I swear I have no plans to dedicate this blog to links to John Gruber’s Daring Fireball, but he has another nice post up on the iPad and its implications. It’s worth reading whether you’re as giddy over the device as he is or are taking a wait-and-see approach–or even if you’re profoundly skeptical about the whole idea.
Gruber talks about the abstraction represented by the iPad–the way its interface shields the user from the minutia of the fact it’s a computing device in a way that no traditional computer does. He uses a car metaphor:
That’s where Apple is taking computing. A car with an automatic transmission still shifts gears; the driver just doesn’t need to know about it. A computer running iPhone OS still has a hierarchical file system; the user just never sees it.
Eventually, the vast majority [of computers] will be like the iPad in terms of the degree to which the underlying computer is abstracted away. Manual computers, like the Mac and Windows PCs, will slowly shift from the standard to the niche, something of interest only to experts and enthusiasts and developers.
If he’s right–and I think he is–the change is going to be less revolutionary than evolutionary. With computers, interface changes are nearly always about abstraction.