Does it make sense to carry around two, three, or more portable computing devices? Select from:
Regular-size laptop; say 15"-screen or higher.
Skinny laptop i.e. Air at 13" or even 11".
Big tablet at ~10" as in current iPads.
One-hander tablet, typically at 7".
(My current load: 1, 4, and 5.) The choice will be increasingly in everyone’s face if the rumormongers are correct and Apple ships an iPad in the #4 slot.
Sidebar · Amusingly, back in 2010 I arrogantly claimed Apple will totally do a 7" device. Last fall, I sheepishly mumbled Clearly I’m eating those words. Now everybody is saying Apple will do it after all; treat this as wordpuke.
One Size Fits All? · I griped that the Nexus 7 doesn’t have a cellular radio. Dan Lyons said I can envision a time, maybe not so far from now, when I won’t carry a “phone” at all. If my Nexus 7 could make phone calls, I’d be there today. I chimed in gimme a good 7-incher with a mobile radio and bye-bye handset. I got lots of pushback and so did Dan, but I still think the idea isn’t insane.
First of all, and probably unlike Dan, I have direct experience. I spent several months back in 2010-11 carrying around the original Samsung Galaxy Tab, which may have only been Gingerbread, but included a first-rate phone, and my handset rarely left my pocket.
Second, much of the pushback I got was along the lines of “No pants pocket fit, no deal.” Fair enough, but do bear in mind that a large proportion of the male population wears garments that have big pockets: Suit jackets, vests, cargo pants & shorts. And just as many females carry a bag of some sort, plenty big enough for a 7-incher. (OK, a high proportion of my readers, both genders, are jeans-and-T-shirt folk, and I love ya, but yer geeks, all right? We’re talking civilians here.)
Bear in mind also that the tablets have better batteries than handsets, and play movies nicely, and display maps beautifully, and, well, lots of stuff.
Pluralities · But I’m sure lots of people will carry more than one device; which returns us to our opening question. Me, I use the big laptop because I do multimedia grinding. (But it does feel a little objectively weird to carry around an 11-inch computer and a 10-inch tablet.)
I use the small tablet because it makes my hands and eyes happy.
I carry a phone because it’s always online.
It Matters · Billions and billions and billions worth, probably.