In the debate between tablets and desktops/laptops one thing that becomes apparent is the importance of power.
The ability to push applications and the OS to its limits, to tinker and customize, to get things done. For many “power” computer users tablets are toys and touch not condusive to “getting things done” like using the keyboard and mouse. Its one of the biggest reasons these users push back against Windows 8.
For an increasing amount of people tablets have become part of their computing lives. Companies like Square are using the iPad to get things done in business. There is now a mini industry around tablet keyboards and styli to enhance the productivity of tablets.
If you read the comments section of technology sites or Twitter you would see a warped view of technology and a lot of myopic views on how technology is used or should be used. The reality is people today are using smartphones, tablets, and PCs in a combination of ways to do work. No one denies the importance of traditional imputs like mice and keyboards (see how many keyboards are made for the iPad or the rise in keyboard docks). However the future of computing will be one in which traditional inputs become optional to the interaction. Touch, voice, and gestures provide feedback to the user not found in traditional computing. These new interfaces expand computing for users; it is often forgotten that for many people interacting with a PC or a Mac can be an intimidating process.
I think now is the time for power in computing to be rethought. With people buying tablets and smartphones in larger numbers expectations are changing. People are expecting to do more with these devices. At the same time we all are expecting and demanding better battery life; and this runs smack into our desire for more power. The solution is simple, rethink what it means to deliver power to users and that means asking questions. It means think about the interaction model and about factoring in battery life and performance. It won’t be easy or pretty but it will be necessary.