The iPhone is my All-in-One Device. Why do I Need an iPad?

Last year I mentioned I was torn on the need for the iPad, but that it could very well be a “context-aware monitor that I can take anywhere.” I’m rethinking that now though. I go to work, I have a 27″ Cinema Display. I come home, I have TV screens in every room, and a computer monitor we attach our laptops to. When I present there is always a Projector available. I’m starting to wonder – why do I need another monitor?

So I find myself debating again, “Why do I need an iPad 2?” In fact, the most interesting part of today’s iPad 2 announcement wasn’t the iPad itself. It was the HDMI attachment cable and iOS 4.3 that allows you to connect that cable to almost any device from an iOS-compatible device. To me, that’s the powerful part of today’s announcement. Apple just made my iPhone an even more all-in-one device.

I have a couple questions to think about though:

  • When will my bluetooth keyboard work with my iPhone or iPod Touch?
  • Will the Magic Mouse work with my iPhone or iPod Touch?
  • Where is the laptop-style (ie Macbook Air) dock for my iPhone or iPod Touch?
  • When will Apple start selling touch-screen cinema displays?

When I bought my iPhone, I was excited, because finally, it was reducing the number of devices I had to carry around. I no longer had to carry around a cell phone, a PDA, and an MP3 device. I had them all in one, and I only had to carry around one device. In fact I even got rid of my watch because of this.

So why should I get excited when Apple adds even one more device for me to carry around? The future is in ubiquity. Your phone will be your CPU. The monitors and displays around you will be their output. It’s evident, so why isn’t Apple focusing on this?

The first cell phone manufacturer to get this concept will win, if you ask me (assuming there really is a competition). The future isn’t in bigger and more powerful devices. The future is in more portable, simplistic devices that interoperate with everything around you. It’s in the living room experience. It’s in being able to take the same device that powers your living room experience to work with you. That’s the future of mobile computing. I really hope that’s where Apple is going with this, because if they don’t, I’ll switch to the first device that can reduce my need for both an iPad, a Laptop, and a mobile device. That is the next disruptor – will Apple do it?

In the meantime, I’ve got do decide: smaller laptop (Macbook Air?), bigger cell phone (Galaxy Tab?) – how can I take current technologies and reduce the weight I carry around in my backpack?

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12 thoughts on “The iPhone is my All-in-One Device. Why do I Need an iPad?

  1. I'm coming at it from a different technology stack – my almost all-in-one device is a Windows 7 netbook – but the problem spans across platforms.

    While you mention the benefits of a smaller all-in-one device, there are drawbacks. For me, I would prefer an iPad/netbook-sized device that could also be used as a phone. The larger size (and, in my case, the keyboard) makes the device much more useful than a device with a relatively small screen and either a limited keyboard or no keyboard at all.

    However, despite the desire of most users for smaller devices, one thing is working against this – profit margins. The smartphone market is older than the tablet market, and therefore tends to be more competitive. In addition, the lower price point for the smaller devices means that the profit on them is potentially less. Therefore, it makes sense for the companies to push their tablet products and get higher margins. (The fact that tablets really don't work as phones in the present makes tablets even more attractive, since if you buy a tablet you'll probably have to buy a phone also.)

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  2. You've brought me back to the very reason I bought my iPhone in the first place. Thanks for keeping my budget in mind too! 🙂

    It was all in the name of reducing the number of devices I carry around… and now I want to add another device to my bag? I don't think so. Tablets are a toy, a fun coffee table accessory for now. We'll see if they ever breakthrough.

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  3. Great ideas! I've thought about this myself on occasion. I agree that this is the future.

    I think HP is in a good position to do something like that–they have a flexible, scalable operating system and the scale and infrastructure to make it successful. My bet is on them.

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  4. I'd be interested to see what Apple would do with the Motorola Atrix concept: Phone that can dock to become a desktop, laptop or media center.

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  5. My kids like my iPad, but they like our Netbook more because it has a keyboard and access to more sites on the web. I know several speakers that like the iPad because it makes a good, easy to see device for reading as you're speaking. However, those are the 2 main uses I can see, and I just can't see why it's worth spending $1k on something just for those purposes.

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  6. I bought an ipad to compliment my 15″ MacBook pro and iPhone. Used it for meetings, used it whilst travelling, used it at home. As a new breed of device, it is brilliant.

    However, when I replaced my 15″ with a 13″ Air, that's when the game really changed. That thing does everything the ipad does, everything my MacBook does and it does it in a slim lightweight package. I take it everywhere where I used the ipad and it just makes things easier, presenting, writing, note taking, videos, music and games.

    You mention your thinking of an Air, I suggest you get this, don't worry about the big screen phone, don't worry about the ipad, the Air is the way forward for mobile computing.

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  7. I was just about to post that the Atrix appears to fulfill all you talk about in this post — but I see that thought already occurred to someone 🙂

    Let me leave you with another thought, I've long thought that the Chrome OS functioned best as an instant-start OS. Maybe relegated to netbooks. And with Atrix style devices, one can only hope that Google ties Chrome OS and Android together.

    And if you think about it, no other company really has such a solution almost ready to go. Which blew my mind a couple of days ago.

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  8. I have both an iPod Touch and iPad, and I prefer the iPad primarily because of the larger screen — necessary for older eyes. I had an original iPod Touch, and traded up recently to the 4th gen. I prefer the Touch for use as a camera, notepad, communicator (Skype) and (primarily) MP3 player. My original goal with the iPad was to develop it as a personal dashboard (a project still in process), but with the growth of the ePub format, I'm also experimenting with the possibilities of a single massive carry-around library. The larger screen just gives me more room to view photos, charts, video, mail, ebooks, etc., and a much easier-to-use keyboard vs. the Touch. Won't be upgrading to the iPad 2, as it's just too large to use as a camera, which is really the only new feature that might be of interest to me.

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  9. My tech outlay for this year is for the new iPhone (my 3GS is getting on), an 11″ MacBook Air (for on the road) and a KIndle 3 wifi/3G model which will make my carrying a lot easier/lighter.

    Like you, the iPhone can do most of the stuff. The MBA is for the longer load stuff like video editing/blog posts on the run and so on while the Kindle is a) the backup for surfing/email and so on and b) my book reader (preserving the phone's battery).

    I've had the whole lot in a bag and I couldn't tell there was anything in the bag at all, so that's me sold on that lot. The iPad is nice but it still doesn't do anything essential for me – I create more than I consume and the iPad is still primarily a consumption device.

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