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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

What’s a real computer?

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.


I like Satya Nadella. I think he’s been a good leader for Microsoft. He’s building a Microsoft that’s more open to innovation and change and letting go of a lot of old ways of thinking. In the late Ballmer era, Microsoft did some incredibly inventive things, only to have them kneecapped by its CEO’s Old Microsoft way of thinking.

That all said, this was stupid:

As he walked into the room along with Microsoft India head Anant Maheshwari, Nadella spots that I and a colleague have iPads and cheerfully says, “You need to get a real computer, my friend.”

Amazingly, today Apple released this ad, titled “What’s a computer?”, in which a kid uses an iPad Pro in countless ways. It feels… familiar.

When I wake up in the morning, and before I go to bed at night, my iPad Pro is a tablet that’s easy to hold while I’m reading Twitter or Slack or newspapers or websites.

When I travel, my iPad Pro is a laptop, letting me work anywhere by opening up the clamshell and getting started.

When I’m looking for a change of pace while writing at home, my iPad Pro sits on a granite countertop in a stand with an external mechanical keyboard. 1

When I’m not sure what I’ll face as I roam, I’ll bring my iPad Pro with a slightly thicker cover knowing that I can fold it out and turn it into a keyboard at a drop of a hat.

What’s a real computer? My iPad Pro is whatever I want it to be.

  1. The Apple USB-Lightning Camera Adapter is a pretty useful thing to have around. 

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