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Posted on February 12th, 2013 by Barry Collins

Seven devices my iPhone and iPad have made redundant

iPad 3 portrait

“You’re never off that bloody iPhone,” is a common remark in our household. And it’s true. A survey this week claimed that we check our smartphones 150 times a day, and is it any wonder when they do so much for us?

Between them, my iPhone and iPad have made at least half a dozen other devices redundant, taking on all manner of tasks and often doing a better job. Maggie Thatcher would be proud of them.

Here, then, is a rundown of the things my iPad/iPhone combo has lain waste to. While this blog focuses on Apple devices and apps there’s no reason why a combination of Android/Windows phone and tablet couldn’t do likewise: most of the apps mentioned are cross-platform or have equally competent equivalents.

Dedicated satnav device

TomTom unit

TomTom’s satnav app means the dedicated TomTom device I bought back in 2005 is now there purely to keep the box of Werther’s Originals company in the glove box. Initially, I flirted with the CoPilot app, largely because it was considerably cheaper than TomTom. Yet, while it was packed with features and the maps were perfectly clear, it proved too erratic. Its repeated pleadings to plunge through central reservations to make a right turn shook my confidence and my wallet into action.

The TomTom app is pricey, especially when you factor in the traffic updates — £31.99 for the UK and Ireland app, plus £23.99 per year for the traffic — but it’s probably the best app investment I’ve made.  As any father of young children will tell you, the last thing you want on a car journey is an unexpected three-hour picnic in the fast-lane, because you inadvertently joined a 15-mile tailback on the M25. TomTom’s wonderfully responsive traffic updates have saved me from at least two such incidents in the past year. The maps are clearly presented and constantly updated without having to faff with plugging a satnav into a PC, and it works seamlessly with both the Music and Spotify apps, fading the music volume down gracefully when there are audio instructions to deliver. Which brings me neatly onto…

The car stereo

Car stereo

Whether I’m driving with TomTom or not, these days my in-car audio entertainment is delivered via the iPhone, not the car stereo. As with the TomTom app, a 3.5mm audio lead allows me to play the music through the car speakers, and with almost my entire CD collection stored on my iPhone, it saves me from juggling discs and cases when I’m belting down the motorway at… exactly 70mph, officer. If I need to change track or album, I can engage Siri at the press of a button and it normally understands me; there are few similar sounding phrases to “Spandau Ballet”, after all.

The iPhone also has a far greater breadth of audio entertainment than the car stereo. Spotify’s Radio knows my music tastes far better than any station on the FM dial, and there are no adverts or morons behind the microphone to tolerate. If I’m on a long journey, the Danny Baker or Guardian Football Weekly podcasts can keep me in good humour as I toil behind the wheel. And for sports fans, the sound quality of Radio 5 Live streamed via the BBC iPlayer Radio app is far superior to the fuzz and gurgles of the AM station – provided you can get a decent 3G connection.

The MP3 player

iPod family

Apple needs no reminding that the iPhone has bludgeoned the dedicated MP3 player market: the iPod is one of the few blackspots on the company’s financial statements every quarter. Prior to owning an iPhone, I had a fourth-generation iPod mini – a beautifully slim stick of flash memory and screen that could last a week of tiresome commuting between battery charges. Before that it was a hard disk-based iPod classic. With the bulk of my iTunes collection now on my phone, and the Spotify app giving me access to practically any tune I can hum the tune to, I doubt I’ll ever buy an iPod again.

Portable games console


In the days before iPhone and iPad, a Sony PSP used to bring a little light relief to my commute from hell. Games such as Lumines and Little Big Planet just about took the edge off the eighth signal failure of the day. Now, the PSP’s on my other half’s list of things lying around the house that I’m definitely flogging on eBay the next time he goes on a press trip, and there’s more chance of me voluntarily replacing my toenails than replacing it with a PSP Vita.

