Are we witnessing the end?

I can recall how impressed I was with mobile technology on Star Trek.  In particular, there was that tablet thing that would be passed around for stylus input.  Many things that we see and take for granted these days came from that wonderful show.  Even today, I still enjoy watching the reruns.

And, it’s one of the reasons why I never wear a red shirt.

The concept of writing on a tablet that wasn’t tethered to anything always impressed me.  I’ll admit to being skeptical about the iPad when it first came along.  I had an iPod and it did everything that I ever needed in portable technology.  It just seemed that a bigger iPod was overkill.  Then, I got one as a gift for speaking at the Waterloo Region’s summer institute.

I quickly set it up and quickly got into the promise that it delivered. It still seemed awkward compared to carrying the iPod or a laptop.  Each had carved their own place into my world of technology use.  But, I stuck with it and got to use some pretty incredible applications and do some mobile things previously reserved for the laptop.  These days, though, it’s pretty much relegated to playing some games with friends or to quickly scan Twitter.

For the longest time, I tried to make it a laptop replacement.  I did write a few blog posts on it but came to realize that I’m really not a “typing on glass” type of guy. I prefer a real keyboard.  In a moment of weakness, I was in Hamilton with my friend Zoe and she talked me into going to BestBuy to purchase a bluetooth case/keyboard.  In this case, the bluetooth worked really well but the physical setup always felt wonky and it certainly wasn’t something that I could place in my lap to use while watching television.

Backups are done by syncing with iTunes which I’ve always found a difficult application to master.  Recently, my iPad doesn’t sync to my computer so I can’t have a current backup.  I get the message that “iTunes can’t backup iPhone because not enough free space is available on computer”.  My computer is full?  I checked – nowhere near being full.  The only consolation was that an internet search reveals that I’m not alone. There were lots of suggestions about how to solve the problem but nothing works here.

There’s been much said about the declining popularity of tablets recently.  In particular, statistics about declining iPad sales are pretty staggering.  Almost quietly, this week, Apple released a new version of the iPad.  Like most things Apple, a new hardware requires a software update and sure enough, there’s a new iTunes to be downloaded.  Maybe they’ve fixed my problem?  A quick try this morning shows that the problem is still there.

I was curious about the new iPad itself.  What is new and innovative? Apple is always good for that.  From what I can see it’s cheaper and has a brighter screen.  Other than that, there’s nothing to add to the functionality that has always been there.  I was thinking that maybe the success of the Chromebook and the ability to run Android applications on it might inspire a new way of looking at the iPad.  Sadly, there’s nothing that I can see.

On a positive note, cell phones have never been more popular,  With larger screen and better applications, they seem to really have taken over the portable computing area. And, they do it very nicely

As a result, now I’m thinking and wondering.  Has the technology that drives the tablet got as good as it’s going to get?  Maybe this is it and there isn’t anything more?  Is the true innovation going to continue to be in cell phones?

What do you think?  Have we seen the end of innovation on that type of technology?  If you could improve on the tablet, what would you do?

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

2 thoughts on “Are we witnessing the end?

  1. Tablets as tablets just don’t seem to work for me. Like you I am not the typing on glass sort of person. I have the same trouble with my phone FWIW. I tend to use the speech to text ability for text messages when I can. I need my real keyboard. That is why my Surface tends to work for me. I have a good keyboard with them. (I have two) I can drop the keyboard easily for those rare times when I actually do want to use it as a tablet.

    THe more interesting question is where do we go from here? If we’ve caught up to Star Trek (and we seem to) than what is next? There has to be something right? I see augmented reality as part of what is next but I’m not sure about the input piece. What replaces the keyboard or stylus when the output in literally right in you eyes? I need to be more than a passive recipient of input from others.

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  2. I’m partial to my iPad. Like you, I like a keyboard and the Bluetooth bone works for me, particularly when I’m in a meeting or PD session or on the go booking and documenting student & teacher work. I think my appeal to it is the camera and how easy it is to upload to my Drive, notes etc. My school laptop works best in schools, but I can print at different sites most of the time or at home. So my home laptop is most reliable for that. Like you, I can’t sync my phone or laptop on my computer (still running Ubuntu). But, I sneak on my husband’s computer to update from time to time… maybe 3 times per year? Next year, when I’m back to class it will be interesting to see how my work flow changes. I hope to continue my TLLP work with OTF funding. If so, I will have access to 5 iPads at all times in class. And I plan on using them!

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