(Original article written by Jason Snell on Six Colors)
Jason Snell (and his co-hosts on the Accidental Tech Podcast) suggests prioritizing a hierarchy of needs when wishing for features in the next generation Mac laptops. Features that can be solved with external adaptors or accessories therefore fall to the bottom of the list. As one would expect, he prioritized the keyboard and display since neither can be changed once the laptop has shipped.
Snell goes on to say that his travel device of choice is now an iPad - not a MacBook - which allows for a host of wireless keyboard alternatives. Modularity is something that’s often overlooked when examining the mobile industry. Laptops, as useful as they are for being “real computers,” are not very modular. Tablets have so many accessory options outside of Apple’s offerings. It’s very easy for users to choose a keyboard that feels right for them. Modularity may be a sleeper feature that pushes “post-PC devices” (I hate that term) ahead of traditional computing.
On the phone side, Samsung is leading the way with its Dex technology - allowing users to dock their phone with a monitor for a full desktop experience. The iPad Pro finally has USB C, allowing for screen mirroring. Just like the CPU/motherboard are the heart of a desktop computer, I suspect the phones and tablets of the world will soon take their place as the core compute units. Peripherals and external graphics could be compatible in the future. Upgrading your device will require upgrading the tablet unit, not the peripherals.
The obvious benefit to tech companies is that they can rely on third party manufacturers to provide an ecosystem of peripherals, freeing up time to focus on innovation in silicon.