On the “Tablets Aren’t Real Computers” Myth

David Pogue, in his review of the Surface Pro for The New York Times (emphasis mine):

Everybody knows what a tablet is, right? It’s a black touch-screen slab, like an iPad or an Android tablet. It doesn’t run real Windows or Mac software — it runs much simpler apps. It’s not a real computer.

The “it’s not a ‘real’ computer” part is such crap; Pogue’s better than that.

The iPad is a computer; so, too, is the iPhone. While iOS and the Mac share the same bloodline (OS X), everyone realizes that each OS is better and easier at some tasks than the other. But this idea that the iPad isn’t a “real” computer because it doesn’t run Mac-quality apps is narrow-minded bullshit. The so-called “experts” on the home shopping networks perpetuate this myth as well, saying that tablets are more for consumption than creation, and that you “need” a full-fledged computer to get work done. That may be true for the bargain-bin, junky Android tablets1 that they sell, but it sure as hell isn’t true of the iPad.

As usual, John Gruber nails it regarding this, saying:

Anyone who thinks OS X and Windows PCs are “real” computers and that the iPad (and Android tablets) are anything less just isn’t getting it. There are many valid ways to fill in the blank in “The iPad doesn’t run ____ software”, but “real” isn’t one.


  1. Where by “bargain-bin” and “junky”, I mean any Android tablet not made by Amazon or Google.  ↩