Anyone reading this will be at least fairly familiar with the internet, and has learned to use wrestle with a computer. Some geeks like me are somewhat of a black belt at wrestling, and enjoy the experience. But most people aren't like that.They just want a computer to be invisible. They want the answers to their searches to be visible. They want to see all the photos they took on holiday last year. They don't want to worry about files or viruses or updates or even the applications themselves.Yes, the iPad is in some ways just a large iPod Touch. But the most intriguing part of the announcement to me was that Apple have ported the iWork suite to it. (For non-Apple types, that's the equivalent of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.) These are real get-business-done applications, not 'mere' video players or music players, or tip calculators, or neat games. (I mean no disrespect here: several billion app downloads show they are entertaining and/or useful, but they're not what most office or lab or creative types use in their work.)From what little I could see from the on-stage demos, Apple have managed to do away with the ubiquitous File/Edit/View menus. And more importantly, it seems, even the concept of files and folders themselves. If I have this right, this is showing us a new paradigm of computing. One where we don't need to wrestle with learning the black magic of precisely 'where' things are stored inside the computer. And then re-learning it for different applications, and re-learning it again when you have to upgrade something. This is a future where you need to know less about computers, and in some ways you can't fiddle around as much. The geeks will lose out, but the 'normal' user will only gain.Old World vs. New World Computing is a post that takes this same idea, and explains and expands on it very clearly.

AuthorJonathan Clark