Years ago, back-to-school shopping consisted of simple questions like “How many binders do I need?” or “Do I already have enough pencils and paper?” Now, these important questions have changed to “How many gigabytes do I need?” and “Do I already have a copy of Microsoft Office?” Students’ backpacks these days are filled with more things that are battery powered than things that aren’t, such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, and headphones. As I’ll discuss, there is a good reason behind the modern student’s healthy obsession with technology in the classroom or library. It’s hard to believe that technology was once frowned upon in a learning environment. Fortunately, there has been very little downside to having close access to technology in the hectic environment that is university.
As both a fan and salesperson of their products, it’s not surprising that I own many pieces of technology made by Apple. Originally, my main reason for proudly choosing Apple products over their competitors’ offerings was the simplicity and sleekness throughout all Apple designs. My reasoning has changed in recent years because the need for organization and convenience in my busy school life has forced me to realize that Apple’s products are more than just nice to look at. Apple designs their products to make a person’s daily tasks less stressful and more achievable by compiling the tools we frequently need at our fingertips. Owning multiple Apple products doesn’t cause redundancy, but rather extends the range of how much simpler life can be made by using these devices. My daily life as a student at The University of Western Ontario is more fluid and productive as a result of bringing along all of my Apple devices.
Organization is a key component to student success because there are many tasks and commitments inside and outside of the classroom to keep up with. I am constantly using the Calendar app to make appointments and review my schedule because iCloud conveniently makes my schedule accessible on all of my Apple devices automatically. I can check future dates easily whether it’s on my MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, or iPhone, depending on what I have access to in that very moment. As an appointment approaches, my devices will automatically offer me helpful tips, such as directions to a location, and what time I should leave in order to be on time.
Delivering an important message can be necessary at the most inconvenient times. My Apple Watch allows me to send a text when pulling out my iPhone is not an option. If I need to send a text during an important lecture, I use the Apple Watch’s “Scribble” feature to write a message using my finger on the touch display. If I need to send a text while driving to class or work, I use the Apple Watch’s dictation feature to transcribe a message using my voice. All messages sent and received will sync throughout all of my Apple devices, so I can start a conversation on my iPhone while walking to the library and continue the conversation on my MacBook Pro when I arrive. Switching devices to perform a specific task is almost never an issue because my Apple devices stay in-sync and share most of the same capabilities.
Assignment research has me frequently searching for articles and web links that may be relevant to my thesis. I regularly use my iPhone as a way to conduct some of my online research when I have a spare moment that necessarily isn’t enough time to pull out my MacBook Pro. However, I will eventually have to view the article on my MacBook Pro if I find an article on my iPhone because my MacBook is my word processing device. Thankfully, I don’t have to go through the tedious process of emailing myself a link on my Phone and opening the email on my MacBook Pro to view the link, or manually typing in a URL from my iPhone that has fifty random characters into my MacBook Pro’s address bar. All I have to do is simply have my MacBook Pro open and close-by to my iPhone and use the AirDrop feature on my iPhone to transfer the file in seconds onto my MacBook Pro with the touch of a couple buttons. The AirDrop feature can also be used to transfer photos, videos, and contacts to your own or others’ devices.
Owning an Apple product and understanding an Apple product are clearly two different things. Learning the full capabilities of my Apple products has allowed me take advantage of the many ways these products can increase daily productivity at school, or any other stressful environment. Fortunately, some of Apple’s products don’t require learning to benefit a user’s lifestyle. Something as simple as not having to untangle a pair of earphones can add minutes to a busy day because my Apple AirPods allow me to listen to music wirelessly while I study or walk to class. I suggest all users of Apple products to come visit us at Mac Outpost to learn more about their devices and how these easy-to-use features can change their lives.
Thomas Bilotta, Outpost2