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iPad != Mobile

Posted by Meg Bear on September 1, 2011


This is possibly a pedantic point of view, but to me, the iPad is not a mobile device.

In fact, the whole topic of mobility is missing the point.  I think the iPad is bigger than mobile, and it warrants an entirely different discussion.

I also think that the topic of mobile became a lot less (not more) interesting with the iPhone, we just forgot to notice.  We were all too busy trying to find a reason to get and/or use one.

OK, to start at the beginning.

I believe mobility as a [technical] topic, is about being able to access networked technology without a hard wired connection.  Mobility, as a concept, has seen huge leaps forward in both cellular and wireless technologies.  So much so, the lists of places you can go to be disconnected, are more practical to collect, than the reverse.  Mobility is possible with laptops as well as tablets and smart phones.  As far as enterprise applications are concerned, mobility, as a topic, is passe.   The internet did [sort of] change everything.

So if we should not be thinking of the iPad as mobile, how should we think about it?

My point of view is that iProducts create a very different story than a mobile one.  They introduce entirely new form functions for user experience.  They expand the types and kinds of personas we should be using to design applications.   They introduce the vision of user-centricity.

Once I can imagine the idea of a user centric device, I can begin to have a different relationship with technology as a whole.  I can imagine a world where enterprise applications are useful to me and not just to my company.

The personal connection between the device and how I do work is a very big thing.  The concept is not about where I do work, but how I do work.

In this I see a big difference, and I look forward to more people talking about technology and work as a result of this beautiful new device (and all the excellent devices that will come along after).  We need to be talking about how we can use technology to make work better.  We need to be talking about how we begin to make business better.

iPad, I am expecting a lot, I hope you are ready to see this through.

One Response to “iPad != Mobile”

  1. yafei said

    It is so easy to distinguish. Good point.

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