The iPad is ushering in a new era of computing where user choice is limited to a few highly relevant “computing experiences”, say researchers at Forrester.
Consumer computing will become more like corporate computing, where user access is limited by authorisation, application functionality restricted to the task in hand, and "customer journeys" on e-commerce sites are carefully pre-planned.
The analyst firm calls this trend “curated computing”, where the curator, as in an art gallery, defines the visitor experience by choosing the works displayed, their environment and the route the visitor takes from one to the other. Thus the iPad, despite being dismissed by other commentators as “the world's most expensive rectangle”, has profound implications for designers of the next generation of computing experiences, including devices and websites, says Forrester.
“We're leaving an era where Windows on a laptop meant you could do anything with it, and go anywhere [on the web] with it,” says Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps in her blog. “We're entering an era where consumers have less choice but the experience the device delivers is more relevant.”
Other examples of curated computing include the dashboard of the Microsoft Xbox and widget-based web-enabled TVs.
“We think it’s the secret sauce for making tablets that consumers want to use and buy, and it will be necessary to empower future form factors like wearable devices,” says Rotman Epps.
This trend could favour “ control freaks like Steve Jobs”, she added.