Ben Bajarin:

What is fascinating about what is happening with tablets is that consumers may not be choosing them as a PC replacement. In fact, I am certain this is not the case for most consumers, at least not yet.  They are choosing them for the very reason that Microsoft wants to mock them for.  They are choosing tablets because they primarily want to use them for consumption and entertainment.  Tablets are easy to use and they have fun and relax while using them. But what happens when they realize they can also use them for more productivity and creativity tasks? What happens when they realize the tablet is capable of the tasks they used to depend on their PC for?  What happens when they become aware, as I did, that a keyboard option (if you need it) can actually start serving their basic computing needs? What happens when they realize the touch interface and the software built for it is actually easier to use? Will they start doing more with this tablet? I believe the answer is yes.

I keep coming back to this thought regarding the power and usefulness of the iPad as a PC: it rests not so much iOS itself so much as it does in the 3rd-party apps. We don’t need a more powerful and feature-rich version of iOS as much as we need a sustainable marketplace for people to make apps like Diet Coda, Editorial, OmniFocus, PDF Expert, et al.

Update: Federico Viticci points out on Twitter that it’s a bit of chicken-or-the-egg scenario:

Sustainable marketplace needed, but more of those apps can’t happen without new features for devs. The hoops that Editorial and PDF Expert have to go through for basic stuff like file exchanging make devs lose time == money.

Agreed. As iOS gets more advanced features, functionalities, and APIs, it will make the development process more efficient. However, even with advancements in iOS, envisioning and building an app like Diet Coda will still take substantial effort and skill. And, I hope the 3rd-party developers will always be pushing the bar upwards of what sort of apps are capable of running on iOS. If Apple brings a solution to the basic stuff like file exchanging, what will be the new hoops that developers chose to go through in order to innovate for their app?

If 3rd-party devs stop innovating, stop pushing the boundaries, and stop going through hoops, then that’s when we know there’s trouble for the future of iOS as a thriving platform for personal computing.

What Kind of a Computer Is That?