Some observations pointing at the future


Remember when an audio recording device, a video recording device, a camera (still v.s. motion), a computer, a stereo, a phone, a wireless router, a book reader and a radio were all separate items? Now I carry them around in my pocket in my iPhone.

In 1992 a movie came out called Sneakers. Ben Kingsley and Robert Redford were together in a scene talking about how technology was changing things. They were sitting in a room with a Cray Supercomputer (Cray X-MP). Turns out that I carry one around every day as an iPad Mini Retina. An iPad that does with 12 watts what the supercomputer did with kilowatts.

I am willing to bet that things will continue to combine into single devices. This includes the merging of smartphones with tablets. Once we get passed the requirement of holding a phone up to our face, we will use tablets to make calls. We will put bluetooth stereo headsets on and use our tablets to provide the phone connection. How do I know this? Because I already do it.

The other thing that will be merged in to tablets is consoles. Sega and Nintendo got out at the end of the market. I hope that Microsoft and Sony choose not to waste their resources on more consoles. The A8X chip can handle 4k graphics. The A9 will rival an X-Box One.

I know that AMD, Intel, and every other chip manufacturer can compete with this as well. The fact is we are post Desktop, becoming post Laptop, and are steadily moving to tablets. They are light, have enough power, a large enough user interface, and can be made into “netbooks” by adding a keyboard. The most important factor is cost to capability. Tablets have this in spades.

My concern being an Apple user is that Apple is facing a contradiction. They are a hardware company. They are going the correct direction (tablet with smart watch). They are wasting resources in the mean time with a new desktop computer, the Mac Pro, and ultimately the iPhone line. Apple is having to waste resources waiting for us to catch up.

I have read many places the sentiment that, “there are some people that NEED the power of a desktop.” The fact of the matter is, you have that in a tablet now, without the power consumption. So when do we all quit pretending and just migrate over? Really, when do we concede that it really is all about the tablets?

3 thoughts on “Some observations pointing at the future

  1. Everett – Besides the processor and the display, are there other components of computing technology specific to desktop and gaming consoles that don’t translate to tablet? I.e. video drivers or graphics cards? I don’t know a lot on this topic. Just curious. BTW – Was thinking about the irrelevance of the desktop just yesterday after seeing MS’s new Surface technology – The high end version has more power than my Mac mini and it has USB 3.0 as well… If I’m not mistaken, Intel and others are jumping on the Thunderbolt bandwagon as well and we’ll soon see the same daisy-chaining from one port in non-Mac devices that we see in Mac devices. Curious what challenges you see beyond the obvious benefits of mobile computing.

    • In response to your question about technology that doesn’t translate to portability (you said tablet), I will answer an easy, YES, KINDA, and NO. Yes, there are technologies that won’t translate. Portability is about size and weight. It takes room to add connectors that allow you to plug things in and remove them. Wether this is a peripheral or a memory device (Micro SDCard). So removable devices are best left… removed from the design of the most portable equipment. This is why you can’t upgrade the video processor in most portable devices. And yes, there is a “video card” in the Nvidia Shield tablet. The video processor has 192 cores. This is separate from the CPU (a Tegra CPU).
      KINDA – Storage would be an example of this. How heavy and fragile would tablets be if they used a hard drive for storage? We developed technology to replace this storage option. We now use an SSD (memory chips) instead of a spinning platter. This weighs less, takes less energy to use, and is less fragile than a spinning platter. So in this case we changed the technology. We created an answer that meets the needs of portability.
      So, NO – I mentioned that there is a graphics processor in the Nvidia Shield Tablet, 192 cores to be exact. The A8X has a better video processor in it. In fact, something that really drives this home is a story I like to relate. In 1992 a movie called Sneakers came out. Robert Redford and Ben Kingsley are discussing Information ethics. They move to a “quiet room” that has a device in it. The device is a Cray X-MP Super Computer. It used kilowatts of energy to do processing. My iPad Mini Retina has the same computing power as that Super Computer, and only uses 12 watts of energy to do it.
      So there are the answers to your question. All three answers even. I hope this helped make sense of what I was talking about.

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