Saturday, January 22, 2011

Apple iPad - Mobile versus Portable (Still True)

I wrote this just before I purchased my iPad in May of 2010.  I still agree with every word even today.  Since the iPad was a non-traditional device, I explained it in a non-traditional way.  Even though the Facebook kingpin has since declared that the iPad is not a mobile device, I still stand firm that the iPad is in fact a mobile device.  Even though you might not explain it the same way, this article jerks you out of traditional thinking and allows you to think beyond the old fashion way of computing.  It allows you to think differently about what is mobile.  Enjoy!


Apple iPad - Mobile versus Portable

By Carl W. Brooks

Saturday, April 17, 2010

To say that there is a lot of confusion about the iPad is like saying there is water at Niagara Falls. Hopefully I can explain the power of the iPad in terms that anyone can understand.
There are 3 types of people: (1) Those who want every device to do everything, (2) those who don't care what it can do as long as it does what they want to do, and (3) the rest of us. My guess is about 3% of the people live in the first group, 80% the people live in the 2nd group and 17% of the people live in my group.

Most devices are created for the 80%. The Apple iPad works well for this 80%. The 80% is just now learning that their email lives in "the cloud" and not their desktops; therefore, the email can be loaded to any device that is connected to the Internet and has a mail client to retrieve emails. They are just now understanding that a Smartphone can free their email from those fixed desktop computers. They are just getting comfortable with SMS and sending pictures and learning about video. They are also the people most likely to be confused with all the buzzwords being used to explain the pros and cons about the iPad.

They could make a good decision about whether the iPad would be a great fit for them if someone explained it properly. This is my attempt to do so. But there is a problem.

The truth is that they may never read this post. The 3% and the 17% are the people most likely to be reading this post, so it is your responsibility to take this message to the masses. They will most likely ask you about it instead of finding this post. You can refer them to this post as well instead of trying to explain it. As techies, we often complicate things with buzzwords and techno mumbo jumbo.

The truth of the matter is, while a tablet PC is not a new device category, the iPad is one of the first to be truly a mobile computing device. The manufacturers of devices like the DellTM LatitudeTM XT2 and all the other Tablet PC have not understood one simple principle "Portable does not mean Mobile".

Let me explain in "Layman's term". I will give an example that everyone can understand regarding fixed, portable and mobile. One thing that every person, man, woman and child, understands is what the function of a bathroom is. These same people realize that there are other terms like Restroom, Washroom, Toilet, Lavatory or Loo. If you go to each of these locations, you may have some extra items like towels, electric hand dryers, and even an attendant in some. Even still, you may experience even less in yet others. 

But no matter which one you visit, you will be able to do number 1 and/or number 2. None of these facilities are portable nor mobile. These facilities are similar to a desktop computer whether they are Mac or Windows; Dell, Acer or Apple. They basically serve the same function and they are designed to be non-portable and fixed to a particular location. You can have these faculties at home, work, a friend or family member's place. If you want to use these, you have to go on site to do so. So, like a fixed bathroom, your desktop would never be moved unless some major renovations are done to the location.

Some times there are places that you visit that do not have a Restroom, Washroom, Toilet, Lavatory or Loo. Under some circumstances, there some alternatives that can be used like a Porta john or Porta-potty. While portable, for the most part, they lack some of the luxuries of the non-portable alternatives. While portable they are not convenient to move about because of the weight and size. They are portable but not mobile. 

I will compare these portable facilities to laptops, portable but not very mobile. Most tablet PCs of the past were merely laptops with tablet or touch screen screens. These are not very mobile due to both their size, weight and setup time. Am I painting a picture here? 

The laptop was never created to be mobile, that is to be used "on the go". It was designed to be portable. Just like a Porta-Potty, it is taken to a location, setup and then used at that fixed spot. You take it to a Starbucks and set it up on the table and that is where you will use it until it is time to pack it up for the transport to the next location. Do you get the picture? It is a portable device that can be transported to different locations to be used. You would love to use your laptop in many venues; however, it is not convenient because you may not have a place to sit the laptop on, the battery is too low (or you have to save the battery for a later time and place), there is no power outlet to plug it in, or it is just too big of an hassle to setup of the device.

