What boomers say about their devices?
With more of us having multiple devices—almost always a smartphone, often a tablet, and occasionally a laptop or desktop—it is interesting to see how, where, and when we use each of these devices. But, boomers have favorites and we don’t all go for the same device.
As an older boomer my favorite device is quite different from what my adult children and their spouses use; many use their smartphones as their go-to devices. While I appreciate the portability of my iPhone and like to have a computer in my pocket for any number of things, my new 13-inch MacBook Pro is undoubtedly my favorite. Nearly as light as my wife’s 11-inch MacBook Air, I also appreciate the large screen, full keyboard, and knowing how things run on a laptop versus the smartphone or tablet.
Frankly, not sure how I feel about tablets right now. While I recommend tablets for many boomers as the “right” device for them, I still do much work that requires a laptop. Yes, I still use my iPad to read books, magazines, and occasionally other online information (especially in bed when I don’t want a reading light to bother my wife) but then my tablet is a first-generation iPad. Ready to be replaced.
Recently, I asked three boomer friends with multiple devices to talk about their preferences. Here is what they said:
Boomer #1—JB, Rochester, NY. I remember when I didn’t have to worry about which device to use because I either had nothing to use or I had my clunky desktop PC! Times have changed and while I still have my good, old desktop PC, but I also have my iPad, and iPhone to consider. I love the convenience of my iPad and iPhone because they go pretty much anywhere! Of course we all know there are some limitations but with “hot spots” and more and more businesses (as well as towns) also offering Wi-Fi, we are pretty well connected.
Printing to the iPad used to be an issue but not any longer. I have a small, multifunctional printer in the kitchen just steps away from my comfortable loveseat and fireplace. The iPad is my go-to device I’ve gotta say for its capabilities and mobility. I can do just about anything I need with the iPad, especially FaceTime and email (which seems to be a lot of ads since texting got so popular).
I also prefer the iPad over the iPhone for the size of keys for typing, print for ease of reading, and larger pictures of our little ones! I must admit I do go to the desktop for heavy web shopping. I prefer the larger screen and ability to multitask while still “shopping”. If I need to scan and mail what I’ve scanned I can do it all on the desktop and that is more convenient.
I have come a long way but not as fast as available technology and hardware. But, I learn more good stuff everyday!
Boomer #2—TM, San Luis Obispo, CA. I have three Apple devices and use each for different tasks. If I am working at my desk on my laptop, I work on photos, watch YouTube videos or Downton Abbey, read book reviews, work on my taxes, or do some Amazon shopping. While I try to work on photos, I actually find that easier to do on my iPhone.
My husband usually keeps my iPad busy but occasionally I read email, look at Facebook, or the newspaper on it. We also try to use the iPad with Chromecast but not very successfully…yet!
My iPhone is my all-around, hands-down favorite companion! Texts, emails, weather, stocks, Facebook…you name it and the iPhone works. We do not always have dependable Wi-Fi service so the phone is useful using 4G. The camera on my iPhone is so handy and I find it easier to email photos or send photos to Facebook directly from my phone rather then downloading to my iMac and sending from there.
If I had to narrow down to one device it would definitely be my iPhone. Now that I have thought about this I am going to buy an iPhone 6 ASAP!
Boomer #3—DG, Ellsworth, ME. I do not have a tablet, just a smartphone and laptop. I wouldn’t classify one device as my favorite over the other but rather, I use them for different reasons.
Smartphone Pros/Cons: I use my iPhone when out of the house and away from my laptop. That is, I am obviously able to respond to emails, do Google searches for information and find directions and restaurants when away from home. It does take me longer to email on this device due to incompatibility of large fingers and the small keyboard!
I also like the texting ability of my iPhone. Instead of automatically calling to speak with someone, I can now find out if they are available to chat. And if not, I can call them at their convenience which is less disruptive and makes for a more enjoyable call at a later time! Remember, we boomers were raised on the telephone and to this day, that is my most enjoyable and productive means of communication.
Finally, I like various apps on the phone—subway apps in NYC and Lausanne—make my life less stressful. I love the ability to take photos without having to search for my camera! The torch is great for boomers trying to read a menu or find our way to the car in the dark. Turboscan is a time saver and very convenient for scanning documents and pictures. While my smartphone is obviously more portable than a laptop…it is ever so easy to lose!
Laptop Pros/Cons: Connecting via Skype is one of the greatest advantages of using my laptop. I like the visual and vocal communication with my family/friends in their various locations. With a larger screen than a smartphone I can have a “nice visit”. I am also able to read all correspondence faster and easier with a laptop. I can enlarge print size as needed which is great for aging eyes! Primary uses are word processing and printing. Soon I would like to use the laptop for photo editing as well.