Tech Devil: New iPad Takes Us One Step Closer to Post-PC Future

Yesterday morning the third and newest generation iPad was announced. There was much speculation over whether it would be called iPad 3 or iPad HD, due to the higher-resolution screen, but neither was the case. This wasn’t a mind blowing announcement. Many people in the tech world had a solid idea of what changes were being made and seemed to be disappointed. Apparently, the fact that their iPad doesn’t allow them to teleport is making them angry. There was even an issue of whether or not it would have the usual home button. It’s pretty pathetic that with all the problems in the world, people are worried the new iPad may not have had a home button. Well it did, so we can keep pushing back doomsday on our calendars.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook introduces the new iPad. Photo from Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images.

A simple list of the improvements and upgrades in the new iPad include bringing the Retina Display of the iPhone 4 to the iPad. This might not seem like much but word is that the screen just looks better than previous versions. It has a new camera, faster processor (A5X chip), and 4G LTE capability. Apple claims the battery life won’t take a serious hit when on 4G, which is commonplace on most 4G-enabled devices. The announcement also brought the iOS 5.1 update and an enhanced iLife suite for the iPad.

This all may seem relatively unexciting, and for the most part it is. But the growth of the iPad is showing how much closer we’re getting to what’s referred to as the post-PC era. The traditional desktops and laptops that we know of today are changing. Apple stated that they sold 172 million post-PC devices in the fourth quarter of 2011. That includes iPads and, from what I can tell, iPhones. Post-PC is the growth of tablets and smartphones. Both of these devices can do almost anything a standard PC can do. The phone in your hand was probably more powerful than the one they used to send a man to the moon.

The post-PC era won’t mean that desktop computers and laptops will disappear, though I believe we will see a drop-off of sales and production. With cloud storage growing like crazy, software improvements and OS unification, and the ability to use a physical keyboard with the iPad, there’s almost no need to buy a laptop anymore. In some industries this may not be a good move, but for average consumers we’re starting to see a shift toward these devices becoming the dominant ones in our lives. Over the next five or 10 years people will, more often than not, choose a tablet or smartphone instead of a laptop.

Knowing how Apple innovates, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a complete unification of their Macbook line and iPad by 2014 or 2015. The new iPad is like the iPhone 4S. It provided some modest upgrades that will probably not stick out to many people but it’s a necessary and important step toward a post-PC era that will undoubtedly be an amazing time to live in.