that both groups, including me, are wrong and something will come along to replace both that nobody has even dreamed of today. As a case in point, as a lifelong science fiction reader, I can think of no author who predicted the rise of the data age - at least, not until it got started. Yep, lots of stories about giant computers of the future, but the idea of everybody having one didn't come up. And these were people who made money trying to visualise the future. Even wireless wasn't envisioned - all of the spaceship microphones in the 22nd century movies have wires leading to the users belt.

All that being said, I have a feeling that the actual future will be much stranger than a mere telepathically controlled quantum module that is worn on the wrist.
 

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Well, in this state, for every car you pass on the road, there are four pickups in front and behind it.

But, seriously, since I have been in computers since they had vacuum tubes, I am often asked where the industry is going. Naturally, I have no more idea than the average smuck. My usual reply is that if I even had a hint, then Bill Gates would be my gardener.

I have a tough time believing that a desktop system could possible be replaced, but I can also remember people speculating on just what the punched card machines would look like at the turn of the century. (Much faster, the holes would be much smaller, the paper would be dustless, etc. Ha!)

To me, the Ipad (and I have one) is unsatisfactory for Internet access for more than casual use. It is certainly portable, but is slow and clunky. On an Imac (heck, or even a PC), I can almost instantly have ten pages opening as I read the first one, click it closed, open a replacement, then move to the next to read while the first is loading. And have RSS running in a window, email in another, Xcode - well, you get the picture. My Ipad just doesn't have the same productivity, even though it is great on the road.

I think you pretty much exemplify the geek audience that I referred to in my last post. The audience for the iPad, the average everyday Joe, is pretty much thrilled with it. These are the folks that want their Internet gateway to be an appliance, where the amount of knowledge you bring to it amounts to the same amount of knowledge you'd need to operate a refrigerator. And they're perfectly willing to compromise if it means getting their instant fix of Facebook.

So, there is the school of thought that the full computer system will be the domain of actual content creators and will be submerged by the vast number of portable units to come.

And the one that says that there is no way that desktops/laptops can be replaced and portable units will just be icing on the convenience cake.

I have a feeling that both groups, including me, are wrong and something will come along to replace both that nobody has even dreamed of today. As a case in point, as a lifelong science fiction reader, I can think of no author who predicted the rise of the data age - at least, not until it got started. Yep, lots of stories about giant computers of the future, but the idea of everybody having one didn't come up. And these were people who made money trying to visualise the future. Even wireless wasn't envisioned - all of the spaceship microphones in the 22nd century movies have wires leading to the users belt.

All that being said, I have a feeling that the actual future will be much stranger than a mere telepathically controlled quantum module that is worn on the wrist.

You're probably right. One direction I see the industry going in is a portable "core" device that is highly intelligent, but comes in the guise of an iPhone-sized device. When it's by itself, it works just like smartphones do today. But it can go a lot further than that.... you will buy a series of "docks" that change the form factor of the device. So, if you need a laptop, you'll just slip your "core" into a laptop-like chassis that gives you a keyboard and a trackpad.

Need a tablet? Slip it into a tablet dock. Same goes for a desktop.

As the device transforms physically, the OS is smart enough to recognize the change and scales up or down to provide the kind of experience the user expects.

There's a lot of interesting stuff going on in the industry right now, and most of it is being driven by the mobile sector. ARM is scaling up to reach desktop-level performance, while x86 is scaling down to reach ARM-levels of efficiency. On the OS side, iOS is getting to be as capable as OS X, and OS X is starting to look more like iOS. Windows 8, while half-baked and ill-conceived, will try to be all things to all people and likely fail miserably at it.

But one thing is for sure, all of these OSes and processors are morphing and converging - and that's being driven by mobile. I think it's only a matter of time until the device that's in your pocket, becomes your primary computing platform that morphs and changes as you need it to.
 
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I think it's only a matter of time until the device that's in your pocket, becomes your primary computing platform that morphs and changes as you need it to.

I think this is probably true for most people. There are, and will continue to be, users that will require more processing power than will be available in that form factor (even when the processing power improves in that form factor). A good case in point is imaging in general, you make more power available, and the software will just evolve to use it (you should see Adobe's deblur example recently, that'll be revolutionary when it's publicly available).

