Well at last week's eResearch Australasia conference I periodically sneaked a peek at what other delegates were using. Given the sort of conference audience you get at computing events you'd expect them all to be technophiles, but it was quite interesting:
- roughly half the delegates in any presentation used pen and paper to take notes
- of the remaining half very few had full sized laptops
- there was a roughly 50/50 split between netbook users and ipad users
- most of the netbook users seemed to be running windows 7 (based on a small sample size generated by shoulder surfing)
Item 3 - I guess it's what you would expect given we're over six months into the ipad frenzy. What's interesting is that of this highly computer literate audience not everyone had rolled over - some people clearly preferred being able to have a versatile machine they could type on.
Item 4 was a surprise - I'd have expected more linux users, but then most netbook linux interfaces are dumbed down in an effort not to scare the children and windows 7 is (a) pretty good and (b) has a massive software base - it's windows that has an app for everything - not Apple. And, having installed Ubuntu 10.10 on a computer, it's good, but comparing it to both my windows 7 and OS X machines, not better.
And that's a consequence of Microsoft having put the Vista disaster behind them - Vista was unbelievably clunky and XP was distinctly unslick, which made linux an attarctive option, especially as you could upgrade these XP machines to Linux without having to buy new hardware.
Times have moved on, most of that hardware has been replaced by natural attrition and W7 is the product Vista should have been making it a highly attractive option. And machines running W7 are a lot cheaper than Apple's offerings.
I could imagine a scenario, especially given the current economic climate, where Apple could see MacBook sales cannibalized both by the iPad by people who just want a content access device, and W7 from those who want a general purpose computer ...