Over the summer, we became a 3 iPad household; my daughters because they were headed off to college and iPads are suddenly the must-have item for note-taking and homework doing; and me because I decided I was really tired of schlepping a laptop with an old battery to conferences, searching for a wall socket so I would have power through all the presentations. My hesitation to investing in an iPad previously was due to my aversion of touchscreen keyboards (the same reason I carry a Droid Pro with the slide out QWERTY keyboard rather than an iPhone). But when I found wireless keyboard online, that problem was solved.  Armed with a keyboard-equipped iPad, I toyed with the idea of going iPad solo – ie: lose the laptop. Briefly.

It turns out that despite what the commercials tell you, the iPad can’t really replace the PC.  For me, the limitations had to do with importing conference proceedings from a USB drive (there is no USB port on an iPad unless you purchase an adapter). Additionally, when posting blogs using the 3D InCites interface using the Safari browser app, the WYSIWYG functionality was unavailable, so I couldn’t format the text or upload figures like I can using my laptop.  For my needs, the iPad is a great companion tool, and perfect for my initial purchasing reason: to lighten my load and increase battery time at conferences. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so. Today in USA Today, Bree Fowler, (AP) wrote a review of Tablet apps, deducing as well that they fill in gaps but aren’t a replacement for the PC. 

Purely through luck of the draw, (aka upgrade date) my daughter, Savannah, is the first in the family to have the iPhone 5She was home visiting this weekend, and discovered that she had yet to fully experience its capabilities on a 4G LTE network (Flagstaff AZ only has 3G).  For that, and other reasons, she says her friends tell her that an iPhone 5 is totally lost on her. I am probably guiltier of that than she is, as I have yet to download a bazillion apps for my Droid Pro and iPad. I use my phone as, well, a phone. Talk, text, checking email and Facebook are the primary tasks I do on it. I use the iPad mainly as a word processor and for its Social Media apps and Internet browser (oh the SHAME!) But I realize I’m the exception to the rule.  I do see more savvy users relying on their smartphones and tablets for everything from communicating and playing games, to creating presentations, streaming video and music, reading books, and  – you name it.  Tablets have even begun to have regular appearances on our favorite TV series. Characters on shows like Modern Family and Gray’s Anatomy are now communicating using video chat. It’s gotten so that you can tell what decade a particular show or movie aired based on the appearance of mobile technology. I thought of that this morning while reading Paul McClellen’s post on SemiWiki on the history of first and second generation mobile devices   a phenomena that spans a brief 25 years! No wonder we can track it all by television shows. What’s interesting is that as far as we know, beyond CMOS image sensors, none of these devices have yet to incorporate 2.5D or 3D technologies. Will we even know what to do with them once they do? 

I close today’s ramblings with a brief reader poll. I invite you to post your comments below:

In your experience, can/will tablets replace laptops/PCs?  Why or why not?

To what capacity do you use your smartphone/tablet?  What are the primary tasks you perform on each?

I look forward to your responses. Happy Monday! 

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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