Re: [NTLK] No New Newt

From: Lord Groundhog <>
Date: Thu Jan 17 2008 - 06:43:04 EST

~~~ On 2008/01/16 23:47, Norman Palardy at
wrote ~~~

> I got this reply about a similar post on another list.
> It's a reasonable anwwer to "What the hell is Apple thinking"
> Seems to me that the concepts included in the Air are more important
> than the machine itself. This may be the introduction to a new
> orientation in computing. It would not surprise me if Apple does not
> expect to sell many of these but rather wants to see how the public
> reacts.
> Look at what is presented in the Air:
> --What people are going to end up amounts to a wireless laptop
> dock. You set your Air down on your desk, and it wirelessly connects
> to the peripherals around it: the CD-DVD drive, the external HD, the
> router, the printer, the other computers on the network, and so on.
> I think this will catch on. Within a couple of years people will
> expect this. Plugging something into something else will be a thing
> of the past.
> I think also that within not very long, places like Kinkos and
> Staples and maybe even Starbucks will have stations with all the
> peripherals at them. You bring your Air in and set it down and they
> all connect.
> I think also, that this fosters a new idea about what constitutes a
> network. Now people think of the home network and their office
> network. They see them as things grounded in space. I think people
> are going to start getting more used to the idea of temporary
> networks that form spontaneously and ephemerally.
> You go into a coffee shop or a college student lounge and you not
> only automatically get access to the WiFi signal, you join the social
> network going on in the room, much the way people go see what's going
> on at a chat room or a social media site. People will probably
> expect this to happen also at events. A political demonstration is
> one obvious example, but it seems to me that it will happen at just
> about any gathering of a large number of people.
> Or in a work setting, I can picture a project going on in a
> conference room or something and people coming and going, bringing
> their computers and joining the network in the room to collaborate in
> the project. Over the course of a day, perhaps all the participants
> change, but the network and the project keeps operating as people
> join and leave.
> --Doesn't open. Until now, people thought of computers as a
> collection of parts. Want to upgrade? Fine. Take something out and
> put something else in. The Air breaks with that. Computer users
> don't open the case. It's more the way people relate to phones or a
> disposable lighters. It works or it doesn't. When it stops working,
> you throw it away and get another one.
> --Touch pad capabilities. Until now, touch pads did a few tricks
> besides moving a cursor around, but they were considered tricks. Now
> they are considered capabilities. One does not expect to find a
> touch pad that only moves the cursor any more than they would expect
> to find a new, one-button mouse. The Air makes this attitude
> official. Within a very short time, Apple keyboards for desktops
> will probably include touch pads. The mouse may be on the way out.
> --Solid state memory. Within a few years, having a disc spin will
> be as out of date as spinning an LP.
> Other features fit this same pattern.


For better or worse, it seems to me your response to the Air makes the most
sense out of what otherwise is a mystifying set of missing technology
options and the resultant missed opportunity to release a killer laptop.

Seen from the perspective of today's way of designing and using laptops the
Air is disappointing; my Pismo is better fitted out than the Air. But seen
from the perspective of where we could (and should??) aim to go with laptop
functionality, the Air starts to make sense. And I think you've mapped out
some of the possibilities nicely. The result is that one's laptop truly
becomes one's personal work station, from which whatever additional
resources are needed may be accessed from the immediate environment (that
is, once the rest of the world catches on and catches up). The only concern
here is that if one's laptop is going to be that "promiscuous" security will
have to become way-y-y-y better, or else we're looking looking at an
epidemic of e-AIDS: commercial espionage, torrential location-spamming,
hacking-counterhacking wars and casual vandalism ambushing people in ways
that would make us long for the "good old days" of

I have to take issue with one thing you said. "Computer users don't open
the case. It's more the way people relate to phones or a disposable
lighters. It works or it doesn't. When it stops working, you throw it away
and get another one." Errrr, no thanks. For the price of an Air, I want
"tweaking rights". Part of the genius of my Pismo is how easy it is to get
inside and fix stuff when needed. And come on! Changing the battery on an
electronic gzmo yourself, easily and cheaply (i.e., without a hefty
maintenance charge and that 2-week turn-around service) should be written
into the International Bill of Rights. And at least the option of getting
in there and swapping in a massive capacity HD without paying for a world
cruise for the entire Apple service department -- or being told, "you can't
do that".

But on the positive side when considered from its potential for changing how
we work, the Air starts looking almost StarTrekkian. Now if only it had a
stylus and digitizer-screen, HWR that really works, a battery life in excess
of a week, and if it were smaller -- say, 21.1cm H x 11.94cm W -- you know,
small enough to be hand-held ...but I digress. :)

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. I think I see the future.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

łAny sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a Newton.˛
            -- What Arthur C. Clarke meant to say
(With thanks to Chod Lang)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Fight Spam. Join EuroCAUCE:
Get MUGged and love it:
Join today:

The NewtonTalk Mailing List -
The Official Newton FAQ -
The Newton Glossary -
WikiWikiNewt -
Received on Thu Jan 17 06:43:30 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Jan 17 2008 - 10:30:00 EST