Ever since last fall, I’ve been beating the drum for phablets, those increasingly popular mobile devices best described as either comically large smartphones or hopelessly shrunken tablets that can be coerced into making telephone calls.
Now that Apple is widely expected to announce new iPhones in less than a month, it’s time for me to put up or shut up. If Apple really does release a 5.5-inch iPhablet, as many observers predict, I’m prepared to give up my iPhone AND my iPad and make do with a single device.
If the market trends and research are correct, I won’t be alone. The idea of carrying a single hybrid mobile device is already super-popular in emerging markets, according to an Accenture study this summer, and the giant phones are doing surprisingly well in the developed world as well. If Apple can come up with a stylish, highly functional take on the concept on September 9, the idea is going to make even more sense to millions of Apple fans and others.
One is better than two
Making the switch from two devices to one won’t be easy. (My family recently transitioned from two cars to one, and this could be similar shock to the system.) After all, I take my iPhone 5 with me everywhere I go. It's small enough to fit in almost every pocket, feels great to hold, and can be operated with just one hand.
At the same time, my iPad Air is a brilliant canvas for watching movies and video, looking at pictures, interacting with social media, and even doing a bit of work (writing emails and such).
See also: How smartphones won the tablet war
But as the Wall Street Journal pointed out recently, tablets are a nice-to-have, not a must-have. While I appreciate the spacious, 9.7-inch screen on the iPad, I don’t love it enough to drag it around with me most places. Smaller tablets like the iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy Tab are easier to carry, of course, but offer less of an advantage over a phablet. What I really want, and what I think most people want, is the most powerful, easiest to use, biggest-screen mobile device that they can actually take with them wherever they go.
Love the one you’re with
They say the best camera is the one you have with you. And I say the best mobile device is the biggest, best one you can take with you all the time.
That, my friends, sounds like a phablet to me.
Sure, I do worry a bit about looking ridiculous holding up a giant slab next to my head when making a phone call, but that’s what speakerphones, Bluetooth headsets and those ubiquitous little white headphones are for, right? (We can only hope Apple doesn’t ditch the earbuds for some ginormous Beats monstrosity.) And that work stuff I mentioned I do on my iPad? I’d really rather be doing that on a laptop, anyway, taking advantage of a real keyboard and a proper work-oriented operating system.
If Apple comes out with an iPhablet, I’m getting one, and I’m going to give it the chance to be my only everyday mobile device for an extended period of time.
I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it goes.