Before the iPad there was…
After reading this book, you’ll find our computer setups were not always as lean and simple as they seemed. There was a time that we both had a complicated system with many parts and heavy equipment. Let’s look into what that was like so you can understand and appreciate a little more about why we are so happy to be where we are now. It took us a while to get to #iPadOnly but it was well worth it.
Before Michael went #iPadOnly…
“To understand why I choose to go #iPadOnly, let’s quickly go through the history of my computing life. I’ve been using computers for a long, long time. I started as a 10year old with an IBM PC XT when everyone else was playing games on their Commodore c64 or Amiga 500. As time evolved, I kept improving my computer setup. I went from XT to AT 286 later to 386, 486, Pentium, etc.
In the summer of 2000, I got my first laptop computer - a Compaq Armada with a Pentium II processor. It was the heaviest laptop I ever had. It weighed a whopping 6 lbs. (3 kg) and had an astonishing 2 hours of battery life. I loved that machine and used it for two years while I was in college. Carrying it to school every day put a toll on my back. I knew I needed something lighter.
I started experimenting with different laptops, always trying to find the lightest possible model. When people would ask me about the most important feature in a laptop computer, I’d always say ‘weight’ and ‘battery life.’ They looked at me like I was crazy. They expected some spec like RAM, hard drive capacity or stuff like that from someone that really understands computers. To me, that was secondary. I cared about the looks of the machine, the weight and size more than anything else.
At some point I bought a Fujitsu P1200 laptop with a touch display. It was a novelty on many levels. I loved the small size (1kg) and a screen I could touch. The problem was, it was a slow computer. I moved on and discovered a new ‘breed’ of computers called TabletPCs and bought the best there was at the time - a Toshiba M200. I used that device for many years. The TabletPC concept seemed very cool at first. I loved that the screen turned and you could write on it using the Wacom digitizer. It was a fun machine and a complete showoff - people would always ask me how that ‘tablet thing’ really worked. This laptop was heavy though (2kg ~ 4 lbs), and the TabletPC Windows version wasn’t all that useful in the day-to-day work after the initial ‘wow’ factor wore off.
In 2008, Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air and it was the first laptop I really fell in love with. Seriously, it was love at first sight. It was light, sexy, curvy, and fast. It was a stunner. Being a PC guy, I didn’t want to ditch the Windows platform. But after a year, I finally gave up and bought a MacBook Air. This was a major change for me even though it met what I considered the two most important features on a machine, weight and battery life. The switch from the Windows platform to the Mac was painful on one hand and rewarding on the other. It made me rethink everything I knew about my computing life. How to store files, how to use email, how to use the all new apps that were native on the Mac. It took me a few good months to get there but I finally did. I loved the outcome! I worked better, I was more productive and I worked on a very sexy machine with a very nice operating system.
When the first iPad appeared on the market, I quickly bought one of those too (I already had the iPhone). Again, I appreciated the same elegance of the iOS and Mac OSX. However, to me the iPad was a cool gadget, a nice thing to have and a great media consumption device. I was reading ebooks, RSS feeds, watching YouTube. At that point it was simply a consumption device. All that changed around 2012 when the iPad 3 with Retina screen appeared on the market. I decided to buy the cellular version to see if I could squeeze more use out of it. It was also the moment when I was contemplating buying a smaller MacBook Air - the 11 inch version to replace my trusty 13 inch model.
Then it struck me - why not use the iPad instead of the MacBook Air? I decided the iOS platform was mature enough to give it a serious try. After all, it met my important criteria for computers. The weight was less than half a kilogram (providing total portability), and it had a 10 hour battery. I also found other attractive features like:
- Optional keyboard
- Ability to work horizontally or vertically
- Real ‘instant-on’
- A variety of fantastic apps
Pretty strong arguments, right? On top of that, an opportunity to rethink my computing paradigms, once again, to determine if I could learn something new.
So I jumped in.”
Before Augusto went #iPadOnly
“It was 1985. My first computer was a Macintosh. The entire operating system, applications and files lived on floppy disks that had a whooping size of 400KB. It came with Mac Write and Mac Paint as part of the software. Our household has not been without a computer since. A series of Mac and Desktop PCs came and went. In 1995 I bought an Apple PowerBook 140. After that, I never wanted a desktop again. I loved the portability of the laptop, even if the battery didn’t last very long. I loved the fact that I could be super portable.
I have always liked the idea that technology allowed us to work from anywhere and there is no need to be in a physical location. I have never been a huge fan of offices.
The problem was that in order to accomplish everything that I had to do, I needed to carry an incredible amount of technology with me. At the peak of this I had a Tablet PC, a Mac, a PC Laptop (mind you, that I once sold software and then accessories for the PC) scanner, printer, files, and much more. My bag was massive and weighed over 40 lbs. (18 kilos). As I was writing this, I laughed because on a bad day now, my bag is a little over 4lbs (1.8 Kilos) and its contents are much more powerful than the previous 40lbs of equipment.
It is the simplification to my computer mess that is one of the things I really love and enjoy about the iPad. I have a better set of tools, more power, more capabilities and it’s less expensive.
There is something that really changed with this setup that I really love and enjoy. It’s quite simple. Between the iPad and the iPhone, I need less and less. In addition, every time I consider it is time to upgrade, I now consider another iPad, not another MacBook.
I know that someday I may replace that old MacBook for another, but not until certain things in my workflow cannot be done on the iPad. At this time, I believe that the iOS platform is mature enough to allow you to totally work from it. There are things that the iPad brings to the table that a combination of Mac and PC never will. It is not only a simplification factor (and trust me, I have no desire to drag around an additional 36lbs of equipment) but true portability, an amazing battery life and the ability to work intimately with your machine.
I jumped onto this in 2011 and I have never looked back.”