INSIDE MOBILE: What Tablet Should You Buy for the Holidays? - Page 2

Apple's iPad

For the past six months, the full tablet arena was owned by Apple with the launch of the first version of the iPad. It has a larger 10-inch display, and the Apple App Store now includes thousands of applications that are designed specifically for the iPad. A good example is the application produced to provide a great experience for reading color-enhanced newspapers, magazines and periodicals.

I recently wrote a column (Sept. 15) that declared the death of the physical newspaper within 10 years as the number of color tablets grows to hundreds of millions. I expect publishers to offer a better tablet-based content reading and searching experience versus what can be provided on paper. Rupert Murdoch has announced plans to publish a new digital newspaper called "The Daily" which will be delivered overnight to tablets. That's the sign of the future.

The iPad has two great ways to read books: 1) iBooks (formatting method for just the iPad that is cool-pages flip graphically) and the iBook Store (library of iPad-enhanced books similar to how iTunes provides a library of music and videos) and 2) Amazon Kindle e-reader for the iPad so you can get all of Amazon's digital books (millions of them) on your iPad. All of the books I have read on the iPad came out of the Amazon/Kindle library because it has significantly more titles.

I have found the iPad to be a much different experience than I thought it would be. First, it's much more of a "pass around" kind of device that is different from an iPhone or a notebook or Mac. It's easy to access photos or other things and just pass it to someone. Pandora works well with the iPad (because it has good speakers). I sometimes just play background music since it creates channels based on the music you like.

E-mail is easier on the iPad than the iPhone simply because it's easier to see and much easier to type a reply. It doesn't replace Outlook on the Mac or PC notebook but still it's easier to manage than with a phone.

I like the Amazon bookstore on the iPad, as it has all of the books that are available with the Kindle. I suspect that you'll just find that you can get books from Amazon (by downloading the Amazon/Kindle application for the iPad) as well as some books from the iBook store and end up just not needing the Kindle. If you have an older Kindle and are getting a new tablet such as the iPad, give the Kindle to someone else who would enjoy reading books.

Just like with the iPhone, you sync up the iPad via "Apple connector" to your notebook (Windows or Mac). You can then transfer files, photos and videos through the connector and using iTunes. All of your iTunes content is immediately available on your iPad-which is nice (and not available on the Samsung Galaxy). You can also make phone calls with the iPad using Skype and Wi-Fi.

The iPad will display PDF documents, allowing you to view them when out with friends or business associates. I use it with other people, showing them PDF versions of presentations and documents or photos all the time. You'll be amazed that it becomes your group meeting, interactive, "pass around" device.