What it is: The meaningless debate about the iPad vs. a “real” computer continues.
If you read this ZDNet article by Adrian-Kingsley Hughes, you can read a comparison between the iPad and the Surface Go where Adrian concludes that the iPad can’t compare to the Surface Go because of its operating system. Adrian says that if the iPad only ran macOS, it would be the perfect tablet, so the essential argument is simply that the operating system is all that matters.
Now if you replace “iPad” with “PC” and replace “Surface Go” with “mainframe and minicomputers”, Adrian’s argument perfectly matches the early discussions of mainframe and minicomputer users that dismissed PCs as “toys” because they didn’t run a “real” operating system like UNIX.
Back in the early 80’s when IBM introduced the IBM PC, mainframe and minicomputer users dismissed “PCs” as toys because they couldn’t run the same programs as mainframe and minicomputers. So therefore the PC was useless. Notice the similarity with today’s argument about the iPad vs. the PC?
The iPad must be a toy because it can’t run the same programs as a PC. Yet as we saw with mainframe and minicomputers, the PC gradually grew in power while being more cost-effective and easier to access for individuals. Those advantages eventually killed mainframe and minicomputers.
Notice those same features are gradually pushing the iPad into PC territory. The iPad processor is faster than most laptop processors and will only continue to improve. The iOS operating system is getting more powerful and more companies are porting their PC programs to the iPad such as Adobe Photoshop and AutoCAD, so pretty soon the iPad will run all important PC programs. The iPad is far easier to carry and use on the go than a laptop. Given all these advantages, it’s only a matter of time before the iPad takes over the laptop market. Remember, the iPad already killed the netbook so the laptop is going to be next.
For many people, the iPad may not replace a laptop, but it can still be useful anyway just like a smartphone can’t replace a PC completely, but people still have smartphones and PCs. Any time you see someone arguing that the iPad isn’t a real computer, that’s the essence of fear. That means they’re afraid of being left behind because they refuse to change, so they’re hoping to delay the inevitable by convincing people that their antiquated views are right, even though history shows that it is not.
If you don’t think an iPad can replace a laptop, then stick with a laptop and let other people use an iPad instead. Many people have found an iPad can replace what they used to need a laptop to do, and that’s fine. Many others have found that an iPad can’t replace a laptop and that’s fine as well.
What’s not fine is when people use questionable arguments to convince you that their point of view is absolutely correct. If you don’t think the iPad can do many tasks that a PC can do, just look for your favorite mainframe and minicomputer enthusiast and ask them how well their mainframe and minicomputer is holding up against today’s PC and why the PC will never replace mainframe and minicomputers. Provided, of course, you can still find anyone still claiming mainframe and minicomputers are superior to PCs.