Steve Jobs once said traditional smartphones were not very smart compared to the iPhone. He was right. Today’s iPhone and iPad have become so capable, so useful that they’re taking over many day-to-day functions once reserved for the Mac.
Will The iDevice Replace The Mac?
This is a fair question, but the immediate answer is simple. No. Or, better, not yet. But the trend is unmistakable for any Mac user with an iPhone and iPad.
Just a few years ago my Mac did everything. It was the hub of my digital world. Email. Browsing. Graphics. Movies. Photos. Documents. The Mac did it all and I did it all on the Mac.
Not any more. The extreme mobility of the iPhone and iPad mean it’s the Mac that often gets left at home when we die hard Mac users hit the road.
The iPad mini will only exacerbate that usage disparity, as it’s even more likely to be taken for a ride.
But let’s not forget that as much as Apple loves to create cool products that customers love to use, they also extract money from said customers to keep themselves in business (and stock options).
With the iPhone and iPad, Apple has managed to create two additional products that peacefully coexist with one another, and will continue to coexist with the Mac for a few years to come.
That means Apple has set up a system whereby the company’s faithful followers can easily buy three or four devices. iPhone, iPad, Mac, and all too often, a desktop iMac.
Which of my three major Apple devices is getting the most use? The Mac was once 100-percent. Today, my Mac is used less than half the time I devote to using an Apple iDevice.
The iPhone goes everywhere, so is always available. The iPad goes almost everywhere and becomes more of a reader device than a productivity device. It’s the Mac that gets short changed, and invariably gets usage relegated to apps that don’t have a similarly efficient or productive iOS app (Photoshop, Fireworks, Camtasia, or Screenflow).
Except for what I will term power apps, those that require heavy keyboard use, or specific power apps, much of what the Mac can do is redundant, and offloaded to the more convenient and mobile iPhone and iPad.
In other words, Apple is helping us to replace our Macs with iPhones and iPads, but not quite completely. That way we can buy and use all three. In exchange for our allegiance and faith, Apple at least provides a friendly and almost free way to synchronize our important files between devices.
I don’t foresee a time in the near future when the Mac is fully supplanted by iOS devices, but for many the trend is in that direction and it’s not coming back.