I have three tablet purchases to consider this holiday shopping season. And oddly, each one involves a different operating system.
To start, there’s the obvious. With the launch of the iPad Mini, my Apple-obsessed husband finds himself percolating over whether to ask for the new, smaller Apple tablet. Sexy as it is, there are two detractions. First, no Retina display. Since he already has the iPad 2, it would be nice for a new purchase to include the Retina upgrade. Second, the data plan. My husband is grandfathered in on an unlimited AT&T data plan, which would likely go away with the transition to LTE. Keep in mind to that he just traded in his iPhone 4S (at a profit) for the new iPhone 5, so he is covered on the new Apple gadget front. What’s a gift-giving wife to do?
Next there’s the new Microsoft Surface RT.
This one’s a possibility for my dad; something in theory that the whole family could go in on together. (Dad, I’m pretty sure you don’t read this site. Hope not!) To put the purchase in context, my dad is a Microsoft fan boy. Truly. The big question, however, is whether to wait for the Surface Pro to come out (likely next year) with its support for the full Windows 8 OS. There’s nothing terribly practical about buying a tablet with the lightweight RT operating system, except it would be fun. And, my dad does have a full-fledged laptop for work. I’d rather have him toodling around on a tablet for fun than peering with great concentration at a tiny smartphone screen, which is what he does now. Still the Surface tablet isn’t cheap. At $200, maybe even $300 it would be a no-brainer for a group present. At $500, the decision is much harder.
Then there’s me. I’m still working off my husband’s hand-me-down iPad 1, and while I wouldn’t mind picking up a Kindle Fire HD to go with my own Android ecosystem, I have no good reason to do so. I use the iPad to play random games and browse shopping apps, and the first-gen tablet handles both leisure-time activities quite well. For anything else, I tend to have my phone and laptop close at hand. The biggest advantage to the iPad for me is that it’s not set up to do email, or even to access my Twitter account. In other words, I can’t do any work on the iPad. Maybe if I spent more time playing with photos and videos the Kindle Fire would be a worthwhile holiday purchase. As it is, I can goof off just fine with the iPad 1. Happy Holidays to me.