The naked robotic core

To get the full computing experience we must own multiple devices. We have desktops, laptops, smart phones, tables and chances are you own at least two of these. In many cases there are good reasons for this but I don’t think it necessarily needs to be that way.

Fortunately for me, I started trying to use my iPad more as a main device right before multi-tasking started improving and as Apple has improved it, I keep thinking I would really like it to be my main device. Currently there are few things that will stop that from ever being the case. First and foremost the inability to write code in any decent fashion means it can never be my only device. But hopefully, one day, that will change.

The other main thing isn’t what you’d suspect (multi-tasking is a big one for many people) but it’s form factor as a laptop or desktop replacement. The thing is you may have heard of terms like “naked robotic core” which sort of get at the the idea of what I’ve been wanting for some time and actually years, before any one else, I think Canonical had the idea best representation of name robotic core with their Ubuntu touch implementation. If you’re unaware of it, this old MKBHD video gives a good brief intro. But the basic idea was that your phone could dock and become a desktop as well. In addition to that I feel they were on to some really good UI design decisions. Unfortunately, it’s has never taken off. One, in the usual Linux fashion I do feel they’ve not been willing or able to see it through. Two, they’ve only really ever been able to put it only Android phones many of which will never have been up to the job. Hence many complaints about performance.

In an ideal world, the iPad would be the ideal device to pull this off. I think this makes perfect sense. The hardware in the iPad is something Apple excels at more than anyone else. Where has apple gone off the rails? Things like their keyboards but even without the keyboard issue why should you limit yourself to a laptop form factor? Of course, you don’t have to - you can by external keyboards, mice etc and of course laptops have docks. But the laptop form factor is unlikely to ever suit touch screens or be as portable as a tablet. As long as battery performance can’t be significantly increased the whole folding laptop / tablet design I think will always be clunky.

So why not make the tablet embrace the multi-mode functionality fully that was envisioned with Ubuntu touch? I believe this makes more sense and if done well, like using a standard common connector that manufacturers can relying on existing between devices then they can focus on the high quality docking / controls which many companies can do. Apple can then focus on the tablet and the processing power inside which no one else is particularly good at which is why the only really good smart watch available is the Apple Watch.