Well the picture gets a little more graphic but the point is made clear.
So what bathroom analogy can I give to explain how convenient the iPad is? Think about it for a minute. What would allow you to do your business no matter where you are? Depends!  Yes Depends - the adult diapers. 

This is not the image Apple would like to be compared to for the convenience of their iPad, but it works. Clearly the Depends lack many of the luxuries that you may have with the fixed bathroom or the Porta John, but you can accomplish the desired tasks. Whenever you have a need to go, you go! Whether standing in line, on a plane, on the bus, at a conference or the porch. 

Of course you can't take a bath or wash your hands, or fix your hair in the mirror, but anywhere that you are, you can take care of the important things you want or need to do without returning to a fixed location or having to take time to setup a portable solution. Just whip it out and go.

Portable does not mean mobile. A laptop is portable. but not very mobile. The iPad is totally mobile. There are three things that make the iPad and very convenient device: battery, screen size and "instant on". There are some tasks that you won't be able to do, but the important things will get done. These important tasks can be done quickly because you can turn the device on instantly. 

Think about your mobile phone, it turns on instantly to allow you to accomplish the desired tasks. The only problem is the screen size and battery life. There are many things that your phone can do, especially if you have a (Blackberry, Palm, iPhone or Andriod), that you would do MORE if your battery didn't drain like it had a big whole in it and if the screen was bigger.

The iPad allows your phone to be, well a phone again. Maybe a SMS machine too, but web surfing, emailing, music listening, picture sharing, movie watching, game playing, document viewing, twitter and facebook updating can be done on a device with great viewable screen, long lasting battery and instant on ability - the Apple iPad. 

The iPad device is one you can "depend" on while mobile, but it "depends" on what you need to do. My guess is that most people will never need much more capability while mobile. If they are going to camp somewhere then they can use a desktop or laptop, but once you get exposed to something - it is hard to go back to the old way. Plus Apple has created some accessories that makes setup with an iPad simple too and the accessories like the power cord, wireless keyboard or docks are so small that it still does take up as much room as a laptop and its accessories.

There will be things you will do with the iPad that you never could do or would do with a laptop or with a desktop computer because the developers will create those things now because the first truly mobile computer is available and usable. This device is magical, not for what it is today, but for what it will do in the near future.

You can not begin to understand what I am talking about until you hold one in your hand. Don't believe me? Go to an Apple store or a Best Buy and play with one and you will begin to see the picture - in real vivid, brilliant color. A laptop, a netbook and traditional Tablet PCs are portable. The iPad is both portable and mobile in one sweet package.

I know someone is thinking, "the bathroom analogy is not the best way to describe using these gadgets". Guess again, many people use there iPhones, cell phone and even the iPad while in the bathroom. So the next time you ask someone to let you see their iPhone or iPad, you better have some hand sanitizer available for afterwards.

Carl W. Brooks is an entrepreneur that specializes in new technology. Mr. Brooks has been an online publisher since 1999 and has numerous sites and blogs that educate everyday people on how to either use, save money on or make money from the technology around us. He enjoys sharing with the world his unique take on technology and how to use it best in your life
Marshall Jones, Jr. said...

I like the analogy, so props to your for creating it. However, I'm still super skeptical. {Disclaimer: I don't own an iPad, so I might just be missing it.) 

I'm not sure I really would just whip out my iPad wherever I am. For me (and I might be somewhat of a minimalist), it seems like something smaller, something that just fits in my pocket (like an iPhone) is the only device that's really mobile.

Your thoughts on that? Do you actually pull out your iPad on the go that much, like enough to rival your cell?

-Marshall Jones Jr.

Carl Brooks said...

I really do. I don't go anywhere without my iPad. I have a Android phone, the Samsung Epic from Sprint. The battery sucks, so I don't use it for anything other than phone, texting and navigation. All the fun stuff is done on my iPad. I have the Wallet case from Happy Owl Studio so I carry my iPad as I would a wallet. Think Franklin planner. So my iPad is carried like a Franklin Planner.


Carl W. Brooks
iAmThereforeiPad, Founder and Chief Editor

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