You might have had a debate with a close friend or colleague regarding the true nature of iPads. Some say they’re glorified mobile devices, while others firmly believe they’re lesser computers. So, who’s correct? In truth, I found myself at both ends multiple times, yet now I have what I can only describe as an unshakeable realization. So, Is an iPad a mobile device or a computer?
An iPad has features from a mobile device and computer that allow it to be either one, according to the context of its role. Apps like FaceTime enable iPads to make and receive calls. Users can also write, play games, watch series, or give on-the-go presentations on iPads.
Let’s delve into the psychology, hardware, and software behind iPads to get an accurate and substantiated answer for why an iPad may be a specific device. We’ll cover many examples from each category, and afterward, you can decide for yourself where you stand!
Is An iPad A Mobile Device Or Computer?
While iPads share a close bond to mobile devices due to their mobility and on-the-go capabilities, the nature of those capabilities is more akin to a computer’s functionality. As such, it would be inaccurate to state it is one or the other, similar to how you can’t decide that the child of an interracial couple belongs more to the one parent because their attributes are more identical.
An iPad can belong to the mobile device or computer category, depending on the context for its use.
For instance, an established marketing professional would not consider an iPad a mobile device because it would detract from the potential to market it to a specific target audience. Where do most people use their iPads? You can expect iPad users at home, in hotels, and in coffee shops. In comparison to iPhones, users are almost always on the go!
A hotel concierge will greatly value utilizing an iPad for daily operations. However, they will likely not group it as a mobile device even though its mobility plays a significant part in making it an ideal information system.
The executive HR administrator of a large hospital has many administrative responsibilities and may also shy away from viewing an iPad as a mobile device. Instead, it more accurately aids the executive as an extension of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
When someone purchases an iPad for its ability to work on the go – like an executive for a global commercial real estate organization – they do so knowing that it would fulfill their needs better than a computer, laptop, or netbook.
Big corporations like Gartner, Inc. have their own reasons for classifying devices like iPads. They research technologies, share results through private consulting and executive programs, and put iPads in their own class of mobile devices called media tablets when assessing sales numbers.
Canalys is a similar company that delivers market analysis and custom solutions to vendors worldwide. They declared iPads to be computers, boosting Apple’s computer market share tremendously.
Therefore, an iPad can be a mobile device or a computer, depending on the context of its role rather than mobility.
Why Do People Think Of iPads As Mobile Devices?
iPads are compact and easily transportable, like mobile devices. Users can use the FaceTime app to video or audio call other iPad, iPhone, and Mac users. iPads with cellular features have SIM cards that make it possible for them to connect to a mobile carrier network and allow them to make or receive calls.
While iPads share the mobile features of an iPhone, they typically don’t possess the functionality to make or receive calls like an iPhone because it doesn’t have a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card. You also cannot receive text messages or OTPs (one-time pins) on your iPad.
However, some iPads have cellular attributes that include a slot on their sides that houses the SIM card provided by the mobile carrier. The SIM card enables an iPad to access the carrier’s network and use voice and data services like an iPhone.
Users with non-cellular iPads and iPhones can also use Apple’s FaceTime app, a videotelephony app that allows iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to video call one another. The app utilizes the user’s email address as a phone number.
It’s made possible by syncing their iPad with their iPhone and using its number to route the audio to the iPad. Apple users can also sync their iMessage app with their iPad, so all their messages go to their iPad.
Third-party software like WhatsApp can help iPad users make or receive calls via wifi or if they have an iPad with a SIM card. However, while it is available on iOS, it remains unavailable for iPad until such a time that WhatsApp launches an official version for iPad. It’s also true that when people tell us no, we often perceive it as a challenge; if you still want to try WhatsApp on your iPad, follow this guide.
Otherwise, traditional apps like Skype also provide users with calling and texting features, but it still relies on an internet connection like a computer.
What Features Make iPads A Computer?
iPads have computing apps for writing, editing, programming, drawing, and running the daily operations of a business.
Many businesses and entrepreneurs – both local and international – are opting to go with iPads rather than computers. While there is no competition regarding computing power, iPads have established their mark on the business world as reliable devices for guaranteeing fruitfulness.
Users who write for most of the day can do so conveniently on their iPads, and from any location.
Apps like 1Writer, Ulysses, iA Writer, Editorial, and Drafts are all fantastic additions for the on-the-go writer.
Some users might prefer Ulysses as a primary writing app and 1Writer as a secondary app to make drafts, making it easier to keep the draft fragments in a separate app; 1Writer is especially useful for this reason. Editorial has the advantage of writing python scripts.
Furthermore, users can access MS Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for those more accustomed to MS Office.
Like computers, iPads are just as good for reading books – perhaps even better due to their size. Users can use apps like Apple Books (formerly iBooks) to read their favorite books or novels.
PDF Expert is a superb PDF-editing app from Readdle that allows users to read, annotate, edit, and share documents or scientific books. Users can also use an iPad to view their emails, access cloud storage, and even scan documents with their cameras, allowing users to print or re-upload them to the cloud service for sharing.
The standard iOS Notes app lets users take notes and sync their devices to make them accessible on all their Apple devices. Microsoft’s OneNote is also an excellent addition for any iPad user. Furthermore, users get an iPad primarily for on-the-go presentations like PowerPoint. In this case, they can combine them with apps like AnyFont to utilize custom fonts.
Other features that put iPads in the same limelight include but are not limited to:
- Managing files on iFiles, Dropbox, etc.
- Encrypt files with Boxcryptor.
- Watching series on Amazon Prime, Sky, and Netflix.
- Creating illustrations for articles with iDesign.
- Painting with SketchBook and Drawing Desk for young kids.
- Coding with Pythonista, Textastic, Coda, and managing websites and SQL servers, etc.
- Playing games like Call of Duty or Lego Star Wars.
- Shopping on Amazon, booking airplane tickets, and making hotel reservations.
An iPad device shares equal similarities between mobile and computer, which would make choosing one over the other inaccurate. They may represent a mobile and practical solution for people operating international businesses, while it resembles a computer for those more interested in its administrative benefits.
Where To Next?
This blog is a blog dedicated to using modern computing devices to run and manage a business. If you’re interested in using an iPad for your business, either as an entrepreneur, a small business owner or for your employees to use I recommend reading the following articles: