Yesterday I had an article about the downside of having multiple devices, and now the other side of the coin.
The first obvious one is reliability. Even if one device has a problem, it is rare that they all have a serious problem at once. People who have multiple devices normally can survive the loss, theft, or damage to one device. This is really nice for people who have to be available 24/7 for legal or other reasons.
The next important is convenience. It can be helpful to have multiple screens to copy information from one program to another. This is even more of a time saver than you realize. Studies have shown that every inch of screen size allows a 20% more productive use of time. Having multiple screens is an amazing experience. When I have that I put my email in one screen and then I can respond instantly to anyone who needs help while I work on other issues.
Also important is portability. While laptops can be a challenge for people who travel often, iPads and iPhones are less of a challenge. I have made it clear that laptops are superior to tablets right now, but that could change. Using different devices can allow people to take advantage of downtime they would otherwise not be productive in. What doesn’t work for me may work for others, so if people want to use iPads great. A computer is a tool.
There is a certain amount of status conferred on people who used multiple devices. In most companies just spending the money usually means they are executives or VIPs. Surprisingly I have worked at places where the IT staff are given desktop computers. Laptops are proven tools to help diagnose network issues, help with research on tricky problems and even provide software tools. It is up to each company how efficient they want their IT staff.
Of course, having to charge all of these devices can be annoying, but docking stations help make charging the iPad/iPhone easier. If those devices could be wirelessly charged I’d consider getting an iPad. Until then, the superior laptop battery is where it’s at for me.