Essentially, I’ve been saving for a high-end laptop/desktop replacement that could handle virtualization, lots of storage, video editing, you name it. My MacBook just isn’t cutting it anymore. So what does that have to do with the iPad, or any other tablet for that matter? The idea of “the screen” and everything the iPad represents means that lugging around one of those slick Core i7 laptops I’ve been eying up is probably a recipe for obsolescence.
This is a subtle push for cloud computing, which strikes me as a return to the days of mainframe machines and a terminal at your desk. While the cloud does free one from limits in storage and computing power (as long as you pay the fees) it does mean that the cloud servers (meaning the government) have unlimited access to all your data without needing a warrant (an issue I have with the online backup services as well).
The problem with cloud computing is that the cloud can be switched off far more easily and selectively than the internet as a whole. Opponents of global dictatorship have warned of the shutting down of the internet for some time, but that is no longer practical. Far too much commerce uses the net for it to ever go away, and attempts at censorship have been less than 100% effective.
But in the event of a "national emergency" (Trademark, White House) the cloud servers could shut down access to any predetermined set of functions for any predetermined groups of users. That iPad or screen or netbook instantly becomes little more than a TV set with extra buttons, and your personal data is no longer available to you.
I like standalone computers for the same reason I would want to keep my money (if I had any) out of the bank. I do not recognize the government's right to loot or to shut down my computers.