Is the iPhone/iPod Touch the New Laptop?

Over the past few weeks I have enjoyed an interesting series of posts from both Dennis Kennedy and Ernie the Attorney. Dennis has posted a three part series in which he explains the process that he went through in deciding to purchase an iPod Touch as his new laptop computer.

At the same time, Ernie the Attorney was posting a series of entries about his trip to Panama during which he left his laptop at home and took only his iPhone. After his experience, he concluded:

As you recall, last week when I went to Panama I didn’t bring a computer. I mentioned that I relied heavily on my iPhone, and that I was able to do a lot of work with just that device. But, I pointed out, that the trip was for pleasure so I didn’t really need a computer. If I had been away longer, or if I had been required to do more work on the trip, I would most certainly have brought my laptop. But, for a short trip that doesn’t involve a lot of work, I can say that an iPhone works just fine. In fact, I would venture to say that the iPod Touch would work fine. My daughter had one and was able to check email and do most of the things that I did on my iPhone.

Although his phone service did not work in Panama, he was still able to make calls using his iPhone.

I thought my iPhone would be able to work on the local phone network here in Panama. It did last time I was here, but not this time. AT&T assured me it would when I checked right before I left on my trip. “”Yes sir, you’re signed up for the Intenational option at $3.99 a month,” the representative told me.

That turned out not to be true. But doesn’t matter because I have the TruPhone app for my iPhone which lets me make low cost calls using the free Wi-Fi at my brother’s beach paradise.

I found both of these series of posts quite intriguing. It certainly sounds attractive to be able to travel without a laptop and still be able to get some work done. However, I doubt that I will be traveling down either Dennis or Ernie’s path in the near future. First, as I have mentioned before, I hate iTunes, and I would be tied to it to use either product effectively. Second, with respect to the iPhone, I hate AT&T’s service (which is your only real option with an iPhone). My wife and I both have Treos. She has AT&T service, I have Verizon. Often I will have better reception than her. Also, when traveling to the less populated areas of the country (where we have family), she often has no reception, while my phone works just fine.

Nevertheless, if you are considering trying to lighten your load while traveling, check out these posts from Ernie and Dennis and consider leaving the laptop at home.