During the iPad 3 announcement Apple spent a lot of time emphasizing that they view the iPad as the vanguard of a post-PC era. That term, post-PC, gets bantered around in the press a lot but I’m not sure if many journalists really think about what would make something post-PC. While reading the various reviews of the iPad released last night I was struck by the one feature of the new iPad that will make it the first computer capable of delivering a truly post-PC experience, LTE.
To say something is post-[something] requires that we have eliminated something in gaining something new. In this case it is about removing anachronisms and the dead weight carried by old technology. The iPad could be counted on this score in a variety of ways. It removes the need for a keyboard, mouse, external display. It provides almost no physical connections and instead provides iCloud to move and manage your data. It simplifies the process of discovering great software and removes the hassle of managing your device’s integrity with sandboxing.
At first I thought the addition of high-speed LTE cellular data for the iPad was just a feature bump, a ‘clarification’ to the existing feature set of the iPad. Something added to give tech bloggers something to write about, but in reality it would have little impact on how the device is used.
In Jason Snell’s review of the iPad 3 he includes a chart showing that transfer speeds over LTE are comparable to what most people would expect over home WiFi. That simple observation I think fundamentally changes how people can interact with the world and it is the iPad that will lead the way.
The remarkable thing about adding LTE to the iPad is that now Apple has removed the need to even have internet service in your home to have a fully capable digital life. Someone who is seeking to get online now simply needs to walk into an Apple Store, spend $629 and signup for a $20/month data plan and they are done. That’s it. Your entire digital life is now contained a single box.
The barrier to having a rich, meaningful and connected digital life is now around $869 for your first year, and then $240/year thereafter. That is substantially less than almost any other in home setup. Apple has created a device that can finally offer a truly end-to-end integrated experience. With software, hardware and now broadband networking all without ever leaving your iPad screen.