The network is the computer - and the iPhone the monitor
I think we are at the brink of an development, that leads at final to the fullfilment of the vision of John Gage: The Network is the computer. This blog entry is a summary of some comments i´ve made in the last few days in my blog and in discussions. There were several comments, that the iPhone will fail, because of it´s lack of an open programming interface. But all this critics looks at the wrong angle. You don´t need an open programming interface when you have network connectivity and a browser. Because your applications run on central server resources. And the quote of Steven Jobs “Nobody uses Java” makes sense from a special point of view. Do you know a actual application in the nternet that uses a Java GUI? And i have several customers that think about web-enabled interfaces for their core applications. When you look at this angle to the iPhone, all things get clear: Applications you need local … the basic communication infrastructure is installed as local programms. The browser, the mail client, the address book, the calendar. Stuff, you possibly need even without network access. For all the rest, you use the internet, or your own networks: Bookmarks? del.icio.us! RSS Feeds? Google Reader! You get the idea? You don´t need expandibilty on your phone. You need a stable, comfortable internet plattform. Your application runs somewhere else. In a more effective manner. Example: Syncing the RSS clients on dozens of workstations? You don´t need it anymore. As there runs a single instance of your environment on a central server, you don´t have the problem of syncing. I don´t want another client, that has to synchronize it´s read/unread information. As i use regulary four devices (lorien (my Nokia E61), hadhafang (my Mac Mini), silmarillion (my venerable G4 Powerbook) and Sun Ray Server with a really boring name) this would get really nasty. To be honest … even syncing NetNewsWire between hadhafang and silmarillion doesn´t really sync in realtime. It´s a mess to use two machines in parallel, don´t speak about four. Google Reader solves the problem. It was no coincidence that the CEO of Google and Yahoo were on stage with his Steveness. Both companies drive forward the concept of central applictations in the network. I have the impression, that most of the industry pundits didn´t understand the concept behind the iPhone. It´s smartphone for the rest of us. It´s a mobile keyboard,mouse and monitor. It´s not your computer. Your computer is in the network. The network is your computer. PS: When you think about it, the bet of Sun makes perfectly sense: Central IT for millions of user is parallelism to the extreme. Niagara, Niagara II and Rock are designed to be the technological spine for such a world. Maybe not the fastest on asingle task, but this will be your smallest problem in the future.