iPhone is dead. Arise the OneDevice

Posted on by Mike Evans

Yesterday I explained why am now happy with The One Device. The iPhone 6 Plus has replaced both iPhone and iPad mini in my day bag. And I am not missing having two devices at my beck and call.

But why do Apple and other tech manufacturers continue to differentiate between phones and tablets? They are now essentially the same product except that the so-called phone is able to make cellular calls. The tablet can do everything except make cellular calls. It is a false and outdated differentiation. These days people are making fewer cellular calls. VOIP calling, which is perfectly possible on an iPad, is arguably now more important than cellular. It is free, for starters.

So how can Apple get away with charging a huge premium for the cellular wireless which probably costs peanuts? A basic 16GB iPad Air costs £399 while a relatively tiny 4.7in iPhone is £539. That's a lot of extra dosh for a wireless chip, with the loss of the huge screen adding insult to injury. It doesn't make sense except from the point of view of phone manufacturers who can charge a premium because everyone thinks they need cellular connection.

Imagine if Apple created a real fusion device, the OnePad, with screens ranging in size from the 4in iPhone up to the largest iPad Air. Those who opt for the cellular capability on any of these devices would be able to make calls and send carrier-based SMS messages. Simple, really.

Manufacturers such as Apple will worry about cannibalisation. Will people who make few cellular calls choose just one device, say an iPad mini or, even, an equivalent of the iPad 6 Plus? I certainly would and, indeed, I have already done so with the 6 Plus. Yet at the moment Apple and others are not prepared to face this unpalatable future. The iPhone will continue, as will the iPad, but only for the time being.

I predict that in a very few years we will be offered just one do-all device in a range of sizes. Already, the "phone" in iPhone is redundant because making phone calls is the least of its tricks. Most people spend more time browsing, reading and playing games. Calls are a sideshow. The cellular phone call is on borrowed time and data is the future, so let's see convergence sooner rather than later. 

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