For the last 20 years, I have steadfastly refused anything apple -- I think it was the cult-like mentality that turned me off. Also, the fact that the devices are so easy to use, to borrow a phrase, even a cavegirl could do it (as evidenced by my very non-technical sisters and friends.) Of course, being a UNIX geek, I was steadfastly against the Apple software/iTunes/iEverything model. You can do anything you want on UNIX -- there is no one to save you from yourself. The UNIX motto: "We sell ROPE!" (Of course, I have hung myself numerous times on said rope including the time I accidentally erased the entire hard drive (including operating system) on a UNIX system at the now defunct Bear Stearns!
But then I was given a shiny new Macbook Pro for my new job and I started having... doubts. For example, the terminal application under Apple OS is hauntingly like my beloved UNIX -- including having vi and grep and the "/" pointing the "RIGHT" way. I figure any system that allows me to use VI can't be completely evil.
I have played with many tablets -- all android. I started out with the Motorola Xoom and then settled on the Asus Transformer. The thing that won me over about the Transformer was that the display was better than any I had seen... until now.
I purchased my first iPad this weekend sight unseen because I read that with the new retinal display, reading now became nearly comparable to the original Kindle/eInk technology. Despite my love of gadgets, I'm growing weary of having a Kindle, a Tablet, a Laptop, an MP3 player -- not to mention all the peripherals one needs to support them.
So the first thing I did with the iPad was installed the Kindle app. I also have my Asus transformer here at work. I downloaded the same book and COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES! I never expected there to be such a noticeable difference. On the Asus transformer, you can actually see the individual pixels. On the iPad, it looks as smooth as an eInk display.
The thing about the iPad (and Apple products in general) is that it is the little details that have won me over. For example, the scrolling on the iPad is SOOO much smoother than the Transformer. When you swipe on the transformer to scroll through the list of books, it lurches and jumps and trying to finally control where the scrolling starts and stops is frustrating.
Also, the apps just work and don't need to be updated every day -- which just gets really old.
There are 2 areas I have found where I prefer non-apple products:
1. Performance -- though I don't have this problem with the current iPad because it is brand-spanking new. However, I expect that soon the apps that have been written more "frugally" for the earlier generation processors will soon bloat to suck up the faster processors of the new iPad.
2. Apple's "control freak" mentality -- DON'T like is having to jump through some hoops to use my music library from Amazon (I try to use iTunes as little as humanly possible). I also miss the ability to have my own wall papers and control the layout of the screen a bit.
However, the downsides are much smaller since I don't wind up having to act as a beta tester for the tablet or the apps. I'm a software quality assurance engineer and while I am more than capable of troubleshooting my systems and getting them to work, I guess at this point, when I'm just using the web and a computer for my own enjoyment, I don't want to have to do that work anymore... I just want to focus on my music or my books or the web article.s
Upshot: I guess there is a reason certain technologies and products become defacto standards -- it is because they are legitimately the best. The iPad 3 is no exception -- it sets the bar over any android alternative. Microsoft is fighting back with their Windows 8 mobile phone (the Lumia) which ALSO uses a retinal display. But Microsoft has a long way to go to achieve the type of platform consistency that you get with Apple. I like only having to know how to use one interface. Apple allows that because the iPad acts like the iPhone which is a basic version of their computer OS.
I will still always love my UNIX... the fact that apple is actually reuniting me with my beloved vi and grep and still providing me with a beautiful pleasurable stable platform is a huge bonus!