Mobile devices have revolutionized the way we work, and most mobile professionals have at least a phone and a laptop. Throw a tablet into the mix and a powerful mobile kit is at the beck and call of the road warrior. Mobile gear is even better when it works seamlessly together, allowing moving from one device to another at will. Using the device that best fits the needs at the time is very efficient. While this is easy to do, automatic even, for those using Apple’s hardware and software, it is sadly lacking in the Windows world.
Microsoft approaches the device integration feature by suggesting you use a Surface tablet, which is a tablet that works as a laptop. It’s both devices in one so just carry it with you everywhere and you’re covered.
That’s a reasonable solution for some but there are a lot of folks out there, and I’m one of them, who don’t want to carry and use a full PC all the time. I want a tablet that has a streamlined OS that is capable without being overkill.
I prefer to use a tablet when that makes sense and a laptop with a full OS when that is more appropriate for the task at hand. This works very well if both devices and the OSes that drive them work seamlessly together without effort.
Remove the device barriers
Apple devices can automatically do that. It’s called Handoff/ Continuity, and it lets Macs, iPads, and iPhones automatically detect the presence of the others when they get in close proximity of one another. Moving from the laptop to the tablet and editing the same work document is painless.
You can concentrate on the actual work task and not the device you’re using, as you can move at will. The document is presented on the preferred device in the same state, even the same place in the file, as you left it on the other.
Getting files on one Apple device to another is as simple as dragging them to the other in AirDrop. The other devices on the same Wi-Fi network are detected and presented as destinations. It couldn’t be easier and it’s lightning fast. This is integrated into both iOS and OS X so there are no other apps required.
Since Apple devices always know when they are near the others, getting online is just as easy. If the iPad or MacBook have no integrated 4G capability, both devices sense when the iPhone with tethering capability is close by.
Getting them online is as easy as selecting the iPhone (where it automatically appears as a Wi-Fi source) as the hotspot for the MacBook or iPad, and it’s online. The iPhone doesn’t have to be out of the bag or touched. It’s seamless and lets you concentrate on the actual work at hand, not the mobile tech you are using to get it done.
Apple’s Continuity/ Handoff features have been around since OS X Yosemite, and it’s clear to me that it is far better than keeping multiple mobile devices in what are in effect silos. Such devices are much more efficient when they work together, like a little personal network designed to help you get your work done.
Windows needs a similar feature, and it needs it sooner rather than later. The primary objective using a device and OS for work should be doing whatever makes that easier for the user, and Apple’s solution is a clear advantage in this regard over Microsoft’s.
The time is now
This is the appropriate time to discuss the disadvantage Windows has compared to Apple’s offerings as the release of Windows 10 is near. Windows 10 is looking to be a fine upgrade to the OS, and it should have every feature enabled to firmly compete with OS X and iOS. This is especially true since Windows 10 Mobile is Windows 10 at its core. Microsoft’s customers deserve the very best, and device integration like that from Apple is a big deal.
Apple’s device integration is useful but that’s not the extent of it. Having all of its mobile gear working together is a big incentive for customers to go all in with Apple. Microsoft should think long and hard about that.
This isn’t about saving a step or two, it’s about doing so repeatedly each and every day. It’s about removing every barrier to getting work done, however small. It’s about keeping the focus on the task at hand and not having the tools interrupt it.
Windows is a powerful OS and this isn’t to imply it’s not a good solution for the mobile professional. But it does lack the integrated approach found with Apple equipment and software, and that is more significant than those who haven’t been using Apple gear for a while might realize.