The Difference Between “Right” and “Right for Me”

I’ve been a multi-device user for a long time. In high school, I used an iPod, a flip phone, and the shared family desktop computer.

The purpose for each device was fairly clear. If I wanted to tell a friend I was coming over, my device choice was clear. I wasn’t going to go to my computer and send an email (although MSN messenger could have been a viable option, assuming we were both online). Odds were, I would grab my cell phone and either sends text or i my friend to let them know I was on my way.

If I wanted to listen to music, I had more options. I could use the computer and iTunes to listen to music (assuming I was at home and sitting at the computer), I could pop in earbuds and listen to music on my iPod, or I could go “old school” and listen to the radio or CDs. In reality, the most complicated device decision I had to make was where and how I wanted to listen to music.

Through college, the same was more or less true. My iPod was still my default music playing device, although I had a laptop that untethered me slightly from my high school days. I was still using a “basic” phone – just calls, texting and a camera. There was very rarely a question about what “the right device” was, if I had a paper to write, I wasn’t doing it on an LG Rumor or a Motorola ROKR.

Then, things changed.

When Apple launched the iPhone, it began to blur some of those lines, though. Now the iPhone could be used in place of an iPod or an email device. It became more about what devices was situationally more convenient. iPod sales began to slow as more and more smartphones offered an integrated music player and easy music library management.

In 2010 the iPad was announced and it found its way into the multi-device lifestyle of many people. The iPhone was powerful enough for small tasks, the iPad was better for long-form reading and writing, and the Mac (or any computer) was the place to do more detailed, power-intensive work.

Fast forward just a few short years, and we got iPhones with larger displays. This enabled “bigger” work to be done on an iPhone. Not only could you email or text or browse the web and social media on an iPhone – you could edit photos, audio, or video. You could create and edit spreadsheets and presentations. With a few choice apps, you could create, edit, and deploy code or remotely administer a server. It wasn’t an ideal experience in some cases, but it was sufficient in a pinch.

At the same time, the iPad was getting better. More apps took advantage of the power and even the bigger screen. Third-party accessory makers started creating fancy stands, cases, and keyboards. Then the iPad got iOS 9. Now the iPad could do two things at once. It was more capable than an iPhone, but not quite a traditional computer.

iOS 9 became the start of a tipping point in the tech journalism industry. The iPad could do enough computer stuff to get work done. Apps like Workflow helped to fill in some gaps and allow for better inter-application communication. The iPad was still generally viewed as inferior – a second class citizen in the computer world – but (contrary to sales numbers) it was growing.

Then the iPad Pro happened, and not long after, iOS 11. Now, the iPad could do 3 things at a time. You could quickly drag data between apps. Pairing apps was easier. The files app allowed for easy document access (mostly). The line between iPad and Computer was beginning to blur with iOS 9. Now the line is gone.1 Left behind is personal preference.

Now that there are multiple devices, all capable of performing the same task, the idea of a distinct device for a specific thing is fading. The right device is either the one you have available, or the one that offers the experience you prefer. There isn’t a “right device for a job”. There is a “right device for a job for you”. Whether it’s an app you like better on iOS, or a process that you are personally more efficient at doing on a computer, it’s no longer about what is correct, it’s about what is comfortable.

The iPod was just a music player. The Motorola RAZR was just a phone and texting device. Devices aren’t so simple anymore. They are a multi-tool of computing. The iPhone is a pocket sized computer, and nobody seems to push back on that. Why are we still arguing about whether or not the iPad is computer?

It does computer things. The interface may be different, but the same is true of macOS vs Windows. Instead of fighting about whether you can do real work on an iPad, maybe we should be asking ourselves the more important question – What’s a computer?2

The iPad 3 – Announcement-Day Eve

this post was inspired by the mashable article “What if everything we think we know about the next iPad is wrong”

With all the off-the-wall speculation, rumors, claims, “insider” details, and the like – I figured it was my turn to share some insight into what I believe the next generation iPad will include.

Reports have claimed things like a lack of home button, 4G/LTE connectivity, a super hi-res Retina display, iOS 6, a new moniker (iPad HD), a new price point, and so much more… but here’s the truth in what to expect.

On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, Apple will release the ePad (as a throwback to the old eBooks & eMacs). The ePad will be a 7.5″ Windows 8 tablet with a surprisingly low resolution (similar to the 1st generation iPod Touch). It will come in 1 size – 4GB. It won’t have 4G/LTE… or 3G for that matter. It will only be available with WiFi – but limited to WiFi 802.11 a/b… no 802.11 g/n. This tablet will form a new partnership between Apple and Microsoft that will allow Apple to slowly start a downward spiral.

In all likelihood, Apple won’t release a new iOS ever again, and will soon shut down the App store all together to push for more HTML5 based web-apps & will use the Windows marketplace as their sole distribution center.

The likelihood that Apple will drop the home button is not likely, and I assume that Apple will actually throw back to the original iPod (remember that one… with all the buttons… yeah… that one…) and will have a button to perform nearly every normal function on the device. The device will no longer be touch sensitive as a way to make room for the Serial ATA hard drive and the hatch for the D-cell batteries. Apple will also limit syncing to a new cable, only available to customers for use within Apple retail locations, with a Genius appointment. These cables won’t be sold in to consumers, which will further strangle Apple as a company.

All of this great new technology and these fantastic new features will be available immediately after the announcement event at the startling price of $189.99 (to compete with the Kindle Fire).

So what do you think? Will you be picking one up? I know I’ll be 1st in line!


P.S. This is all sarcasm… just want to point out how RIDICULOUS some rumors can be… how 1 person saying some is from a credible source can really spin things out of control.

Tomorrow will be another fantastic event, and I seriously can’t wait to see what Apple has in store for us. My prediction is just as good as any – but I’m guessing the following

  • Retina display
  • WiFi/3G (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Unlocked)
  • (Maybe) 4G-LTE
  • Possible elimination of the home button for touch sensitive buttons (similar to many Android devices – or better yet, Palm style touch area)
  • 16/32/64 GB options
  • I don’t foresee iOS 6, since 5 is so new… maybe some big new features in a 5.3 (similar to 4.3 from 4.1?)
  • No change in price, although the iPad 2 may drop in storage size (like the iPhone 4 did when the 4S was released) and the iPad 2 would be come the “affordable” version

Anything else Apple gives us in the new iPad will be a surprise to us all… tomorrow will tell!