What will it be?

Tuesday was a frustrating day.  My iPad had become so slow in functioning that I was ready to drive into town and throw it into the river.  Of course, there were many things wrong with that solution but when you become used to something that “just works” and it becomes “just works – slowly” or “just works – after apps fail to load three or four times”, you have to wonder.

Then, I remember the advice given to me by John Rampelt about needing to wiping and restoring the device periodically.  So, I did.  Hours and hours later, I had a functioning iPad again and it does seem to perform better; there’s more memory available to me and AlphaBetty loaded on the first click.  I sent a sympathy message to my technician friends who have complained to me about maintaining class sets.  I do understand.

Now, in the spirit of openness, the device is an iPad2 and I’ve kept the operating system updated every time an update comes along because of the claims of improved performance and security. I’ve lost track of how many newer/faster versions have been released and tonight there’s yet another.

At one point in time, I had mused that this iPad would be the device of the future for me.  And the timing of all this really put reading this article in context for me.

Should you get an iPad Pro or a MacBook?

Earlier in the week, I had read this article as well.

Apple has learned nothing from Microsoft’s Surface

There’s a great deal to ponder with both of these articles.  Actually, when I was considering the “device of the future” deal, I had gone out and bought myself a Kensington cover for the iPad.  Besides being a cover, it was also a Bluetooth keyboard.  I do so much typing – I tried typing on glass but I paid way too much attention in Grade 9 Typing.  I know where my keyboard is and the smooth spots, including where the right thumb only hits the space bar, are a testament to that.  The keyboard is nice in design but I have trouble typing on a rubbery keyboard and there’s no right shift key.  If my proofreaders think my posts are bad now, imagine one with only capital letters on half of the post!

But, there are a couple of other things that would stop me from making this concept my permanent machine.  At the recently concluded BIT Conference, I had a chance to use a Microsoft Surface and it’s the same scenario, nicely covered in the second article.

  • There’s only one angle for the screen.  I never realized just how much I tip my laptop screen depending upon the lighting
  • It requires a hard surface to sit on, for stability.  I still use my laptop on my lap periodically
  • When I’m serious about productivity, I love the fact that there’s a mouse over there.  I get touch screens and there’s a place for them but not as a permanent replacement
  • It’s really light though.  I could see me carrying that around very easily

At least all of this for me.

Then, there’s the operating system.  Do you choose a desktop OS or a mobile one?  Recently Google announced that it would be focusing more on Android development.  One OS for all devices, with the desktop functionality makes a great deal of sense.  My other tablet is running Windows 10 and it’s joy to use.  It’s the same environment on that tablet or this computer should I boot it into Windows 10.  The Ubuntu operating system is built with both desktop and mobile in mind.  It’s just difficult to find and purchase the device(s) that do it. 

I remember the good ol’ days.  We had a computers running DOS or Windows and upgrades were done to take advantage of a faster processor and that was about all the decision you needed to make.  Processor and RAM.  The computer itself was beige and it didn’t move without a great deal of effort. 

Now, there are so many good options.  Is the PC dead as folks would have you believe?  Is the future really mobile?

From this chair, I don’t presently see a clear cut solution.  I see an industry that’s struggling to find the answer.  I also completely understand that it’s not in the foreseeable future.  The current products, the latest and shiniest, will fund the research and development of where we might end up eventually.  Will the future have the one device that does it all?  Or will we still need a couple for home and on the road?

I don’t have the answer.  Do you?

4 thoughts on “What will it be?

  1. As long as device type introduces restrictions on performance, we will have different types. Need a big screen? Not portable. Need light and portable? Isn’t fast (or isn’t cheap). Need a tactile keyboard? Can’t be “just” a tablet. Need precision pointing? Touching the screen with my fat digit won’t suffice.
    A friend told me about a principal who wanted to remove all computers in a school and replace them all with iPads. Imagine if ALL of the computers were replaced by iPads, including the principal’s laptop, the secretary’s desktop, and so. I think the frustration level would be rather high, leaving along the fact that the SIS probably doesn’t have an app.
    Of course, all this will go away when we have mutable nanobot computers which reconfigure upon request, or whatever other devices our robot overlords grant us.🙂

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  2. I really like the adjustments in the stand of my Surface Pro 3 and would hate to have just one setting. And I agree that it is not always as easy as I’d like to use on my lap. That is a large part of while I’d like a Surface Book. In any case I really like having both a real keyboard and being able to use my current device as a tablet on occasion. My principal says he thinks the Surface is the ideal school device and I tend to agree. We could still use more educational apps that are optimized for touch though.

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