Nothing But A Smartphone

Not long ago I wrote about pros and cons of devices designed to do only one thing well versus others that can do many things. Of course, the smartphone is the multi-use magic gadget with the chops to function as the be-all end-all device.

That in mind, here’s a thought experiment: can the iPhone replace all other devices?


Tablet

First, the iPad (or other tablet). Can it be ditched in favor of minimizing device overload, to simplify your daily life? It is basically the same as the iPhone, only bigger. So you would lose the large screen. To mitigate that, you could just buy one of the big screen iPhones. You know, a phablet.

Also, many people who have an iPad do not have the LTE version, whereas the iPhone always has a cellular connection. So although the iPhone is smaller, it does have built-in cellular internet, which is a plus.

If you’re willing or able to live without the larger screen of the iPad, you really don’t need it. Your iPhone, though maybe less than ideal in some scenarios, is enough.


Camera

Next, your point-n-shoot camera; can it go away? Chances are, if you still have one, you have not used it in forever. Your smartphone camera is with you 100% of the time; it’s all you use anymore. OK, that one was easy. Moving on. Seriously, unless you’re an enthusiast photographer, or if you only used a DSLR on auto, then your iPhone camera is enough.


TV

Now for the giant HDTV in the living room. Let’s see if we can toss that out the window. And let’s also chuck your subwoofer and little speakers or soundbar that go along with it. While we’re at it, say good-bye to the Bluray player, the game console, the Apple TV, your Roku, and any other streaming box you have. That’s a lot of electronic entertainment gear!

But so what? Your smartphone has an excellent screen, with super high-resolution, wide viewing angles, dynamic range, etc. It’s just smaller than your jumbo-tron! But then again, you sit only inches from it instead of feet, so what’s the big difference really? Want to zoom in on what you watch on your iPhone? Hold it closer to your face.

Yeah but what about the big bass sound lost? No big deal. There are many affordable headphones you can wear that deliver exceptional bass and stereo sound, even ones that mimic surround sound. Best of all, you can watch and listen to your shows anywhere; you’re not stuck to the living room.

Wait, what of the games? The streaming stuff? I will grant you that nothing beats a good controller with tactile buttons for gaming. That said, in the virtue of simplicity, one can enjoy a great gaming experience on a smartphone these days. There would be some sacrifice, sure, like not having the latest Zelda game (ouch).

Instead of dwelling on what’s lost, you can focus on what’s gained: the many other great games to play, the overall lower cost of playing, and being able to play those games everywhere, not just the living room.

As for media content, you know these days just about anything you want to watch or listen to is available online or in your smartphone’s app store, music store, games store, whatever. The supply of entertainment is virtually endless and still growing constantly. In fact, there’s too much!

Okay, your living room entertainment center has now been replaced by your smartphone. When you think about it, your phone is probably the center of your entertainment universe already! What else do you need?


Computer

Last and not least, your computer. That big box and monitor with a slow hard drive. Or your trusty clamshell laptop whose battery only lasts a few hours these days. No thanks. How much do you really use those things? What apps or programs on them must you use that cannot be found on your phone?

Most folks just use the web browser. And most major websites and services have apps on the iPhone. When it comes to the PC, the smartphone is the most personal computer on the planet! It’s always in your pocket! Plus, the processor inside your modern phone is likely as powerful as your traditional computer for 99% of the tasks you do.

So we can safely kick your computer to the curb. The phone in your pocket is more portable than your laptop and as powerful as your desktop. It can even do things your desktop can’t do, like double as a camera, scan barcodes, and be the GPS on your car’s dash.


If you prioritize and utilize your smartphone above all else, you can sell off the many other electronics in your house and use the funds to invest in a top of the line smartphone with a protection plan for it, a case, and peripherals or accessories for it like wireless headphones, a bluetooth keyboard, extra charging cables around the house, or an extra battery case.