Why? Because the concept of paying ten, twenty or thirty quid for a handheld console game now seems as frivolous as hiring Moira Stuart to read my newspaper aloud to me. Two or three quid games such as Orbital, World of Goo and Rayman Jungle Run are every bit as good as the old PSP titles, and probably the equal of some PSP Vita efforts too. And the idea of popping games in and out on little memory cards – even if it is a vast improvement on those ridiculous little discs Sony used before – is now only slightly less ludicrous than popping a VHS tape in to record Match of the Day.

Bedroom television and remote control

Bedroom TV

The TV in our bedroom is still the same CRT my parents bought me when I moved into my first flat, aged 21. Until recently, it was plugged into a Freeview box, but when that went pop, I decided there was no need to replace it. Now the TV’s plugged into an extension cable running from the Sky box downstairs, mirroring whatever’s showing on the downstairs television, and the iPad is used for the majority of TV watching.

Various apps — such as Sky Go, BBC iPlayer, TV Catchup Live and 4oD — mean I can both watch live transmissions (with a few seconds’ delay) and catch-up broadcasts from all of the TV channels I care about. YouTube and Netflix (£5.99 after the first month) deliver additional programmes, such as the excellent House of Cards remake — provided you can put up with enough Apple product placement to make Jonny Ive nauseous. And the iPad, propped up with the Smart Case, is slim enough to sit on my bedside table, unlike that bulky old CRT.

The iOS devices have also done for the remote control, to some degree. The superb Sky+ app includes a remote control that allows us to change the TV channel on the Sky box downstairs while we lay-in on a Sunday morning. That means I can switch to Match of the Day on that CRT without touching its remote control or, crucially, leaving a warm bed. Bliss.


Kindle touch

Never, in thirtyish years of gadget fondling, has a device hurtled towards obsolescence as quickly as my poor Kindle. A Christmas present in 2010, it now spends most of its time moping on the sideboard, praying it escapes the clutches of my toddler’s yoghurt-sodden fingers. It’s been almost entirely superseded by the Kindle apps on the iPad and iPhone.

I much prefer reading on the Kindle’s E Ink screen than I do from the backlit display of the iDevices, but the Kindle was the only optional ballast in a work bag that contains laptop, tablet, chargers and all manner of other back-breaking gubbins. It simply wasn’t pulling its weight. And once you’ve dampened the iPad’s display with a sepia-coloured background and by reducing the screen brightness, it doesn’t feel as if your retinas are going dissolve by the end of the chapter.

The Kindle still justifies its place in the travel bag on the rare occasion I get to spend a week on the beach or on a long flight, when the iPad’s either too delicate or too battery-hungry to survive; but it’s a squad player, not the first name on my tech teamsheet any more.



Newspapers aren’t exactly a device, and the iPad and iPhone haven’t completely set fire to my newspaper habit — my subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times covers both print and digital editions, and I still pick up the newspaper most mornings. Yet, I suspect that won’t be the case for much longer.

At weekends, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to drum up the motivation for even the short walk to the newsagents, when I can thumb through the digital editions without even getting out of bed. (I put the iPad in my bedside drawer before I go to bed. Don’t judge me.) A promised revamp and merger of The Times and The Sunday Times apps this week will see the newspapers delivered automatically overnight in Newsstand, giving me even less incentive to toddle off to Tesco.

With the iPad now a permanent fixture in my work bag, The Times providing updated editions throughout the day, and the temptation to cut the cost of my subscription in half by going digital-only, I suspect the newspapers won’t survive the next round of Collins budget cuts.

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34 Responses to “ Seven devices my iPhone and iPad have made redundant ”

  1. Darryl Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I really should subscribe to iPC Pro.

  2. Steve Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Is this journalism or advertisement?

    I really need to get around to making my mag subscription redundant.

  3. Mike Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:51 am

    This has clearly set out to offset the negativity around ios 6.1 issues.

    I’m fed up with constant Apple promotion and overstatement on this site… from reviews to opinion pieces.

