Adventures with an iPad 2

As a (pre) Christmas gift to myself I purchased an Apple iPad 2. For a while I had been trying to decide what to buy by comparing the iPad 2 with the current crop of Gingerbread / Honeycomb / ICS Android tablets. My research followed the normal paths and, as others have found, shows that both options will provide a tablet that will get the job done and the decision must be based on the different philosophies of the two platforms.

Apple iPad 2

  • Closed Apple ecosystem
  • Development tools cost money and only the Mac is supported
  • Many apps optimised for the “big screen”
  • Designed to “just work”

Android tablet

  • Open system
  • Free development tools that run on multiple platforms
  • Programmable on the device
  • Less tablet optimised apps
  • Very configurable

In the end my decision was made because I planned to used a tablet as a way to consume content and not create it. I have desktop, laptop and netbook machines to allow content creation in a much more comfortable environment than that provided by a tablet. At this time the quality of the apps on the iPad is higher than that on Android, particularly in respect of using the larger screen of a tablet. I am sure that this will change as ICS is deployed more widely but we will have to wait and see.

So, I now have a second iOS device to join my iPod touch. How has it been so far?

The iPad hardware is beautiful, there is no other way to put it. As well as the aesthetic qualities it is also built to last. I thought that I would miss the configurability and widgets of Android but so far I have not. The iOS launcher is a little dull but very functional; it gets you were you need to be, in an app and consuming content, with as little fuss as possible.

The main advantage of the iPad over my other devices is its “instant on” quality. When I need to look something up on the Internet it is now my first port of call. For heavy use of the Internet I will still use a PC but for reading news, social networking etc. the iPad is perfect.