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Is The iPad 2 Really a “Post-PC Device”?

At a recent Apple press conference, Steve Jobs referred to the iPad as a “Post-PC Device” and after the introduction to the iPad 2 this past Wednesday, something about this just isn’t sitting well with me. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll just put it out there that I’m one of those geeks you see lining up for new Apple products, and the iPad 2 probably won’t be an exception. I’m also okay with buying in to the Steve Jobs RFD (Reality Distortion Field), but calling the iPad 2 a “Post-PC Device?” That’s a stretch in my book.

The fact is, Apple and many other tech players have yet to release a viable, widespread, easily-adoptable cloud solution. Until this day comes, no device can be “Post-PC.” And here’s why. … For all of its “magical” and “revolutionary” features, the iPad 2 still has a huge Achilles heel: the 30-pin dock connector. If I want my iPad to reach the height of its potential, I need to tether it to my computer and wait about half an hour. If I buy new content on my iPhone, Mac or PC, it resides on that device instead of being ubiquitously available. If I want to use the amazing new iMovie on my iPad, I either have to hold the iPad awkwardly to record movies, email myself clips from my phone or wait for that tethered connection to slowly send me my necessary movie files.

So how do we get to this holy grail of a “Post-PC Device” that Steve Jobs was proclaiming?

  • Well, first we need a cloud connection that can easily sync files from our Macs, PCs, iPhones, Androids, Blackberries … you name the device, it should have access (this is the point where my colleague Brad Mampe will extol the virtues of Google, but even their system is not perfect yet – see losing user data for 150,000 people last week).
  • We also need to shift the way we view computing. Right now, computing is a very anti-social habit. You sit in front of a screen and block off the world around you while searching the virtual world. As more people desire to connect across the globe, they can’t forget about the people around them. The first iPad has taken steps to make computing more social and inviting by allowing others to interact with it; but as a society we need to become more comfortable with everyone carrying around tablets, especially if we seek to entrench social networking alongside our real-life networking that we value so greatly.

Without connectivity, the power of our “Post-PC” devices can only go so far. In fact, in our research in Breakthrough without Borders, we found that across the board, community members all over the world value connectivity and the ability to be online as a top priority.

  • Additionally, a “Post-PC Device” needs to have a value proposition that blows today’s computer out of the water. The iPad 2 comes close, but let’s face it; the top-of-the-line model still will set you back over $800, and many competitors are shooting for this target. Manufacturers will have to work to make a tablet, with surely less functionality than a computer, appeal to the masses at the same price as a computer.

So what do you think? Are we ready to embrace a “Post-PC” world? And, is the iPad 2 the device that will bring us there?

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