The Now and the Not Yet
Well – it depends. Purpose and usage are everything. Tablets are GREAT devices, and they can probably DO everything a PC can, but not always as easily. Tablets are, however, incredibly convenient and portable and shine at certain tasks.
Personally, in addition to a standard PC and a laptop, I have a tablet – an iPad. The iPad has network connectivity and I’ve attached a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on several occasions. Sounds like a pretty complete setup, right? Do I do my job on it? Can I do my job on it? Not usually. Why? Is it me? Am I just not giving it a fair shot? Admittedly, part of it is a learning curve. To accomplish the same tasks, in many cases, I would need to purchase custom applications to do tasks I’ve already learned how to do well on another platform. In some cases, it’s just not physically practical. Manipulating documents on a ten (or seven) inch screen is in no way the same experience as the larger real estate of a twenty-something inch desktop monitor. I also can’t balance a tablet on my legs when travelling (no matter what accessories I buy) the same way I can my laptop.
But that really is the point. Tablets aren’t made to be manipulated the same way a desktop (or laptop) is. When you find applications and tasks built for the touchscreen, you’d never want to try and do them on a PC again. Also, the convenience of a zero-boot-time tablet operating system to do a quick email check/send or look up something on-line has caused me to remove my laptop from the living room. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I took it out of the bag after work hours. At work, the tablet takes on a different role. I can’t find a better way to access my media library. It also serves as a great third (smaller) monitor where I can keep applications like TweetDeck or Seesmic within viewing distance.
Bottom line, if I’ve got serious work to do, I still reach for my PC/Laptop first. If I’m looking for convenience or specific applications that are either ancillary, or touch-fantastic, it’s iPad all the way. If you’re in the market to purchase one or the other (I’m looking at you college-student), pick the laptop. Tablets definitely aren’t toys, but in this writer’s opinion, they aren’t replacing PCs just yet.
This article was originally written for and published in the August/September 2011 issue of Around About East/West Canton.