Of course, that said, if I'm still in my current field.. it won't matter to me one way or the other. At least not too much. Yay for the cloud! :Evil:
 
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windows 8, while half-baked and ill-conceived, will try to be all things to all people and likely fail miserably at it.

q...f...t....
 
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Yay for the cloud! :Evil:

Now you have brought up a topic that horrifies me, although I can't tell if you are for or against.

But, back to the previous conversation, I guess I am just too addicted to real estate. To me, the bigger the monitor the better, and two are even better than that, especially if they are a pair of new 27" Thunderbolt displays. (A configuration that I, alas, don't have). When programming, you almost have to have lots of space, but even with just casual use, I like to have room to display stuff.

To me, trying to create content on an Ipad sized device would be like trying to do your income taxes on an airplane tray table. You would spend more time shuffling paper than filling out forms. Of course, 99% of users are consumers and not content creators, but still, that 1% has to have something to work on.
 
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I find it humorous that computers swing back between being access terminals to remote data and processing, and super high speed largely self contained units. It seems to keep going back and forth and each time everyone says "This is truly it!". Now we seem to be going back towards the distributed model with "clouds" and "applications as services". I bet a processing or volatile/non-volatile memory technology wall gets broken down in a decade we have super powered "mainframes" in our homes. Heck, maybe you just cache the whole internet to your home system once or twice a day and only go online as needed? Then it will be back to whatever the hosted terminal accessed format is in another decade when another wall drops and network speed increases by a factor of 8 to the 8th to the 8th? Repeat as necessary.
 
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I find it humorous that computers swing back between being access terminals to remote data and processing, and super high speed largely self contained units. It seems to keep going back and forth and each time everyone says "This is truly it!". Now we seem to be going back towards the distributed model with "clouds" and "applications as services". I bet a processing or volatile/non-volatile memory technology wall gets broken down in a decade we have super powered "mainframes" in our homes. Heck, maybe you just cache the whole internet to your home system once or twice a day and only go online as needed? Then it will be back to whatever the hosted terminal accessed format is in another decade when another wall drops and network speed increases by a factor of 8 to the 8th to the 8th? Repeat as necessary.

Hadn't thought about it, but you are correct. (About the past, that is. Can't verify your predictions for the future yet.)

In the '70s, there were terminals everywhere, connected to a mainframe somewhere. Then the PC came along in the '80s and everybody went standalone. Along comes Novell and now it's time to share a big expensive hard drive between users. Disk prices go down and capacities go up and everybody goes back to standalone. Then the Internet starts everybody sharing again, underlined in spades by the "Cloud."

You may be right about the Internet eventually in the home, or at least part of it. I realized that that is what I do now on a limited basis. If I am always accessing a reference site that doesn't change much, I will suck the entire site down to a local server sitting in the corner. (Of course, if I wasn't stuck with limited broadband, I might not do that.)

For now however, I think the "Cloud" is just one disaster away from going away fast, after multiple organizations find that their data has evaporated and they now have no cash flowing in. And since the remote storage is so easy, they kind of got lax about bothering with local backups. (After all, someone is surely backing up the Cloud. Right?)

I'm seeing some of that now, on a much smaller basis. A lot of non-techies think of the cloud as a magical place that stores their info forever in perfect safety, when in fact, it is just another set of hardware somewhere being managed by the same type of fallible humans that would work in the IT department of their local employer.

Ok, so I am a pessimist. But that comes from a lifetime career of troubleshooting both machine and people failures.

(AIX huh? Went to my first AIX school about 1990 and used it for about 8 years. Would hate to have to administer it now, though.)
 
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Now you have brought up a topic that horrifies me, although I can't tell if you are for or against.

But, back to the previous conversation, I guess I am just too addicted to real estate. To me, the bigger the monitor the better, and two are even better than that, especially if they are a pair of new 27" Thunderbolt displays. (A configuration that I, alas, don't have). When programming, you almost have to have lots of space, but even with just casual use, I like to have room to display stuff.

To me, trying to create content on an Ipad sized device would be like trying to do your income taxes on an airplane tray table. You would spend more time shuffling paper than filling out forms. Of course, 99% of users are consumers and not content creators, but still, that 1% has to have something to work on.

I work in storage, the cloud's a good thing for me.. professionally ;) There are lots of really cool things about the move in this direction for consumers of information.


