I’ll venture a guess. By bringing together calculation and social interaction, numbers and people, judgement and logic, the iPad may rejuvenate financial exchanges, making them more calculative. And also reinvigorate trading rooms in banks, freeing arbs from their chains of their desks….
New affordances create new needs. The challenge is to imagine those needs before they arise. Interestingly, Steve Jobs does not get this simple point. Or at least that’s what I got from watching his presentation of the iPad. For the tablet to be justified, Jobs said, it should let you browse the web better than a computer and a phone. Actually, it’s the opposite. The tablet should focus on new things that only a widescreen mobile wireless device can do. Social web browsing, for instance. Or situated problem-solving. Marrying mobility and Excel, flicker and pubs.
The whole thing is well worth reading. To me, it's a very nice example of how people interested in information technology and the future should think: a thoughtfulness about the many and various (and sometimes contradictory) ways technologies are used in the workplace, an awareness of the importance of affordances and ergonomics, and a willingness to think about the various ways technologies could play out in a context. Far too often futurists think about technology's impact in terms that are at once overly narrow and overreaching– e.g., "the next turn of Moore's Law will bring about a collapse of the pet food industry!"– and don't do justice to contingency and agency.