But then I had a eureka moment: I realized that iPads, and tablets and smartphones for that matter, are cloud terminals. They’re access points.
They’re like those black and green computer terminals that used to connect to mainframes, but with more memory to store things. They’re the plug that goes into the back of your skull in The Matrix.
Let me explain this a little with some real-life examples. As my usage of cloud apps has increased, I tend to reach for the device more and more. And in spite of my love of reading paper books, it’s just much more convenient to tote the little iPad around than it is a couple of books.
Last week I traveled from Florida to New Orleans and New York for a weeklong slugfest of legal industry trade shows. I knew I was in for a lot of schlepping stuff around, so right before I departed my house, I dumped the weighty hardcover I was reading on my desk and made a split-second impulsive decision to read the book using the Kindle app (cloud-based reading) on my iPad.
On the plane, I composed a blog post using the cloud-based information organizational tool Evernote, finding the touchpad keyboard less annoying than scrunching a 15″ laptop onto the tray table. When I arrived in New Orleans, I synched Evernote, and my work was preserved, ready to access from my laptop for heavier lifting.
I started using our own cloud-based legal practice management product, Rocket Matter, more and more exclusively on the iPad. I became entranced by the presentation of news on Flipboard, generated by my social media network. I started pulling down more apps that I thought would be suitable for the platform, like GoToMeeting.
All of a sudden, I was one of those annoying iPad people. I bought a stylus.
I was trying to explain my newfound appreciation for the device to a colleague when the mainframe terminal analogy occurred to me. He was in the shoes I occupied before: a non-believer. I framed the iPad as a cloud access device and all of a sudden, we both got it.
So when it comes to iPads, if you just don’t get it, here’s what it is: your portable interface to the cloud. But large enough to also be a monitor, magazine, or book.