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It’s my iPad’s first birthday this week. I was an iPhone user before I bought the iPad, so I knew I was going to like it, but I had no idea at the time how much it would transform my working life. I used to have to carry round a laptop with me when travelling to meetings, with its attendant “brick” charger and assorted leads. I used to have to find some way of getting access to the internet, either wireless or a friendly Ethernet socket and once on there, log onto the company network via virtual private network (VPN). The laptop used to take for ages to power up and then the all powerful Microsoft Office took over for all my software needs.
In the last twelve months I have been liberated from all that. The iPad slips into my briefcase, powers on instantly, connects immediately to the internet via 3G or wireless and gives me access to thousands of applications that have made my life easier and more entertaining. The only time I use my laptop now is in my home office or works office and then only to store my email on my hard disk.
I could not have imagined how much my IT life would have been transformed when I bought my iPad.
I think it is about to be transformed again, with the news that Apple is going to launch iCloud. I watched Steve Jobs give this year’s keynote address at the Apple developer’s conference and listening to his plans for the Cloud, I can’t help but think I will be repeating myself this time next year. Storing all my data, pictures and music in his server farm is a bit of a scary thought at first, but once you get used to it, the benefits far outweigh the concerns. I already use Gmail for my personal email, which means it is stored in the Google cloud and accessible from any device, including my iPad. I don’t have to transfer personal emails from my laptop to my PC at home or to my iPad come to that. It is all there whatever device I use. Now my music, pictures, videos and Apps will all sit there ready for me to access them from my iPad, iPhone or whatever Mr Jobs comes up with next. A photo taken on my iPhone will simply transfer to the cloud and down to my iPad, next time it is switched on. Any App purchased on my iPad will transfer through the Cloud to my iPhone.
You probably think this is great news for your kids, but why will it transform our office lives? Well, I think with the mass consumerisation of IT we are now starting to render the IT department obsolete. For example, if my applications are managed and updated by someone else, my data is stored on a secure server somewhere in the world and I can access it all from a simple tablet or phone, what are the IT department going to do – look after my internet connection? We will assume the same ease of access and operation should apply in the office and demand it accordingly.
So what will I be raving about in July 2012, apart from the London Olympics? Well, I suspect I will have ditched my laptop and “brick” forever, with my IT consisting solely of an iPad, iPhone and a charger. I probably won’t buy another PC for home, since everything I want to access will be at the end of my internet connection, sitting at Apple, Google and perhaps Microsoft for the office. When I want to print something out onto paper (yes I will still want to do that!), the nearest printer to me will be connected to the Internet and be instantly available through the Cloud. I reckon there will be some cracking new Apps that will organise all my data in the Cloud, sorting my personal and business life for me. I will probably have upgraded to the next generation of camera iPad, which means that with Google or Skype, video conferencing will be the norm, cutting my travelling, and finally - there will be a “killer” App turning my iPhone into a cash wallet.
Forecasting the future is not as easy as looking back at the past, but developments in the first year of the iPad have been a revelation and with the speed that technology is developing, I expect nothing less in the next twelve months. Let’s wait and see the shape of things to come.
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