Smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops. Technology is supposed to make life easier. But, when we’re dragging three different devices around, is that really easier? So the question really is: can we downsize; can a tablet replace my laptop?
The main difference, I believe, is in the user’s experience. And that’s just about learning something new. After a few weeks with a tablet, you’ll forget all about the fact that you’re touching the screen not a mouse. You might even like it better. I’ve found the actual concern to be two-fold: the lack of a keyboard and the lack of an input.
The issue of the keyboard is a highly personal one. It just depends what you use your laptop/tablet for. The tablet is designed for consumption. The laptop, on the other hand, is designed more for creation. With the addition of a wireless keyboard like this one from Apple, creation is a heck of a lot easier on a tablet. However, the devil’s advocate would suggest that if you add a wireless keyboard to your tablet ‘package’, aren’t you simply lugging around a disjointed laptop? Perhaps, but at least with the tablet, you have the option of going keyboard-less.
As mentioned, the tablet is designed for consumption. And what a lovely metaphor for that fact–tablets don’t have an input. For me, I haven’t regularly used Microsoft Word in a while now thanks to Google Drive. All my documents (including this one) live in the cloud. With Google and other cloud services like Dropbox, why do you need a flash drive or (gulp) CD-ROM? With few exceptions, you can purchase most software online, and wireless printing is cheap and accessible. To be sure, we are not 100% a cloud-based society yet. But, we’ll get there.
Perhaps we’re thinking about this question all wrong. Perhaps the tablet is actually the next evolution of the television, NOT the laptop computer. I’d venture to guess (as have others) that the tablet will be America’s main source for programming consumption at some point in the next 5 years. Each night millions of people curl up in bed to stream a Netflix movie on their tablet. Laptops have been around for decades, and that’s never been the case before.
In the end, the choice is yours. With so many technology options, you’ll certainly find a solution. Personally, I can’t live without my laptop. But, I’d also feel lost without my tablet and my smart phone.