Simplified Computing: Cars vs. Trucks

Back in June of this year, Steve Jobs made a comment about the iPad and tablet computers and his vision of computing:

“PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them… This transformation is going to make some people uneasy. The PC has taken us a long way.”

Cloud computing and web applications have transformed the computing experience to an almost entirely browser-based experience (email, web surfing, web applications, etc.).  Based on that, current operating systems are overly complex for most users.  I love the idea of a simpler OS, like iOS, for most users (like my parents) and reserving the complexity of current OS’s for advanced users (e.g. software developers, graphic artists, system administrators).  Just like the cars and trucks simile, most people drive cars though there are uses for trucks — so while complex OS’s won’t go away, but they will become much less common (reminiscent of the Pareto principle).

Think how much easier troubleshooting computers will be with simpler OS’s, as opposed to the complexity inherent in OS’s like OS X and Windows 7.  I look forward to laptops and tablets with simpler OS’s in the near future (because troubleshooting them for friends and family will involve much simpler processes, like asking them to press the only button on the front to go back to the menu (instead of remotely connecting to try to correct anti-virus software, drivers, or other issues).

While the closed nature of iOS is often frustrating, the approach does keep the system simpler than the fragmented environment that Android is becoming with multiple app stores (e.g. Verizon, Nook).

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