Why I Recommended an Apple iPad to My FriendWhen I decided on this title, I could already hear people telling each other that it is just another article by an ‘Apple fan boy.’ In actually, however, that is as far from the truth as one could get. Those who know me are aware that I have been a Microsoft MVP for the past eight years and am a die-hard PC person. In fact, I have written numerous articles about Windows and PCs in general. However, In December 2011, shortly after I got my Amazon Kindle Fire, I couldn’t help but declare my enthusiasm for this device. As my knowledge of what the Amazon Kindle Fire could do increased, I started writing articles about it, including ways to add specific applications. In these articles I recommended better ways to take advantage of its features as well as how to add the Ice Cream Sandwich theme. So given my track record, one could easily conclude that my recommendations for a tablet would be the Fire or possibly the new Microsoft Surface that is scheduled for release in the near future.

With that being said, a good friend and neighbor came over to our house Tuesday and wanted to know if I would be available to go with him to look at tablet computers on Wednesday morning. Of course, asking a geek if he wants to look at new computer toys is like asking a duck if he wants to go swimming. In this situation, I knew the man was especially price conscious, so I wasn’t surprised that, when I mentioned pricing for a tablet could run from a low of $200 to a high of $900, he immediately went toward the lower price.

While this came as no surprise, and may also be of a major concern to those reading this article, there are also some other things that we need to know about the person who is about to venture into the tablet world:

  • How well and how often does the person use a standard desktop or laptop computer?
  • Do they struggle with simple computer tasks that we geeks see as child’s play?
  • Are they creative on a computer, or do they treat a computer as an entertainment device?

These comments are not intended to be derogatory, but rather to serve as a guide for those of us who are asked to advise others in selecting a tablet that will best suit their needs. In the case of my friend, he spends the majority of his PC time surfing the Internet and reading news articles. So, in his case, an Amazon Kindle Fire would work fine. However, I also know that a device such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, which limits users to the Silk browser, doesn’t always render pages accurately. Case in point: Last week, while using the Silk browser to view the Verizon website, I became quite annoyed when the browser would not render the information correctly — thus preventing me from reading its contents. That meant that I had to find another means to access the information. To accomplish this, I copied the URL and then opened the URL in my Dolphin browser. It worked perfectly and the website rendered correctly. However, how could I explain to my novice friend how to copy over the Dolphin browser .apk file from an Android phone to an Amazon Kindle Fire? In our case, I determined that it would just be easier to have him purchase a device that I know uses a browser that will render any website correctly.

These were the thoughts on my mind as my friend and I entered into Best Buy and took a stroll through the computer section of the store. I chose Best Buy not because I am a huge fan, but rather because it usually has all of the latest toys available for public consumption on display. The store, as usual, was well stocked, and we were able to try some of the Android powered tablet computers from Asus, Samsung, and others in 7″, 9″, and 10″ models. I found the Android OS easy to use and navigate, but my friend, not being as electronically intuitive, asked numerous questions about how to open and close applications. However, as we proceeded through the various displays of different Android tablets, he started to get the rhythm and attacked the systems with vigor. It was a revelation to me how quickly he emerged as a tablet convert once he became more and more attuned to the new devices and how they functioned.

Our last stop was at an Apple iPad display, which was conveniently located at the end of an aisle. On one side of the display was featured the newest Apple iPad, while on the other side was displayed the Apple iPad 2 (both versions in their black or white cases). My friend and I liked the looks of the white case, but more important (as well as very evident) was the way he took to the iPad’s simple-to-use iOS. The meshing of the operating system and hardware is what makes Apple’s iPad basically flawless. Yes, I said basically flawless since, like all electronic devices, there will be occasional hang ups, but for the most part, these tablets are error free.

So, what did we decide? Well, after contemplating all of the available choices and my friend’s reaction to them, I found myself recommending that he buy the Apple iPad 2 for $399.

Does that mean I’m going to throw away my Amazon Kindle Fire and buy a brand new Apple iPad? No way. I like my Fire and if anything, I may purchase its next iteration if Amazon offers it in a 10″ model. Why is that? That’s simple. As an Amazon Prime member I am able to access a limited library where I can get free videos and movies, as well as a free application every day. This is in addition to its free lending library of books that is also offered to Prime members.

However, in my friend’s particular case, the Apple iPad 2 that he purchased meets his needs and he is currently enjoying his new toy. Being a homebody, one of the things he is happiest about is its portability that allows him to sit in his favorite chair, watch TV, and surf the Internet all at the same time.

Comments welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by CLF