I watched him as he focused his attention on game play, moving his eyes and fingers side to side. Level 10…level 11…level 12..new high score! He’s been on the iPhone for over an hour; something his parents aren’t thrilled about but will take the quiet time when they can get it. After all, 3 year olds can be a handful. Yes, my 3 year-old nephew is an iPhone gaming pro.
I’ve been mulling over whether the coming rush of touch tablets coming to market later this year will mark the future of computing or if they’ll continue to be a novel gadget appealing only to a niche audience of users. iPad sales are through the roof with 2 million in the first 60 days, but a hot product doesn’t spell a consumer revolution. New innovation replacing existing products wholesale is what dictate a new future (think LCD monitors replacing CRTs). In 10 years will we all be using tablets?
What happens when you give a 3 year-old an iPad and let him play with it for a few hours and then take it away and give him a netbook? He looks at it confused and then asks for the iPad back or he’ll throw a tantrum. Just like I expect to be able to do virtually anything online, he expects to be able to do anything by touching the screen. To him, the experience isn’t new and exciting, it’s just the way it is. Anything else doesn’t make sense.
Of course, the consumer behavior of my generation will dictate whether tablets cause a revolution. The more you can do and the easier you can do it on a tablet, the more likely we’ll be ready to ditch the laptops we’re used to. The more we buy the more our kids enjoy. The more our kids enjoy, the more we’re likely to buy. There’s already helpful sites, like iPadfor Kids, advising parents on the benefits of the iPad and apps for kids.
Just like the rush of ideas, applications, and platforms that made the web a natural part of our lives, the rush of developers working to bring great ideas, experiences, and platforms to tablets have the power to make tablets the new digital ecosystem device.
To my nephew’s generation it’s natural already.