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iPads + MacMini as home terminals


iPF Noob
Feb 7, 2010
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As with most iPad uses/setups this is perhaps extreme speculation. However based on the various Remote Desktop and Virtual Network Computing (VNC) options that are available to the iPod/iPhone I see the possible return of terminal style computing. In my experience with my iPod Touch and JaaduVNC (as well as RemoteTap) a setup that uses a MacMini (or any PC) as a central server with iPads connecting to it could be a viable household alternative to giving everyone in the family their own computer or laptop. This requires several bits of software to execute in a practical form.

First is VNC or Remote Desktop applications being allowed on the iPad. I do hope Apple does not banish these programs from the iPad's Apps Store. Remote Desktop and computer control seem like a perfect way to expand the iPad's utility in ways the device along can't handle.

Second multiple user desktop remote access. I am not familiar with the Windows options but I did find Testplant.com's VineServer of the OSX side. I have not tested it as yet but it looks like what is needed.

This really hinges on how well the iPad A4 processor can handle the decompression and rendering lag needed for VNC use. If the iPad can handle such Remote Desktop use, Apple would be foolish IMO not to look at supporting this kind activity in OSX proper (as there are technical issues in running multiple users at once), especially if they market it for use on something like a household MacPro or other powerhouse Mac.


iPF Noob
Feb 3, 2010
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Dublin, CA

Great post! You bring up a good point. I'm an IT/Networking/Security consultant and I can tell you I see a little bit an increasing trend towards terminal style computing in the corporate world. These days they're calling it Desktop Virtualization.

But the basic idea is the same. Companies can benefit from cost savings and power savings by no longer upgrading users' desktop PC's to expensive, powerful ones. Instead have them use their existing PC's for much longer before replacing them and have them access a virtual desktop over the network. Or they can replace their current PC's with much cheaper PC's with good screens that consume less power overall. The virtual desktops are hosted on a server farm or an internal cloud, which use virtualization technologies that can be optimized for faster processing, less power consumption in the data center, and provide better reliability.

I agree with what you say. And I personally hope for the same, that my iPad could be my portable terminal to access Mac, Windows, and Linux machines from anywhere. I think Apple would only lose iPad sales if they don't support this kind of functionality.


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