Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Kindle vs. iPad --- Impressions

I have gone to some of the stores that carry a whole line of tablet computers, such as Best Buy, and hefted each of them and sort-of looked them over. But yesterday was the first day that I had time to actually work on an Amazon Kindle Fire. Now before I go on, I have to warn you that these are my personal preferences, prejudices and impressions. If you have read my blog posts for any length of time, you likely realize that we are an Apple based family, with several computers, an iPhone, two iPads and etc. I got the hand-me-down iPad from when my wife upgraded from an iPad to an iPad2, so I am not using the new thinner iPad3 or anything like that. My comparison of the Kindle Fire is to the old original iPad, purchased shortly after introduction. I also use a touch pad with my iMac, so I use the same type of input device for my iPhone, my iPad and my iMac.

Now on to working with the Kindle Fire. I realize that cost is a huge issue. But when I work with a tool, I have found, over my long life, that most of the time you get what you pay for. If you buy a cheap hammer or cheap chisel, your work will suffer. Some cheap tools can be more dangerous than helpful. So my toolbox is full of some junk and a lot of Stanley, Craftsman and other high quality tools, which are the ones I use all the time. I will keep a junk screwdriver, for example, to use to pound holes in something or to dig with. If I need a real screwdriver, I use the higher quality for the job.

Let's not beat around the bush. I will put it simply. As a tool, there is no real comparison between the Kindle Fire and an iPad. I am not saying that the Kindle Fire is junk, but if you appreciate elegance of design and simplicity of use, you will be more than willing to pay the extra few bucks for an iPad. Let's just say that I don't have a lot of manual dexterity, but I am really used to working on computers, especially with touch pads and gestures. I found the Kindle unacceptable. I would not buy one. Period.

I warned you at the beginning that I was opinionated in this regard. There is a reason that Apple still sells more than 60% of the tablet computers in the world and it has nothing to do with patents or the lawsuits against Samsung. It has to do with elegance of design and utility. After spending a frustrating half hour or so working on the Kindle Fire, I was not a happy camper. I do not like clunky MSDOS type command machines. Apple's real competition is from Google, not from Amazon and, as I may venture a guess, Microsoft either.

You may ask, and rightly so, what was the real difference? The Kindle has several different virtual buttons for different functions. Each button had to be pushed in a sequence to do different tasks. Not acceptable. It was not just a case of my being familiar with the iPad and unfamiliar with the Kindle. I constantly work on Windows based computers at my office, at the FamilySearch Library, at Church and with friends. Working with these operating systems is why I have now become almost exclusively an Apple user. It is simply a matter of having a better tool.

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