Among famous analogies, is your Mac a car or a truck? If it’s a car, then what is an iPad which is almost a PC? A bicycle? A motorbike? Or, to carry the analogy along, is the Mac now a truck and the iPad a car?
I ask the questions because I ran across exactly such an argument in an article’s comments section. One commenter argued that the iPad was so underpowered relative to a Mac, that it was, indeed, a bicycle. Another argued that the Mac was now a truck, and another thought the iPad is a bike.
What do you think? But before you answer the question, take note of what Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said a year or so before he died in 2011.
When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farms. Cars became more popular as cities rose, and things like power steering and automatic transmission became popular. PCs are going to be like trucks. They are still going to be around. One out of x-people will need them.
Jobs missive was centering around the so-called post-PC era which was already upon us back in 2010. Make no mistake about it, the post-PC era is here. And it’s not the iPad. It’s the iPhone and the smartphone generation. Mobile devices rule the computer world.
So, I can understand the car vs. truck analogy. Early computers were room-sized and required their own system administrators. Because those devices did all the heavy lifting, they were trucks. The earliest of personal computers, even before the Mac, could be considered cars. They couldn’t do all the heavy computational requirements of a mainframe, but they could bring personal computing to the masses.
One response from the comment section argument I read earlier in the week deemed iPads to be bicycles. The Mac was still a car. If so, what’s a truck? A supercomputer? If so, what’s an iPhone?
That’s where blanket analogies become a bit problematic. But let’s assume that supercomputers– modern day equivalents of the mainframes from yesteryear, are no longer trucks, but have evolved into, say, ships; even spaceships.
That makes the Mac and most personal computers– from high end workstations running Linux to desktops and notebooks running Windows 10 to anything running macOS– trucks. I say trucks and not cars because there are more cars than trucks on the planet, and there are more mobile devices– smartphones and tablets– than there are personal computers.
The evolution of analogies allows us to take a definition and move it around to fit our needs. Where Macs were once the cars, relative to larger and more powerful computer devices as trucks, the Mac has become the truck. That means mobile devices are now cars, and as cars they’re more mobile, still powerful, very useful in a personalized way, but they still can’t do the heavy computational requirements met by a Mac or Windows PC.
Try editing a video on an iPhone’s screen vs. using Final Cut Pro on a Mac and you’ll get the idea.
iPhone and iPad? Those are today’s cars. Mac and Windows 10 PCs? Those are trucks.
Watch? That’s the bicycle.