Of course there are caveats to this kind of over-simplistic all-your-eggs-in-one-basket approach. For example, if your phone is lost or stolen, or even if just the battery dies, you have nothing else to use for backup. You’d feel like you’re in a black-out where you get that eerie quiet feeling that life is on pause until the electricity comes back on.

One way to help your mind think about this is to imagine you’re going to sell your home and live in an RV to travel the country. The RV can only contain so much. Could you relax comfortably in it with just a big smartphone and a few choice accessories?

Run this thought experiment through your own household and see what things your smartphone could replace. You might be surprised to find what you can live without. And you may discover a new level of simplicity and minimalism, reducing clutter in your home and in your mind. There could be so much less stuff to manage.

Just a phone, that could be all you need.

One little glass rectangle.

Nothing more.


What do you think about this idea? Is your smartphone the most indispensable thing you use? Sound off below, or contact me! Good to hear from you; thanks for reading.

Computers Are Like Cars

Unlike my previous post, which specifically talked about how iPhones and iPads last a long time these days, this one is about the longevity of computers in general. I was realizing just how long both my own and my wife’s PCs are still running after many years. And I think it’s like owning a car.

I upgraded my wife’s desktop PC core in 2011; that’s over 7 years ago now! Her 2nd-gen Intel core i5 and 12GB of RAM are still more than enough for her needs. The only boost I gave it was last year when I switched her from Win 7 on a hard drive to Win 10 on an SSD.

My own desktop PC is, get this, only using a Pentium processor and is now 5 years old! The only upgrade it ever saw was the day I brought it home; I added memory, making it go from 4 to 8GB of RAM. And it runs like a champ for my needs.

forced perspective photography of cars running on road below smartphone
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

I expect these PC’s to keep going for a few more years. The only parts that have died were one power supply. Even the hard drives were fine, although one was showing signs of impending failure. Normal enough.

Our computers, even our smartphones, are like cars these days. They all last longer than they used to, so replacing them occurs less often. You just keep using them for as long as they just work. (Also, like appliances.)

On top of that, while buying a new phone/computer (or car) is nice, it is also expensive and not really necessary. Most used computers and cars that are a few years old still work great. So you can buy a certified ‘pre-owned’ car or ‘refurbished’ iPad, get great value, and save a ton of money. Frugal!

Are you looking at replacing or upgrading an aging computer this year? Will you finance a new MacBook like a new Toyota or save up for a used one?

Thanks for reading,

-Jason

Taking The iPad Further

In a few days, Apple will have an event where maybe they’ll reveal new iPads. And since my iPad is my computer, I’m very interested to see what direction Apple takes iPad next. Will it become even more capable than it already is? And a bigger question, will the iPad become more of Apple’s main focus for the future of computing?

When the iPad Pro, for example, was first announced, Apple CEO Tim Cook prefaced it by declaring,

“iPad is the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing.”

He went on to ask how Apple could take the iPad further. Their answer was basically 3 things: make the screen bigger, add a pencil/stylus, and add a better keyboard.

So if Apple reveals new iPads this week, how will they take it further? Add more hardware or software, or maybe both, to make it even more capable?

Most understand that putting Apple’s latest and greatest processor inside the newest iPad would for sure make it much more powerful. But there’s more to making hardware work than adding raw power.

Many people still think that a mouse and a keyboard is the best way to use a computer, and the iPad’s touch interaction, while simple and convenient, is just not as capable. Yet keyboards have been available for the iPad since it first came out. Could Apple now do even more than their Smart Keyboard?

What if they made a clamshell-like keyboard case for iPad so that it looked and acted more like a laptop? It could be similar to the Brydge Keyboard. I think that would actually propel iPad further because it would allow multiple angles of viewing/typing whereas the Smart Keyboard only has one fixed angle on a flimsy multi-hinged folding case. I think a laptop like keyboard case would also sit more sturdily on your lap.

What about a mouse? I don’t think Apple would enable a mouse and cursor for iPad because it would diminish the simplicity of the tablet. It could also cause too much divergence or feature disparity between iPad and iPhone. In short, it would cross the line by adding too much complexity.

