As inflection points go, the Consumer Electronics Show that kicked off yesterday couldn't be sending a clearer signal: The era of the personal computer is drawing to a close. For an industry gathering that once showcased each new generation of desktop and laptop, this year's show is buzzing with every imaginable flavor of tablet, smart phone and mobile appliance. Welcome to the age of mobile computing. Wall Street JournalWhen I see something like this, I am always wondering how this will affect me and what I buy in the future. The implications of the WSJ statement caused me to pause.
I am a senior citizen (69) that lives half of the year in Oregon and the other half in Arizona. My technology needs are driven by my age, location, avocation (writing) and cost. I have not jumped on board with the ipad....yet. When the device came out initially last spring, I could not see how it would work for me. I had enough problems with my iphone keypad that I was a little leery. I was not aware of the keypad dock at the time. Now I know a new shift in the way we use technology is at hand.
The WSJ article talked about why we won't be buying laptop and will be going to the ipad type device instead. According to the author we will be docking our ipads to a keyboard (ipad Keyboard Dock) and using external or Internet storage for data. By doing that sort of thing, we have ended the fear of a crashed computer, gotten rid of the big tower or even a hard drive in our laptop and taken a load out of our brief cases or backpacks. For the senior citizen the ipad concept will be a real winner. The kindle application, for example, allows the senior citizen to read with enlarged font The touch screen is not only easy to use but can reduce the keyboarding necessary to arrive at the online destination. Even my iphone does this for me!
The new data from Pews Research group says that 59% of the populations now uses their phones for online use. That is up from 25% only one year ago. It is hard for me to think of a time when I did not have access to the internet 24/7. It has become such a way of life for me. In fact in this day and age where seniors want to keep in close contact with family, the smart phones can be a link to busy children. I don't worry about carrying a camera with me anymore. My iphone camera takes such high quality photos I really don't find it necessary. I had not thought of my use as particularly trendy but it seems it is.
Apple TV has been around for quite a while now. I had never really paid much attention to it. Then our son and his family gave us one for Christmas. We could not wait to get it set up and begin using it. This device allows us to connect online with my flickr account as well as use Netflix and rent movies. It replaces payper view TV totally (at least for me) and I think will reduce our cable costs eventually.
In the past in order to use Netflix you would sign up and have the movies sent to your house. My daughter's family began using Netflix online through their children's Xbox setup. I don't have an Xbox and don't even want one. It is nice to have the Apple TV that includes the Netflix application as well as an interface between my computer that will allow me to stream photo slide shows and music through our amp. At home in Oregon this will give us the full benefit of a surround sound system. Really, for this senior citizen, it was a perfect gift.
So what are the new and not so new technologies that I love? Here we go:
- The Amazon Kindle reader is old and yet so new to me. I love the world that it has opened for me. My age makes is a must have.
- Apple TV...great for the senior citizen that wants to have the advantages of a computer that connects to their TV. Reducing cost is a good thing!
- The ipad and some of the peripheral tools that can be added...I don't own this one yet but it is definitely on the list of good stuff! Location will not be important anymore! I think I will probably be using it for writing too.
- My iphone, its camera's, map/search/gps function, online possibilities, etc.
Technology has become a necessity on our lives. Seniors are going to find it more and more useful as time goes on. The trick is to find the right things that will keep them ahead of the trends. It is worth doing the research now to avoid the mistakes later. Welcome to the age of mobile computing!