iPad Pro and the Tech Transformation

Our new iPad Pro is a great device. We love it for what it does – and maybe for the technology transformation that it and other tablets are ushering in.

We can see the iPad Pro and other large tablets edging closer to replacing laptop and notebook computers for some people. If your primary use is to surf the web and take care of email, simply hook up a keyboard, and you’re up and running. If you want to watch videos, the screen on the iPad Pro is amazing for its clarity and speed.

Yes there are some downsides. For one thing, as much as I love it, the tablet is not a full computer. It’s a mobile device, and Apple gives every indication it will not merge its iOS (mobile) and OSX (computer) operating systems. However, with Apple and Microsoft fighting for market share, don’t bet against a tablet replacing your computer. You can get Microsoft Office for tablets – and mobile phones – and as more people get comfortable with storing documents in the cloud, they’re likely to demand more computing capability.

As far as tablets go, iPad Pro is bigger and heavier than previous generations of tablets, but I personally don’t find that to be a problem. In 2005, screens on cell phones started to get bigger, and as we advanced to smart phones with Internet capability, it was only a matter of time that users would demand even bigger screens to watch videos.

By 2010, recalling a once-every-five-years family reunion, the iPad was new to the market, and many family members wondered about the need for it. Well, the iPad and other tablets are here to stay, even though sales have slumped lately. They have a variety of sizes and uses professionally, ranging from healthcare professionals in offices and hospitals who need to maintain patient records as they move through an office or hospital – to IT specialists and sales reps who can do a lot of work without being tethered to a computer.

So, don’t sell tablets short. If the history of mobile devices holds true, enough users will try to push the technology a little farther than its capabilities so that Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and others will notice. Their teams will respond to market demand, and the cycle will start again.

iPad Pro, I love you – until the next better device hits the market.

Have questions about tablets? Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us and tell us what you’re looking for and how much you’d like to spend. There’s a tablet that’s right for you today – and maybe for the next 18 months.

Tech Help for the Holidays

We’re available to help make sure all of your technology gifts are fully up and running. Nothing is more frustrating than technology presents that don’t work as they should, and sometimes only an IT specialist can orchestrate the solution.

That was the situation last year, when one of clients bought some new cell phones and wanted to pass down the older phones to children. We went there on Christmas Eve day to do what the carriers’ retail stores can’t or won’t do: Complete all the data transfers and phone number activations necessary to make Christmas Day merry.

We looked at all the contacts, apps and other data that needed to be transferred to the new phones. In some cases, data can hide in places where most retail techs don’t know to look. In other cases, for example, contacts can be in different places on different phones or not match exactly. The danger in not knowing where to look is that a technician can erase data from the old phone. Once that happens, it’s gone.

We also took the time to understand how each family member planned to use his or her device so that we could set up each one properly. We also made sure they all knew how to access all the features.

We had to program five phones, and that took the better part of a half-day. But the next day, when the stores were closed, everyone enjoyed their new phones.

Whether you are buying new technology for your home or business, you can maximize performance and by making sure your infrastructure has the capability to handle increased traffic.

For homes, this means having the pipeline to handle streaming to new, large flat-screen TVs and/or multiple devices that play streaming content. For businesses, this means being able to handle the newer, faster systems that help you process more business faster – along with a twist.

Some of those Christmas gifts, namely phones and tablets, will likely wind up coming into your office. Whether they’re for business or personal use, they will tap into your office’s network.

So, tap into our service. We can make everyone’s holiday gifts are running properly. Drop us an email to schedule an appointment, but make sure you call us if you need us (973-433-6676) – especially on Christmas Day.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.

Windows 8 ‘Issues Report’

We’ve tested Windows 8 and talked with a number of clients about the OS from Microsoft. Some of them have returned Windows 8-loaded computers because it’s too much of a change. We’re still concerned about hardware interfaces. Here’s what we’ve found so far.

Humans are creatures of habit, especially when using their computers. Pressured to be productive, we really don’t like being moved away from processes we know and follow as second nature. Sure, some of us like the “latest and greatest” in technology, but Windows 8 isn’t great for a lot of users.

The key issue is the look and feel. The new OS looks and feels like a tablet, and Microsoft’s strategy is to “tabletize” desktop and laptop computers to be like tablets and smartphones. That should make it easier for users to operate Windows-based computers and devices. It may happen over time, but not now.

Long-time Windows users have grown accustomed to trays along the bottom of their desktop that allow them to launch commonly used programs or applications. They can also click on the Start button to see and launch all programs, reboot (or restart or shutdown) their computer, open the control panel and access any function.

All of this functionality is not so easy to find with Windows 8. You need to press the “flag” key – the key between the Ctrl and Alt keys – to access the Start menu. The functionality is there but not in the place most users expect to find it. It’s just not the way most people want to work.

Hardware compatibility is another issue. Using the full version of Windows 8 requires a touchscreen monitor. That’s OK if you’re getting all new systems. But if you have a fairly new monitor that’s not a touchscreen, are you willing to spend money now to replace a perfectly serviceable peripheral? We doubt it.

We believe Windows 7 still has a lot of life. If you are in the market for a new Windows-based computer, we can help you get the Windows 7 OS and support it for you. We also support Windows XP. Microsoft will end its support of XP in 2014, but we’ll be able to help you with work-arounds and other steps to keep you going. By the time XP’s useful life ends for you, we’re betting Microsoft will have its next operating system on the market, resolving those Windows 8 issues.

Need help? We do Windows. Just call us at 973-433-6676 or email us with your questions or problems. We’ll clean them up – streak-free.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.