This blog’s been on hiatus for a few weeks. While I was away from the blog, my wife started another semester of grad school. I’d been getting used to using our computer while she was on break, but now she takes our laptop to campus with her every day.
That leaves me with our iPad as my primary “computer.” I feel very blessed to have a second option to use when our laptop isn’t available. I know many people don’t have access to one computer, much less two.
But it reminded me of a question that I’d been thinking about earlier this summer: could I use a tablet as my primary computer? I’ve grown up using computers, first Windows, then Mac, and only within the last couple years have I been using a touchscreen interface on a tablet or smartphone.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, recently said he does 80% of his work on his iPad. A tablet is considerably cheaper than a laptop with similar power. But to have only an iPad in the house, no laptop, wouldn’t I need to be able to do 100% of my work on the iPad? 80% wouldn’t cut it.
Now, I’d be shocked if the CEO of Apple doesn’t own a laptop (along with every other device the company makes). But he hints at a trend that’s been happening for decades: computing devices have become more powerful while also becoming smaller.
Tasks that used to require a desktop computer can now be done on a tablet, such as writing a report or recording a song. But not every task is doable on a tablet, and some that are doable just aren’t as efficient.
For example, I’m a video editor by trade. While I can do a certain level of editing on my iPad through apps like iMovie, it’s still not comparable to editing on a full-fledged computer. The iPad doesn’t have the storage space for all the video files I use, and the touch interface makes precise edits more difficult than with a mouse.
That’s why, for me, a tablet won’t be able to replace my computer…not yet at least.
So what do you use your computer to do? Watching videos, reading books, writing papers, and sending emails are all tasks that can be done just as well on a tablet as on a computer.
If you use a computer and only do those types of activities, you probably could go with a tablet as your primary computer.
You may find that particular workflows that are familiar on a laptop are not possible or not as easy on a tablet. But I think tablets have caught up to computers on most basic tasks.
One last thought: if a tablet is going to be your primary computer, don’t make a hurried choice. Make sure you try different ones and find the right size, operating system, and power to meet your needs.
Do you use an iPad or another tablet? What activities do you find more comfortable on a tablet than a computer? What about vice versa? I’d love to hear from you below!