"Mobility": Rhetoric Vs. Reality

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by thinkdesign, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    There's nothing more heady than the abstracted (simplified) futuristic/romantic rhetoric about how we're entering a "mobile" age. But the REALITY is something else. ===== I live in a small city in what Wm. Gibson calls The Sprawl, 3/4 hour from New York City. When I make a day-trip to visit Manhattan bookstores/galleries/museums or a museum's library for my work... here's what my "mobility" really involves: Constantly juggling 3 or 4 questions -- (A.) "Where are the electrical outlets? so all my under-batteried E-devices can get through the day... (B.) "Where are the bathrooms?" (due to both the typical frequency of need for the aging male, and the need to drink water to avoid more kidney stones)... (3.) "Where can I sit down, especially without buying food?" (for the early-onset arthritis), and ..... (D.) "Where are the free/open Wi-Fi stations?" I am listing this last, only because they're essentially extinct. Even if you see a list of Wi-Fi's where one looks unlocked... just try to use it, and 'Boom!' it turns out that it IS locked. ===== CONCLUSION: So, if Apple would wake up to this last "D." reality, that WI-FI IS INSUFFICIENT for real "mobility", and therefor what's needed is the option of a 3G modem with the carrier of one's choice... then my "mobile life" could revolve around juggling just 3 factors, not 4. :eek:) ------ Yes, I could get an old fashioned outboard 3G modem, but having that hanging off the side of a Macbook Air, looks like an anorexic supermodel smoking a big fat cigar. C'mon Steve, Apple needs to catch up with its competitors, when it comes to 3G!
  2. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    That's a bit of a ramble. But for the future, just about all of the smaller parks in manhattan have free wifi.

    Although saying that, maybe you would be better off with an iPad wifi+3G. That would remove questions A and D. Unfortunately for questions B and 3, there aren't any apps for that yet ;) Although I'm sure those 'cruising' apps might help you find some interesting bathrooms...
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My eyes glazed over, why not use the enter-key once in a while. Paragraphs are your friend.

    I'm not sure what your point is. Are you looking for free wifi or that apple doesn't provide a different solution for their laptops for either 3G or free hotspots?
  4. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    My point is Apple talks the talk on moility, but doesn't think it through enough.

    Yes some of the Manhattan parks (if private foundation dollars are poured in)
    have Wi-Fi. Great, now all we need is a 13" screen that can be read outdoors. Arrive by 10 AM, and you can grab the last seat in shade (which you'll lose if you run to the loo)... but AFAIK in NYC parks like Bryant Pk. (whose wi-fi's only at west end; the loo's at east end) are mostly sunny, so also, reality is: eye strain* builds up with the eye's unavoidable involuntary normal wanderings (* from irises frequently opening and closing). Plus, with what power outlet for a too-small battery? (I know of only 1 NYC park w/ a few outlets.)

    There are a few great fully shaded easy-on-the-eyes(and tiny) parks, but NOT with Wi-Fi, (or outlets, or loos). Ya can't win! :eek:) So sometimes I sit in them, hard-copy ref. material in-hand... doing my writing with a pen in a 70pp 8"x11" spiral notebook, until my plumbing screams and I must leave. How retro! I'd be better off in the woods!

    In context -- When you design a phone or laptop with a half-day or less battery, so everyone's charging mid-day, it's not like the user now has this ONE nuisance to juggle. The mobile worker is ALREADY JUGGLING SEVERAL OTHER HASSLES ... regarding where to find basic public amenities in a 99.9% privatised urban space. So, adding one more computer hassle can be sort of - the straw that breaks the camel's back.

    2nd REALITY: ADVERTISED WEIGHT Vs. ACTUAL WEIGHT. When Apple says a notebook weighs 4.6 or 3.0 pounds, that's a myth if true battery life's so short that you have to lug the charger around, too. (applies now esp. to the 'Air', now that 13" MBP finally got a serious battery.) I asked Apple's 800# how much the Air's charger weighs: Official answer: "I don't know." He looked for the info for 5 minutes, then gave up.) And it doesn't help if, for example, Apple's iPhone design dodges the emerging voluntary world standard for 2011/2012 and beyond, of everyone using a Micro-USB jack and a standard voltage, for charging.

    (Restaurants for example, could provide that charger cord at some tables... but will they bother, if half their customers have iPhones which are non-standard?)


    Claims of light "Mobility" weight also crumble, if a laptop's fragility of design demands added padding or cladding for sufficient durability. How much does a Speck acrylic case weigh? (And it does nothing to protect the Air's fragile hinges.) And then add some more ounces of weight for the foam sleeve, because your shoulder bag's padding might not be enough? The TRUE WEIGHT you're lugging around is the TOTAL WEIGHT of all this stuff (including any adapter dongle, plus the plug-in 3G cell modem since Apple neglects to offer that).... even if you pay a premium price for the 3 pound laptop (and accept its tradeoffs)... that 3 lbs. isn't what you're actually carrying. An that's before you throw in another pound for some sort of outboard backup battery, if you need it. 3 lbs will become really 4 or 5 very fast. 5-1/2 pounds will become really at least 6-1/2+, very fast.

    This, in a world where any good professional designer can easily with the push of a button, get the sobering statistics on the aging of most (indistrialised) countries' populations, and therefor the increasing NEED for lightness due to the increased commonness of arthritis. (See U.N. disability/longevity trend stats, or google what used to be called Adaptive Environments.org... I forget their new name.)

    If I get a 4.6 lb. notebook for proper battery life, then to avoid too much weight pressing on just one arthritic body part, I must change my shoulder bag to a backpack. Which weighs more, too. And of course, realistically, one's computer and its paraphanelia may not be all that one's carrying. So add another 1/2 pound at least, for that. Ergonomically, it gets difficult.

    All I'm saying is that Apple and everyone else are selling things as mobile", "portable", and "lightweight" ... WITHOUT thinking it through even halfway, in terms of how this stuff plays out in real-world use.


    Translation: A really "mobile" working laptop which of course needs all-day battery life -- needs to be 3 or no more than say 3-1/4 pounds "Complete". No extra weights piling ontop of that 3 lb. figure -- for needed dongles, modems, sleeves, Speck cladding, backup battery, or charging bricks.

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