I was annoyed.
It was odd feeling. Over the last decade and a half I’ve moved from Windows, to Linux, and then to Mac. Each time the shift was met with a sense of joy at the prospect of learning new skills and tools. Each was also accompanied by a sense of wonder at the sheer speed of the computing power suddenly at my disposal – the shift to the Mac was perhaps the greatest of these (though, to be honest, I doubt I’d appreciate the Mac as much if I hadn’t used Linux for so long).
For some reason, I didn’t expect a similar sense of wonder about iOS. My iPad, after all, was supposed to be an ancillary device – the one that I use when I’m not doing anything “major.” Even after noting that my time on both my MacBook and iPhone has dropped significantly, I still didn’t think about my adoption of the iPad as a shift to a primary device. That is, until, I woke up my MacBook from sleep and did something of which I had become unaccustomed — I waited. First, I had to wait while the MacBook drive spun-up and the machine became usable. This wait, which is significantly faster than the Windows and Linux machines I’ve used in the past, suddenly became intolerable. I had to wait for my application to start, and then I had to search for the file I wanted, and the wait for it to open. By the time I got done I shut the MacBook, thinking to myself, “I really don’t like this!”. While I still use the MacBook for many tasks, it’s no longer the pleasure it once was. The MacBook has a barrier between me and my work, while my iPad let’s me touch it in order to move it around and manipulate it. While geeks tend to laugh at terms like “immersive,” that’s exactly what is appealing about devices like the iPad.
This isn’t to say it’s perfect, I still worry about the unclear application approval process that Apple uses for it’s app store, and I don’t like how the app store actually prevents open source software from appearing there as well. I also worry at the heavy-handed way Apple is insisting that everything which can be purchased via a link in an app (such as with the Kindle app). I still want a physical keyboard to touch-type and will probably get one soon (though that weakens the sense of immersion, I admit).
I will probably buy another MacBook at some point, but when I do, it will be an Air — it’s the only computer on the market right now that I think will ease my new sense of annoyance with old-style computing.