What it is: The Files app in iOS 11 gives users access to file management on iOS devices.
For the longest time, many PC users criticized the iPad as a toy because it wouldn’t allow you to manage individual files. Instead, the iPad limited each app to accessing only its own files. While this made it easy to find files used in specific apps, it made managing files much clumsier. The advantage of not having a file management system made the iPad easier to use, but for power users, the lack of a file management system made the iPad too limiting.
Now with iOS 11, Apple has introduced the Files app, which gives power users the ability to manage files while giving most other users the ability to ignore the Files app completely if they wish and continue using their iPad exactly the same as before. This compromise works for everyone because managing files is often the hardest part of using a computer for many novices. By shielding novices from the complexity of file management, the iPad can satisfy their needs without excess complexity. By giving power users file management capabilities, they can use the iPad as a more powerful mobile computer than ever before.
The introduction of the Files app shows that the iPad is gradually becoming the new laptop computer of tomorrow. Before the iPad appeared, the other alternative for an inexpensive mobile computer was the netbook. Netbooks first appeared running Linux but Microsoft quickly dropped the licensing fees of Windows to make Windows the standard netbook operating system, especially when people got frustrated with learning Linux on netbooks and trying to share files with their Windows PC.
Yet as soon as the iPad appeared, the netbook market disappeared practically overnight. The iPad was simply better than the netbook in every way. Of course, people still preferred the greater versatility of laptops so many people used both. This helped give rise to the 2-in-1 device market defined by the Microsoft Surface that’s a combination laptop and tablet. 2-in-1 devices are typically great ultraportable laptops and mediocre tablets, but for people who need a laptop that’s as small and light as a tablet, 2-in-1 devices are perfect.
Now that the iPad has more capabilities such as its file management capabilities, the iPad will only get more powerful over time. That means the traditional laptop will be in danger of getting overtaken by the iPad just as netbooks were overwhelmed by the original iPad. The days of laptops are numbered.
As further evidence that the iPad can replace a laptop, Apple’s processors are getting more powerful, rivaling even Intel’s low-end processors used in the MacBook Pro laptop. As the processors in the iPad grow in power, expect the iPad to start cannibalizing laptop sales. People will see that a laptop that acts like a mediocre tablet will never be as useful as a tablet that acts like a superior laptop. The iPad Pro isn’t quite able to replace laptops, but that’s the future and it’s clear the iPad is targeting the same market as laptops.
Your next laptop will probably still be a laptop, but the replacement for that new laptop will likely be a tablet. Laptops are the only major growth market in the PC industry and once the iPad starts eating into sales of laptops like they ate into sales of netbooks, expect the laptop market to collapse and wither away. People will still need laptops, but they might not always want or need a Windows laptop any more.