Whether or not to take a specific tech device on a trip was once an easy dilemma to resolve. The decision invariably came back to taking every device that would fit. Of course, in the age of TSA and the post-911 security reaction, packing so much electronic hardware impels delays at the security checkpoint. Under such conditions, supreme connectivity gives way to pragmatism.
I am embarking on a trip to Austin, Texas. Austin is Texas’ version of Silicon Valley meets Disney meets Hollywood. In a way, the tech industry has found a curious niche in Austin. I have relatives in Austin, although I could easily fit into the tech world of the Texas capital.
However, my trip is personal. I am going to visit the relatives, not to take my office with me. The problem is that I absolutely have to have my office with me to handle the quotidian business affairs that will require such daily attention. Here comes the pragmatic part: As much as I would prefer my iPad to the bulkier laptop – in my case, it would be in addition to the laptop – bringing so much extra equipment for a family trip is hardly warranted. If I did not need to bring my office with me for the busy work that comes with being an entrepreneur, the iPad would be the only device I bring, in addition to the smart phone.
In that regard, the tablet has finally found its proper place in my life. Years after all the novelty of the iPad or competing tablets has been supplanted by banality, the tech devices in my life have all found their proper place.
The smart phone will handle all emails. The laptop will be used to handle matters requiring a large screen and keyboard, where efficiency would be severely restricted or eliminated by use of a smart phone. Tablets, for all their game-changing impact on the world of tech and other industries, just do not seem to have a completely practical place.
Unless I worked strictly in an industry with a tailored app, the iPad is actually more of a recreational device for me. Perhaps the time will come when the computing power and the human interfaces of a tablet are sufficiently broad and durable enough to replace the laptop, but at the moment, the hybrid devices that are being built – they are almost exclusively on a Windows platform, I might add – will be the likely be the electronic intermediaries in a world where device makers may easily have invisioned a world converting completely from laptops to tablets. As with all things in the evolving electronic universe, human need continues to trump the technological avant garde. It proves that necessity, not unadulterated desire, may still be the motherhood of invention.