The gap between the computer and the tablet as a capable work platform has been shrinking – and the pace of this shrinkage is accelerating. With the original iPad introduction on 3 April 2010 Apple changed the game, giving us geeks a new toy unlike any since the invention of the laptop. Many called the first iPad a “large iPod” (yep, so did I). It was cool, but how useful was it going to be? I used mine to watch movies and listen to music (just like an iPod!). However, the overwhelming number of apps developed since changed the iPad into a useful platform for writing (Pages), tracking finances (Pageonce, Mint.com), travel (Flight+ Tracking, Weather Channel), along with all the social media integration (Facebook, Twitter, etc). In fact, about half of the GERD’s blog entries are started or finished on my iPad (thanks to WordPress) and I follow my daughter’s web comic on my iPad when I’m on the road.
Now Apple has taken the next step – data sharing run amok! Starting with the iCloud (that giant data center in North Carolina), iPad and iOS users now enjoy data sharing among different platforms. Contacts, notes, calendar events, even Reminders created on one platform (iPad) show up on all your other platforms (iPad and Macs). The GERD does most of his blogging using the Notes application, starting on the Mac Mini, continuing on the iPad, reviewed on the iPhone, and eventually publishing from the Mac Mini again. Since I’m working on from 6 to 10 blog subjects at any one time, this data sharing is a tremendous advantage.
iOS 6 will continue and accelerate this trend. Yes, Apple has updated many of the core features including Mail, Safari, and even Siri. But Apple has also ramped up data sharing with the unification of your phone number and Apple ID – meaning that any iMessage sent from any iOS device can be seen on any other iOS device; FaceTime calls will follow suit. I must admit that the inability to see iMessages sent to my phone on my iPad has been disappointing.
Others are attempting to follow Apple – Amazon and Google were among the first with cloud storage and web-based media stores. Dropbox and SugerSync offer terrific cloud storage for data sharing. However, Apple combines the best in breed; superb media content, apps, cloud storage, combined with unmatched hardware to run it all on. When iOS 6 hits the streets this fall, it will all get better. Perhaps one day we will wonder whatever happened to the windows-based laptop…
Next Time: Why I 8’nt upgrading