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Modern Day Dilemma – What iDevice Should i Buy?

October 19, 2010

The Dilemma

I love toys.  There, I said it.  But these days there are so many devices out there of questionable use and of questionable value that even I have had to pause for a moment and think; do I really need that?  I mean seriously, it’s normally my wife’s job to ask me that when I’m drooling over the latest shiney iToy!  So what am I? A girl now?  I surely hope not and hopefully by doing this execise I will clear things up for myself and maybe even you.

So What Do I Need?

Let’s try to be logical about this:

My Mobile Computing Needs = (Laptop AND (Smartphone OR (Phone AND Tablet))) OR (Every-freakin-thing!)

Ok, so logic doesn’t seem to play a huge part in this.  I currently have a laptop and an iPhone.  Based on the logic above I’m sorted.  Clearly I’m not… I mean, I read reviews on all the latest smartphones coming out.  I’ve been following the iPad keenly and I’m excited about the new Samsung Galaxy Tab and Blackberry Playbook coming out.  So is it just marketing that makes me think I need these new toys?  Mostly, yes.  But that’s ok, because I think I still have some strong business cases.  You see, in my household I am the CIO (Chief Information Officer) and, therefore, I manage the technology.  My wife on the otherhand is the CFO (Chief Financial Officer).  Although we load balance the CEO-ing I recently read a Gartner study claiming that there has been a shift whereby more IT organisations are reporting to the CFO, rather than the CEO or any other executive.  Anyway, I digress…


My Business Cases

A year ago I used to drive to work and well, drive everywhere.  I had a Windows Mobile, then I had a Blackberry, then I got an iPhone.  Now, I hated the iPhone when it first came out… yes, I was an Apple-hater.  But when I finally gave in and got one, I found it to be a godsend!  So I was a pretty happy camper.

Six months ago I moved and no longer drove.  At all.  So it was public transport all the way.  You have probably already guessed that I read a LOT.  Mostly tech articles, rss feeds, twitter and I enjoy me a good novel.  I also listen to music a lot and enjoy podcasts, TV shows and movies.  My iPhone can do all this and do it all well.  But it was struggling…
Then the iPad came out and I felt that where my iPhone was letting me down the iPad would step in with all it’s glory, like a knight in shining armour, and solve all my problems.  More screen real estate and better battery life was really all I was missing from my iPhone…

And then I realised that for a serious chunk of cash, that’s all I would be getting out of the iPad.  The ROI went out the Window.  I couldn’t take this to the CFO… she’d laugh in my face (and she did).  No USB ports, no video out, no camera (for Skype), no expandable storage, no media card slots, no Adobe Flash support… and possibly a new monthly bill to pay.

So I held off.  And low and behold, a new contender showed its face… the Samsung Galaxy Tab, followed closely by the Blackberry Playbook.  Both are due out in the very near future and they look great.  Seems they filled in the gaps left by Apple… but they both only have 7” screens.  I tried to convince myself that this was a good thing because it meant better portability and effectively a sharper image (high res, small screen).  But I’m not sure these arguments hold up.  I’m not going to fit these in my pocket so the smaller size is no advantage, and although the screen can almost fit as much on it as an iPad, it’s still small to use with your fingers.  Furthermore, speculation on the high prices of these devices coupled with the Playbook being a brand new OS with barely any apps and the Galaxy Tab running Android, which Google themselves have said isn’t ready to run on a tablet, kind of doesn’t help the argument.  The CFO wasn’t buying it (pun intended).

Then about a month ago I started a new job with a company car provided.  Now I drive.  All the time.  I promptly installed TomTom on my iPhone, bought a phone cradle and car charger and picked up an FM transmitter so I could tune my iPod into the radio (yeah it sucks but it’s better than listening to the same CD over and over and over).  I no longer have the time sitting on trains and buses to read and watch videos, and therefore, I no longer need the screen real estate.  The iPhone also remains fully charged when plugged into the car charger.  My already flaky tablet business cases have gone out the window.  The single argument I have left for the need for a tablet is so that I can sit on the couch, not tethered to power, and do some light web browsing and reading without getting out my laptop.  If was to attach a price to being able to do that, the price is < the price of a tablet, and certainly of those currently available.  Enter my new smartphone business case!

So my iPhone is a 3GS.  It’s getting a bit old for me.  One year with a device is about the limit of my attention span.  And now I’m not likely to get a tablet, I figure I can justify a new phone.  And would you look at that; there are some great contenders!  The iPhone 4 is the first one that comes to mind.  Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy S, the Galaxy Tab’s little brother.  And this week (in the UK) Windows Phone 7 is released.

All phones look absolutely fantastic, but how do you split them apart?  First you have to make it personal.  You should be able to deduce by now that I need; music, video, an e-reader, social networking and GPS.  They all do that… but how well?  The biggest argument for the iPhone 4 is that I know it can do everything my iPhone 3GS can do but better.  However, for the same reason will it feel like I have a new phone at all if I just get another iPhone?  But then again, I have invested a significant amount on accessories and applications – should I just throw these out?  The biggest arguments against the Galaxy S and WP7 is that they are first generation products.  The iPhone was in it’s third generation before I thought it was good enough to buy.  But then again, they are new and shiny and I like new and shiny!

Then I read a few interesting articles the other day.  There are no less than 6 new tablets coming to market in the first half of 2011.  Among these, there is a very, very good chance that there will be an iPad 2.  A new and improved iPad, with front and rear cameras, multitasking, a mini-USB port and who knows what other goodies!  And based on the trend of Apple’s pricing, it is likely to cost the same as the current iPad.  Further to this, recently Apple have relaxed some of their restrictions on Apps being given the OK through the App Store… one such restriction now makes it possible for Adobe to create a Flash package for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch’s.  Here’s hoping they actually do because if so, it bodes very well for Apple.  Very, very well.

But what about the universe pointing me toward a new smartphone, I hear you say?  Well, I have also stumbled upon rumours that development is well under way for an iPhone 5.  Perhaps this model will support 4G?  And it may come with a mini-USB port to allow charging, as per recent laws the EU stating that phone manufacturers need to standardise on charging ports/cables as an initiate to lower their carbon footprint (from discarded obsolete chargers).  Well, well… perhaps I should just hold off a few more months and see how the iDevice landscape looks then?  iPad 2 + nearest competitors and iPhone 5 + its nearest competitors… I imagine there may be less need for compromise in the very near future.


So what do I buy then?

So after all that I get nothing?  I must say, this pleases the CFO very much.  Extra funds in the bank account as already been spent on booking a trip to Paris and theatre tickets (I’m not even kidding).  But I have to admit, and this is very hard for me to do so, that it really seems like it is worthwhile holding out for just a couple of months before buying a new phone or a tablet.  Great things are just around the corner.

However, to tide myself over there is a very good chance Santa is bringing me an Xbox 360 this year.  But wait Santa… what about the Sony PS3…???

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