  4. Mike Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:02 am

    You could complement this with a piece on how many additional gadgets a tablet/smartphone(not necessarily Apple!) you avoid carrying. Pedometers, torches, bug sprays, altimeters, tour guides, maps, notebooks, rulers, printers, train timetables, camera(quality notwithstanding!), the list goes on!

  5. Alan Smith Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:16 am

    My physical copy of PC Pro, Computer Shopper and new Scientist…

  6. veato Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Even though I have a fully featured smartphone I still have a Kindle, MP3 player, bedroom TV and portable gaming device. Why? Because although my smartphone can do all those things it’s always with compromise.

  7. SteveE Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Equally applies to Android – my SGS2 has a wall pipe finder, planetarium, flight tracker, torch, magnifying glass, scientific calculator, BBC Micro, heart rate monitor (3 different methods!), hearing tester, thin client (via VNC or Teamviewer), FM radio, OS Maps, message ticker display, translator, dictaphone, video recorder, camera,
    as well as my favourite of all – Shazam which is a completely new tool for mobile use and replaces nothing other than a weary brain!

  8. chudney wallace Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I love the apple promotion personally. I’m a huge fan of apple devices, and love that PCPRO seem to enjoy them too. I might buy an extra couple of subscriptions to counterbalance the ‘legions’ who threaten to cancel.

  9. Chris Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I’m going to ignore the headline, as I think a wider point was being made about the evolution of consumer technology.

    You forget that the iPod Touch is really an iPhone without the 3G, and it is simply best-in-class as a portable music device. It’s a music lover’s dream to be able to access Spotify, All Music Guide and any number of radio apps on one device.

    Also the Kindle has died of its’ own accord as far as I am concerned. Once I discovered that there were no savings to be had on the sort of books I buy (mainstream non-fiction) I started to lose interest. When it became apparent that it has serious usability issues which seem unlikely to addressed for my purposes, I put it on the shelf and started buying books again.

    To give you a flavour, imagine reading a 1000 page work of serious non-fiction, complete with end-notes and bibliography, and try to imagine how you would gain any sense of progress as you pore through the pages over several months. The book even ended when the progress bar says “70%” because of all the end-notes. I’d rather read a printed version of the same book, as it has non of the frustrations I experienced. I finished the book, of course, but I was thoroughly disgusted with the quality of device by the time I’d finished.

  10. Tim Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    That’s nothing. I can fry an egg on my Dell XPS 15 while running Photoshop (makes a bit of a mess of the keyboard though).

  11. tech3475 Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Speaking generally, While I may use my S3 when out, I still in many ways prefer dedicated devices (note I don’t have a tablet).

    The Kindle doesn’t strain my eyes as much, the PSP/3DS has dedicated controls (Angry birds, Tetris, etc. are ok on a touch screen but try to play something like Sonic or Mario and you’ll want them plus I rent games through lovefilm), I’ll still take my HDTV over a tablet for TV viewing in my bedroom, iPod Classic for when I’m in one location listening to music since it gives me ALL my music locally and physical controls are useful if you don’t have a remote.

  12. Nick Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Anti-apple hate is tiresome, but the article would be improved by use of generic terms “tablet”, “smartphone”. Because it’s pretty much equally true of android. I’m perverse though, I have an iphone and a nexus 7 so a foot in both camps!

  13. David Knight Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Seven things I never needed a phone to do almost but not quite as good as the real thing.

    “We” do not check our phone 150 times a day (if I know where mine is, its a miracle. Just not bothered).

    Don’t read papers.

    I read real books on occasion, as they are cheaper than ebooks generally (i can wait).

    My music collection extends to 870gb of flac files, thats a lot of cloud storage. I am not paying apple for either, that much cloud storage or their horribly compressed matching service.

    I have a pack of cards and a scrabble board for games.

    I can think of better things to do in the bedroom (Sleep !).

    My original TomTom is still giving good service after all these years, with an occasional update here and there.

