January 23, 2014
I've been a loyal Apple fan boy for a long, long time. I had an Apple II+ way back in the day. I got one of the original Macs when they hit the street, managed to convince my parents to upgrade to a PowerMac several years later then nailed a Mac laptop to take to college. They love affair faded for a while, with the invention of the cheap PC, but the iPhone rekindled our lost love. Because the iPhone and, later, the iPad, were and remain revolutionary products.
The other night Beth discovered that I'd bought yet another tablet. She observed that the tablet count in our house now exceeded the total number of living, breathing things able to use tablets. I think she was including Anderson the guinea pig in the equation but she's obviously never observed Anderson steal a ride in Grand Theft Auto. Regardless, it was a good observation but I'm not sure I saw her point.
I'm a tech geek. This is an incontrovertible fact and will likely not change. I'm at peace with that. But, out of curiosity, I loaded a program yesterday to scan my home network and discover the total number of internet connected devices. It did. I was scared. It listed: my Mac, my desktop PC server, Apple AirPort, FiOS router, five iPhones (two current, three old, used by the kids and as a media remote), Roku, Apple TV, Beth's Windows laptop, my work laptop and an old, coverted Ubuntu linux laptop currently serving no purpose, two Kindles (a Fire and Paperwhite), a Samsung Android tablet, two iPads and my newest acquisition, a Dell Windows tablet.
Yeah. Okay. I see it now. That's sick.
Anyway, my latest acquisition is important because I finally feel like I've tried all 32 flavors of ice cream and I can be judgmental. So I give you those tablet-judgments in reverse order, from crappy to awesome.
#5: The Kindle Fire. I love Amazon almost as much as I love Apple. I order things, they send them to me and I'm at least partially bought into their overall ecosystem (their cloud offering allows me to upload 250,000 songs into the could - accessible anywhere - for $25/year). But the Fire is just okay for reading - the iPad and the original reading-only Kindles are far superior. The operating system is inflexibly and not intuitive. It's not a bad device but it feels like a few generations shy of a polished, prime time model.
#4: The Samsung Galaxy. It's clearly inferior to most of its counterparts. The hardware feels cheap - justifiably so since it was - and Android (even with the latest upgrade) is cumbersome, limiting and feels amateurish at best. Yes, it's highly customizable but there's a cost.
#3: iPad (first generation). I'll admit upfront that part of my complaint is based solely on age. The iPad itself has aged well but it can't keep up with the software that runs it. Later iPads all take advantage of new OS software but the first generation is left out in the cold. And that limits its capability, from function to applications it can run. I understand why but I wish it had a better shelf-life. Still, at this point, it's a great tablet for the kids and you can't deny that it's a revolutionary device.
#2: Dell Vostro. I was wary of buying a Windows tablet but I couldn't deny the appeal of this 8" masterpiece. It's tiny but somehow runs a full version of Windows and a ton of apps. It's an amazing piece of machinery that's small, incredibly well designed and pretty. If you're a PC user, Windows 8 is a nightmare but on a tablet the OS shines. And this coming from someone who's been an active Windows hater for years.
#1: Apple iPad (second generation). I haven't gotten past the second generation iPad primarily because the second generation still does everything I need it to. Yes, it's a closed environment and yes it has a totally homogenous experience for the user. Some might say those are bad things. I say they're good if what you're looking for is ease of use and something that can perform pretty amazingly.
There you have it - confessions and thoughts of a tech geek. Now, don't get me started on cufflinks. I really love cufflinks...