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Apple's product trajectories

In a well written and reasoned essay, John Gruber observes how Apple evolves their products after starting with a perfectly narrow new product definition.

Toward the end he brings us to the iPad saying:

That brings us to the iPad. Initial reaction to it has been polarized, as is so often the case with Apple products. Some say it’s a big iPod touch. Others say it’s the beginning of a revolution in personal computing. As a pundit, I’m supposed to explain how the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. But I can’t. The iPad really is The Big One: Apple’s reconception of personal computing.

Absolutely right.  The iPad is as big as it gets.

But in my way of thinking, the iPad itself is but a “rolling” of the original iPhone which itself was a “rolling” of the gesture-based UI that they gestated in Apple’s labs for more than five years.  That UI itself was made possible by the modular nature of OS X and the frameworks on top that have their roots in Next Step. Next Step itself owes a lot to Unix which was born in 1968.

via This is how Apple rolls | Tablets | Macworld.