    AND !

    My mobile does not replace my home phone, niether gets very much use. I much prefer this old fashioned thing called talking face to face.

  14. Rob E Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    BBC Micro on your SGS2? Seriously? That’s very very cool – does it play Elite too?

  15. Mark Thompson Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Quite right David, yet another article that’s not aimed at the average Joes such as us. Couple of issues with your comments:
    I don’t bother with flac; it may be uncompressed but it’s still had to go through a microphone when recorded. The only way is live music or silence; I’ve some £2k noise cancelling headphones (obviously not used for music, I’ve a small orchestra for that) to filter out the mindless chatterings of the commuter cattle.
    Occasionally read material written by others but this is mainly to confirm the superiority of my own humble writing (and handwritten manuscript is far preferable to the printed page, I see they’ve replaced even that by the e-ink screen, another dead end).
    I don’t ever use my several iPhones, landline or talk face-to-face much as I prefer the sound of my own voice, save for the dulcet tones of Moira reading aloud my Telegraph as I take breakfast.

  16. Surefire Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    All I can say is: “Thank God I gave up my PC Pro subscription”.
    I get the feeling, from a few of the pieces that the so called journos at apple-pro have published recently that they are deliberately trying to antagonise all the normal PC users who supported PC-Pro for so many years (and paid their salaries) and are now surplus to requirements as they pander to the phone obsessed numpties that you see, totally disengaged from real life, and often nearly colliding with this and that because they can’t spare time form oggling their phone to look where they are going.

  17. DJK Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    “(I put the iPad in my bedside drawer before I go to bed. Don’t judge me.)”

    Next to the box of Tissues ?

  18. Rob E Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Gosh. I didn’t know that being a normal PC user precluded me from being interested in articles about the technologies that pervade modern life.
    Thanks for the heads up Surefire! I shall forthwith hand back my MCSEs, cancel my PC Pro subscription, chuck my Android and iOS devices in the bin and spend the next month in a cave, where I shall contemplate at length my good fortune in never having been run over whilst peering myopically at one of those portable touch-screen thingies.
    I fully expect that PC Pro will yield to our en masse defection and get back to more worthy articles such as whether the Turbo button on my trusty 386 makes Crysis run faster.
    Vive la revolution!

  19. Tim Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    With 40 pages of complaint I think we can safely say that the Sky remote app is still a work in progress. The Android version is similarly afflicted.

  20. chudney wallace Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Blimey, looks like i need to buy even more subscriptions now. Luckily i can order them on my wonderful iPhone. And my iPad. And my Macbook pro. I might even do it the old fashioned way with snail mail using apple-branded stationary. In fact, i think royal mail are bringing out steve jobs stamps soon.

  21. Me Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Change the title to 9 things….

    8- How not to be an editor.

    9- Ruining what was once a brilliant magazine for the IT Pro.

  22. Rob E Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:45 pm


  23. Davidbb Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Not a bad article for the genre – unusually I read this one through to the end. There again we’re a bit retro out in the sticks…

  24. wittgenfrog Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    If you really MUST write ‘iphone this, iPad that’ then perhaps the generic caveat “other ‘phones & tablets are available” would at least minimise the ire of those not committed to fruitiness?

    I’m obviously another luddite like David Knight, and several others who prefer (for example) to listen to music on dedicated replay systems, read books on my Kindle and\or on paper, and stick with my current TomTom Traffic.

    Of course its all about compromise: I don’t load my Hi-Fi separates onto a trolley to listen to music on the bus etc, but using an iPad (or any other tablet) instead of a Kindle seems like a bridge too far to me.

    It seems somewhat perverse, in the ‘Post PC’ world to replace the ubiquitous PC with a ‘one size fits all’ iOS solution.

  25. Barry Collins Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:46 pm


    Do you mean a generic caveat, like the one in the third paragraph, that reads:

    “While this blog focuses on Apple devices and apps there’s no reason why a combination of Android/Windows phone and tablet couldn’t do likewise: most of the apps mentioned are cross-platform or have equally competent equivalents.”

