So I've been thinking, something I try to do every month or two just to keep the synapses from clogging, about the future of technology in the post-Jobs era. Because make no mistake, this entire industry has been basking in the glow coming from Cupertino for the last decade. And now it's over.
Not that I think Apple will stop making great products -- it won't. It's just that the products won't matter as much. We've had the miraculous life-changing shift to tablets, and we're done for the foreseeable future.
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(On that note, having used a tablet steadily for the past three months -- no, not an iPad, a 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab -- I can tell you that tablets are definitely not PC killers. They're handy for all kinds of situations where a PC is awkward -- reading my email or messing around on Facebook in bed, for example -- but that's about it. I never thought I'd pine for a QWERTY keyboard, but I do, which is why I'm writing this post on my netbook.)
Life is now divided into the Before Steve and After Steve epochs. In the After Steve era, hardware doesn't matter. Smaller, cheaper, faster, whatever -- been there, done that. The lackluster response to the insanely overhyped iPhone 4S debut proved it. The most impressive part of that whole demo was the Siri Voice Assistant that can understand plain English commands. The era of slobbering over every great new phone has unofficially ended. Software is the new king.
Actually, not even software, as we usually think of it. Apps -- little chunks of code that do one thing really well across any device you happen to encounter, whether you're carrying it in your pocket or they're embedded in the walls around you -- are the new black. And we've barely scratched the surface.