Anyone who's read what I've written in the past knows that I've always been a die hard Mac user. I've noticed a change recently, however, in my own approach to computers that I think may reflect a larger ongoing trend. Last year, I bought an Asus Eee PC, largely because it was cheap, small, and very hackable. I added a touchscreen, an extra flash drive, and installed both Ubuntu and XP on the Eee. Suddenly, I was finding this small laptop, running on hardware that reflected more closely a computer I'd had several years before, an appealing platform. Why?
Partially because of its hackability, of course.
After using my Eee for close to a year alongside a Mac Pro and a Macbook at work, I realized that besides the size of the screens and keyboards I was using, there wasn't fundamentally anything drastically different between the 3 computers. So much of what I do day in and day out on my computer has migrated to the cloud. I'm a Google Apps junkie, I love Google Reader, I use Evernote religiously, I have Sitebar hosted alongside my blog for all my bookmarks, I have the majority of my pictures floating on Flickr, I have all my media backed up on Amazon S3, and, for the most part, if all my computers suddenly exploded / melted / were stolen, I'd still have most of the things I use floating out there online.
Besides moving so much of my workflow to the cloud, I've also moved a lot of it off of the computer and onto my iPhone. The iPhone, much like the Eee, has trained me over the past year to make do with a small screen, less processing power, a browser, and email. Less is more.
Today, I took another step towards being platform independent. I recently left my job and had to leave my Mac Pro and Macbook with the company. For the last week, I've been using my Eee for the majority of my computing and stealing my wife's Macbook from time to time. I like to draw and had been saving up money to purchase a Modbook computer, but $2400 for such a specialty computer wouldn't be the best choice given that I *will* need a keyboard. Suddenly it hit me: why not get a regular Tablet PC on the cheap? Dealnews happened to have a coupon to get the already reasonably priced HP Pavilion tx2500z AMD Dual Core 2.2GHz 12" Touchscreen Tablet Laptop for less than a grand with a bunch of upgrades thrown in. So I ordered it. My first tablet PC, my first machine with Vista, and my first computer running on an AMD chip.
Apple is gaining market share, they passed Google in net worth this week, and I think aside from the success of the iPod and the iPhone and their consumer brands pulling interest towards their platform, Apple is actually benefiting from the same phenomenon that made me realize I could move away from being an Apple only type of guy. People aren't as concerned with the OS their computers are running anymore because they're more concerned with being able to connect to that killer app: the Internet. Whether your killer app is Facebook, Digg, delicious, Flickr, AIM, Gmail, Mahalo, or Pandora, chances are that it's part of the internet and it's online and you can get to it from any computer, no matter if it is a Mac or a PC.
That being said, when I do get my HP tablet, I already know that I will miss Skitch, since it's currently Mac only.
What do you think? Am I on to something here? Is Mac vs. PC becoming irrelevant because of the maturing of the internet as a platform and cloud computing?