To the tablet sceptics, all I can say is: I was one of your number, but no longer. My laptop gets plenty of use and so did the e-reader - unlike a ten-inch tablet, it fits in coat pockets - until I availed myself of a Nexus 7 earlier this year, but my iPad has become my prime home device. I read my newspaper on it long I before head off to work and pass by a newsagent. I read magazines on it. I read lots of comics on it - like the papers and the mags, they are so much better viewed in portrait, in your hand, than on a notebook landscape display, or on a monochrome E Ink screen.
The tablet’s speed and big, colour display makes flipping around computer reference books so much more practical than it is on an e-reader, though the ability to take the equivalent of six inch-and-a-half thick books to work with no strain is much the same with either device.
While my phone remains my main music playback device, watching a stack of catch-up TV programmes and films on a tablet is a much more pleasant experience than the phone and certainly than the ropey back-of-the-seat screens you get on most flights these days. Travel by a no-frills airline and you don’t even get that.
The iPad, since upgraded to the thinner, lighter iPad 2, is used to check multiple email accounts, for a lot of web browsing and such, and occasionally I let the nipper play games on it. Once in a while, I hook up a Bluetooth keyboard and use it to report from events. It’s not an efficient a writer’s tool as a multi-window OS device is, but it’ll do at a pinch.
So, for me, my iPad has become a crucial part of my working and home lives. It has taken over certain roles that I used to put other devices to, but hasn’t superseded any of them entirely. I’ve never believed in a one-size-fits-all approach to technology. I won’t limit myself to one device when there’s another that’s better suited to the task in hand.
To insist otherwise is the equivalent of refusing to watch video on a phone because you own a TV, or giving away your car because you have a bike too. Unless you’re a skinflint, or woefully impecunious, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have both and use each when most appropriate. But if there’s no good reason why you should reject a tablet out of hand, is there a good reason to select Apple’s latest iPad? For me, the gorgeous 2048 x 1536 screen is reason enough. It makes reading so much more comfortable than even anti-aliased text on a 1024 x 768 panel does.
Of course there are other tablets with display resolutions that approach that. Some exceed it. But they’re Android devices and I don’t enjoy using Android as much as I enjoy using iOS. It’s entirely subjective. There’s nothing wrong with Android - as I say, I use it on my Nexus 7. But I like iOS more and by choosing it I don’t feel I’m limiting what I can do with a tablet. It’s not the choice you make that matters but the fact that you have a choice. This is the antithesis of a world where 95 per cent of personal computers come with Windows and you’re forced to use it no matter what. Or one where there's no PS3, just Xbox.
No offence, but for that very reason, I’d rather not see Android on 95 per cent of smartphones or tablets - or iOS, for that matter. Monopolies, even unplanned or not-quite-total ones are not a good thing. Not that I’m suggesting you buy an iPad for the good of a dynamic, competitive market. What I am saying is, value judgements aren’t always a matter of choosing the best spec on paper. Indeed, the iPad 4’s screen may be one of the best out there, but I have to face the inevitable claims, not unfounded, that there are cheaper alternatives and ones with more tech for my money.
Big screen star
I don’t fall into the ‘I’d like a HDMI port on the off-chance’ camp, having only occasional - maybe twice a year - need for it. And it’s more a ‘want’ than a ‘need’. Ditto SD and USB. My Nexus 7 has neither of these, either. It does have a GPS pick-up, mind, which the Wi-Fi only iPad lacks.
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