I’ll be honest. I really want my stepson’s Kindle Fire (affiliate link) – or at least an Fire-sized version of an iPad.
My stepson Thomas received a Kindle Fire from his grandmother in April. The timing was wonderful, because Thomas was in the hospital after his initial diabetes diagnosis. I couldn’t resist the temptation and loaded some free apps to test it when he came home. While Thomas slept, I used the Fire to read books, check my RSS feeds, look at Facebook, and write some notes in Evernote. I figured I have given Thomas my iPhone enough on car trips that I could get some payback.
One of the great IT debates of the last two years has been the ideal tablet size. Apple started the craze with the iPad, which has a screen size of just under 10 inches. Some tablets are slightly bigger, some are significantly smaller, but the debate has continued. When I started playing with the Kindle Fire, my mind was made up. Despite the criticisms of some well-respected technology experts, the Kindle Fire is the right size for the real benefits of tablet computing. Michael Hyatt and Chris Brogan have also written about the beauty of a smaller tablet for content consumption.
The rumors of a 7-inch iPad “Mini” are too strong to ignore now, and I eagerly await the introduction of this device. 7-inch tablets are the right size for tablet computers for the following reasons.
- A 7-inch tablet is more mobile – My wife and I place our iPad in a dedicated messenger bag when we go on vacation. I have tried to place the iPad in the same bag as my MacBook Pro, and the bag becomes heavy and bulky. I have also heard several friends complain about the 10-inch iPad being awkward to transport when walking. Meanwhile, I can fit a 7-inch tablet into my laptop bag with no trouble. My wife can fit the Kindle Fire in her purse. A 7-inch tablet is simply a more portable device.
- It eliminates the confusion of how to use your devices – I have used my first-generation iPad as a laptop replacement two times while traveling. My friends and other conference attendees raved about my new “computer”. However, I was not as impressed with the iPad’s ability to replace my laptop. Even when I used a Bluetooth keyboard instead of the iPad’s touch screen keyboard, the device simply did not live up to my computing expectations.
- Mobile computers are now more portable – This point relates to point #2 above. My two-year-old MacBook Pro is the lightest and most portable laptop I have ever owned. Now that I use an iMac for my home office, I will eventually purchase a 13-inch MacBook Air. I create a great deal of content, and a laptop computer is a superior device for creating.
- The same features on multiple devices creates confusion – I am a heavy Evernote and Dropbox user, and I love having my content on multiple devices. However, I find myself debating when to use the iPad and when to use my laptop. I decided to simplify my IT use and use a laptop when I create any content. Before I made this decision, I would write occasionally on my iPad and occasionally on my laptop. I spent too much time deciding where to do my work and less time actually doing my work.
I love tablet computers, and they are here to stay. I just don’t want to use a tablet to create content. A smaller iPad will give me the ability to use the iPad for its intended purpose – consuming content – and maximize the benefits of these great devices. If you are buying a new tablet, what will you buy and why? Share your thoughts in the comments!