Tablets get a bit of a bad rap in my opinion. Since the first iPad I have been a devotee of tablets in general (including Android and Windows), and I really don’t want to go back to a world without them.
We’ve all heard the argument that tablets are primarily consumption devices as opposed to being something used for productivity, and I would beg to differ. You’re not going to get the full version of anything (for the most part) when you’re on a tablet, but you get enough to get the job done.
Yes, in general, I prefer a full-sized keyboard if I’m going to do some heavy work, but if I just need to check a server setting, fix a typo in a post or send off a quick email then a tablet is all I need, and it’s far more convenient than getting out a laptop and waiting for it to boot up before I can even begin to open a browser. With a tablet I hit a button and I’m off to the races, and that’s what I need most of the time.
What strikes me as funny is you hear a lot of people say tablets aren’t all that useful, yet I have never met a tablet owner who says they regret buying one. Of course this is completely unscientific, but my personal experience has shown that folks have tablets love them for any multitude of reasons. And I think that speaks volumes as the use cases for the slates varies so wildly. iPad is too much about consumption and you need to do more work with it? Get a Surface. You’re deep into the Android ecosystem? Take your pick from hundreds of options. Tablets are limited merely limited by how you choose to use them.
Where I do think things have fallen apart a bit for tablet makers is they didn’t take into consideration the lifespan of tablets. On the most recent Apple earnings call there was a quick comment that the iPad maker had adjusted its estimates on tablet owners upgrading their devices from every two years to every three years. Even at that I think Apple is being a bit overly optimistic. Unlike phones there are devices that don’t receive nearly as much abuse as they aren’t carried everywhere in a pocket and don’t get touched as many times a day as your smartphone which leads to them lasting longer. For instance, TechnoBuffalo still has iPad 2s in the office we use daily and they function just fine. There is no reason for us to upgrade them if they’re still working.
“But they’re so expensive!” I hear from a lot of people. Again, it depends on what you want to do with them. Amazon’s new Fire tablet is only $49, or you can pick up a six pack of them for just $250 and put them in different rooms, your car, your office or wherever. Imagine how long they will last at that point.
I’m thankful for tablets as a whole. While I am sure they will be replaced by something else down the road, for now, I am thankful each day for what tablets have done to ease my particular use case.