    Barry Collins

  26. wittgenfrog Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    That’d be the one.

    I didn’t make myself clear enough. It’s the Headline requires the caveat – perhaps a parenthetical nod at the other gadgets?

    Of course a headline sans i’s but plein de generic gadgets would have been less provocative methinks.

  27. Tim Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    You seem to have missed cameras from the list of frequently replaced devices. I appreciate the quality isn’t quite as good, and using a tablet as a camera is just silly, but most of the time a phone does the job.

  28. Nila Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Not meaning to rant and rave about you all being the devil etc but I do find the article title a bit of a let down.

    It’s similar to the marketing hype whereby my friends used to believe an mp3 player meant an iPod and anything else just confused them if you said it.
    There is no reason to specify “iPhone and iPad” for this article. ANY and EVERY smart phone and tablet can do the above.
    As a magazine designed to hopefully make people learn and be smarter with their IT knowledge, I would expect it to be more objective and less of a subjective comment about your own personal device choice.

    It should be explaining why ANY tablet/phone can do the above, not an iPad, Nexus 7, , etc can do it.

    That having been said – I agree with some of the above points although definitely not the bedroom TV one – just no where near as relaxing to use a hand held device.

  29. Steve S Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    You are likely to have a shock if you use a Nexus device or any other person cutting–edge Android device as they make iOS feel positively stone age. Android has moved the game but then so has Windows 8 and the mobile version. The article should have better reflected how contemporary smart phones and tablets are replacing (for those who like the format) many traditional media platforms. Apple was (and still is) great, but has stagnated due to complacency;there are those of us who have moved on to better and even more user friendly platforms.

  30. geoff_s Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Surprised your alarm clock isn’t also at the charity shop by now. If the phone is your alarm it guarantees it gets a nightly power top-up

  31. David Wright Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I must say, I use my smartphone less and less and I have used an iPad, but I still can’t see why I would buy an iOS or Android tablet.

    To be honest, I use my smartphone for listening to podcast and audiobooks and checking the odd e-mail.

    It is also a great emergency device for quickly checking a website whilst on the move, but it is too frustrating to use for much more. Mostly, if I need to do something, like visit a website, I’ll wait until I get home or into the office and use a decent sized screen and keyboard.

    To be honest, I feel it is a huge burden having to carry a company smartphone around with me. Maybe it is the *company* part of the equation that makes me loathe the devices.

    At home, it generally sits on the side, in case it rings. I use the audiobook/podcast facility when I walk the dog or when I am driving.

    For navigation, I still nab the daughters TomTom if I can. If I travel, I take my Kindle with me – now THAT is a useful gadget and, no, the Kindle app on my smartphone and on the iPad I used isn’t a suitable replacement.

    Likewise, if I want to take pictures, I’ll stick a real camera in my bag.

    That said, I have seriously been looking at a Windows 8 tablet, like the Acer Iconia W700 series. Having that, plus a dock at home and the office with a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse / touchpad attached to it would be a great boon,I can work normally at my desk, then have a portable tablet, with all my work on it, whilst on the move… Although maybe a hybrid ultrabook might be a better solution…

  32. Michael Dawson Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Well you certainly couldn’t replace a copy of PC Pro with an Android device if you’re a subscriber it’s only possible to have a dual physical & digital subscription for iPad. If I want PCPro on my Android Tablet I need to subsribe again! As a previous commenter said, you should consider calling yoursleves iPC Pro.

  33. Josh Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Jeeze. The anti-Apple comments on here are ridiculous. Makes me wonder if they’re not jealous. Just get over it. Apple have lead the way with this type of the hardware and as Barry says, other devices are available.

    If you don’t like it, bog off. PC Pro do a fine job and always have done. Please take no notice of these serial complainers.

  34. Alan James Says:
    February 25th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I wonder why PC PRO magazine has been left off the list?


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