iPad and desktop versus laptop

For years I’ve been using a trusted Windows laptop. First XP then Windows 7. I loved it. Got all my applications when ever I needed them and where ever I needed them. No double installation on work desktop and home system. No problems with versions and compatibility problems. However, it was still bulky and with the air travel hassles getting more and more ridiculous I was thinking of something smaller. I checked out the tablet computers but couldn’t really see the point.

Then my son came along and asked for an iPod touch for a combined birthday / Xmas present (easy for him to ask, his birthday is in December). I had at the time not a clue what he was talking about. So, my wife and I ventured to the shops on a Sunday and explored what the fuzz was about. I found it fascinating and elegant, the geek in me wanted a play. However, my wife was a much different admirer. She always hated her laptop when a virus update was required, a windows patch wanted to reboot the system, when she saved a document but couldn’t remember where, and how long it took to boot up. She got an iPod touch a couple of months later. No fear of getting anything wrong, installing apps and updating them not a problem. tap and an app starts, square button and it closes. Every app saves the data and finds it again, no asking about the name or where to put it. She felt much more comfortable.

For me, it was different I used it in meetings, taking notes, reading my emails quickly while not at my desk, had access to my calendar, and so much more. When the iPad arrived I upgraded and later switched to an iPhone, too. Now I have a dozen business applications ranging from free ones like Evernote and Springpad to Thinkbook, SimpleMind, iDo to Keynote and GoodReader. Synchronising these with the respective desktop applications or via DropBox and email is vitaly important to me. Now I don’t have to worry anymore which tool I use to do my work. Some tools I have in my pocket or in a small leather carry case, although essentially the content is now the center of my concern rather than the tool.

For a couple of months now I’m using a desktop – again. There is no need for the extra cost of a laptop. Some minor inconveniences I forgot about, there’s no web cam in Windows desktops and no inbuilt microphone. But else, no the desktop is fine. At home we switched to an iMac (that has inbuilt mic and web cam). That is a beautiful design and fulfills my wife’s needs for a less complex tool.

Funnily enough it challenged a lot of my thinking – having used Microsoft machines for most of the time. Now we are starting to open this thinking at work: bring your own technology is on the cards. That provides opportunities and challenges from asset management, licensing, security, intellectual property, and interoperability. I shall write in some months about that.


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