Besides hardware, what about software and apps? Well, it’s already been recently announced that Adobe is bringing full Photoshop to iPad. This popular app has traditionally been only for the desktop computer. So Photoshop coming to iPad seems to be a strong signal that the iPad is being considered more like a “real computer.”

Other software moves that could signal Apple taking iPad further might be announcing some of its Mac only apps now being made for iPad. Or they could add new capabilities to the Files app, making it more like the Finder app on the Mac. Or they could do what Apple is known for and introduce a whole new “magical” way to select and edit text with fancy but simple multi-touch gestures that make using a mouse with a cursor seem cumbersome.

The most radical idea might be a combo of hardware and software advances: a laptop like keyboard case that has a recessed spot in which you place an iPhone so that it auto-magically enables something called touchpad mode. The glass screen of the iPhone would mimic the glass trackpad of MacBooks, including a little vibrating feedback when you touch it. This would of course mean a cursor of some kind would need to appear on the iPad screen.

Whatever Apple does, it will be interesting to see. Until then, I’ll keep enjoying my 4 year old non-pro iPad, which still makes me feel like the future is now.

What would you like to see in a new iPad? Would you use an iPad more if you could use a mouse with it? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

My iPad Is My Computer

Not long ago, everyone had a boxy beige desktop PC, or maybe a thick clunky gray laptop. Those were the only real choices for a personal computer. But now, many people use other things like smartphones, tablets, or Chromebooks.

With so many options, you just kinda pick what works best for you and which thing you like the most. Nowadays a personal computer is much more of a personal choice.

My wife, for example, has stuck to using her desktop PC. She has a smartphone and has used different tablets but prefers good ol’ fashioned Windows with a mouse and a keyboard. That’s not a bad choice for anyone really. It works just fine. So, traditional.

turned on ipad
Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

My kids also use Windows PC’s. We homeschool, so it’s practical for us to have budget PC’s for the kids’ schoolwork, which is mostly online stuff. And of course Windows has Minecraft. (Even I play it sometimes!) We did have a Chromebook for the kids, but it slid off a bunkbed onto a wood floor, which cracked the screen. But it only cost me about $150! So, practical and affordable.

As for me, I’ve tried lots of different things and settled on using an iPad as my only computer. I’m all-in on just the iPad along with an iPhone as my go-to gadgets.

I’m not just trying out the iPad to see if it can do all the things I need or want. I already did that and found it can. In fact, I’m typing this blog post in the WordPress app using just the on-screen keyboard, tapping away quietly on the glass. It works well! I can even make nice images with titles in the Canva app if I want.

Of course, there are other ways to do things. Before I used just an iPad and an iPhone, I used just a Chromebook and an Android smartphone. It was all Google instead of all Apple. And it worked. But Apple’s devices had some advantages that won me over.

It was not an easy win though. At one point, I kinda went back and forth between my iPad and my Windows laptop. I even switched to a MacBook a few years ago but then went back to my Windows computer. Letting go of my traditional computing ways took time because I built them up over many years. Plus I still use a Windows desktop PC at work.

The things that kept me coming back to my iPad was that it is a lot simpler and more reliable than my Windows laptop. It just works when I need it too. And it does it fast and easy.

On top of that, it’s small size and long battery life let me use it anywhere anytime. Plus, I really like my iPhone, and the iPad uses the same apps and system, so it’s familiar. Two devices with one-in-the-same software is just easier for me to manage.

What’s also surprising to me when I think about is even though my iPad is 4 years old, it still works great! It’s an iPad Air 2 that I bought used from someone on Facebook Marketplace. And if you want a new iPad, they’re so much more affordable now than they used to be. You can even get good deals and save money if you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple.

Anyways, we’re lucky to have so many options. I enjoy an iPad as my computer and think more people could too. When you think about it, you don’t really need much else.

So with all your options out there, what devices do you use the most? Or if you could choose something else, what would it be? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter. Thanks.