That said, I think that things like the iPad are AWESOME for media consumers. Media creators, not so much. I doubt very highly, even though I typically remote into systems for the actual bulk of work I perform, that I'd ever be seen coding on an iPad.
 

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I'm seeing some of that now, on a much smaller basis. A lot of non-techies think of the cloud as a magical place that stores their info forever in perfect safety, when in fact, it is just another set of hardware somewhere being managed by the same type of fallible humans that would work in the IT department of their local employer.
I won't argue with the fallibility portion (since I agree) but I'm willing to bet that Apple/Google/Microsoft/Amazon have much more comprehensive backup systems than I will ever have. Business success depends on it. Look at what happened to RIM during their recent downtime - everyone was claiming the end was near. There's no way those companies want to risk having that kind of claim made about them.
 
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I won't argue with the fallibility portion (since I agree) but I'm willing to bet that Apple/Google/Microsoft/Amazon have much more comprehensive backup systems than I will ever have. Business success depends on it. Look at what happened to RIM during their recent downtime - everyone was claiming the end was near. There's no way those companies want to risk having that kind of claim made about them.

Yep, there's no way that any individual is employing anything NEAR the redundancy that enterprise level solutions provide. Ever. If you want some details about general logic flow, I'd be happy to write something up.. but I won't unless someone needs some good bedtime reading material ;)
 

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If you want some details about general logic flow, I'd be happy to write something up.. but I won't unless someone needs some good bedtime reading material ;)
I have plenty of "enjoyable" journal articles to accomplish that but if I need something for the future, you'll be the first to know. ;)
 
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Maybe the guy selling programming books has some insight, especially as the shelf space must be going over to mobile platforms for a reason.

But it might be less to do with the death of the PC and more to do with the barriers of entry.

Programming for PCs and macs is fine, but try and get your product to market without some serious backing, and to produce most apps for the PC/Mac you need a team to maintain and market the product.

Mobile apps are more democratic. They have less power so people are not always expecting a massive app that can compete with the big guns, just a very good idea that does a few things very well. And you dont need the marketing infrastructure to get to market, the app store (or Android store) and a bit of home spun marketing maybe all it takes.

So apart from our computer platforms going full circle since the eighties, programming seems to be going the same way. It's time for the little guy again, and we seem to be seeing an army of lone inventors and small teams innovating away to meet the needs of the new platforms.

It's as exciting for programmers and users as the early days, and should hopefully provide the big software guns with a host of new fresh start-ups with a ready market to shake them out of their established markets.
 
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Programming for PCs and macs is fine, but try and get your product to market without some serious backing, and to produce most apps for the PC/Mac you need a team to maintain and market the product.
.
This will be the case with mobile apps within 5 years.
 
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So apart from our computer platforms going full circle since the eighties, programming seems to be going the same way. It's time for the little guy again, and we seem to be seeing an army of lone inventors and small teams innovating away to meet the needs of the new platforms.

I agree. Now is the time to get into it if you are going to. Back when the PC hit the world in 1981, everybody and their cousin wrote games for it. The walls of Computerland were covered with floppy games in freezer bags. Most of them were absolute garbage, but the only cost to entry was a supply of bags and some blank floppies.

Fast forward to now. What does it cost to get a game to market on a PC? 10 million? 30? 50? As mobile processors evolve into mini mainframes in power, once again they will become the domain of massive workgroups of programmers.

Not saying that is necessarily bad, just that it is evolution in action.
 
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Let's be honest, PCs were mostly the domain of geeks and businesses for many years before the Internet became the "killer app". That's when the public at large became really interested in them... but not because they were interested in programming or playing with them as toys, they were bought mostly as a tool to get to the Internet.

If you can do the same thing with an iPad that you won't have to bring to the Geek Squad every six months for disinfection, why would you bother with a PC? It's instant gratification without any of the headaches.

Every once in a while I see something that brings clarity. That part of your post definitely did.

You're completely correct of course - 80% of people didn't much care about computers until the internet exploded, and for the most part 'content creation' from the masses is limited to tweets and facebook. iPad is perfectly good for that, and excels in the content consumption area (ie shopping, finding an address on a map, checking the weather, listening to music, watching a movie, etc).

PC = truck iPad = car

Nice comparison!
 

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