Betting on the Network

Just like last year, the "holiday" new computer season is upon us. This year's new and interesting machines are the Microsoft Surface Studio and Apple's new MacBook Pros -- I'm not going to venture a guess as to who picked the right approach to touch input (both, for all I know), but it feels like they continue to bet that form-factor and efficiency are more important than outright power for these machines. They are targeted at serious users, much like the iPad Pro was last year, but with performance that is not in line with the fastest hardware you can buy. The biggest, baddest, fastest hardware is still available for those that really need it (e.g., gamers), but it looks like the broader targeted machines favor user experience over outright power.

I do wonder if what we are seeing is a bet by Microsoft and Apple on the network: we haven't seen it materialize in the "Pro" software we use today, but that the next step is to move the heavy processing to the cloud -- just like software makers have learned to do for mobile devices. It's not a reality today, but given an always-available network connection and a near-infinity of compute power on the back end, how much horsepower do I need sitting in my lap or on my desk? Now that Microsoft is a big cloud player, they could see this as a win-win.

If this turns out to be their intent, I guess that we should start seeing hints to how they intend to offload computation from the client sooner rather than later... Something more granular and sophisticated than treating the client as he extent of the computing universe or like a dumb terminal at the other end of the scale (à la Google).

These are my opinions only. They are not those of my employer..