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iPad vs. Android tablet?

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#51 theskyhound

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:16 AM

There are currently around 8 times as many desktop computers in the world than tablets. There is still plenty of room for explosive growth. The iPad is primarily a consumer device. There is a large untapped potential for a device that integrates into the corporate world, which is highly dominated by computers running Windows.

#52 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:51 AM

There are currently around 8 times as many desktop computers in the world than tablets. There is still plenty of room for explosive growth. The iPad is primarily a consumer device. There is a large untapped potential for a device that integrates into the corporate world, which is highly dominated by computers running Windows.


Certainly there are more desktops than Tablets but it's a different story if one considers cell phones, smart phones in particular.

From where I sit, desktops are basically a mature market, they are improving to be sure but for most uses, an XP machine is sufficient, the existing software is sufficient. Selling desktops requires convincing the customer that their old equipment needs upgrading, that a new computer is needed to run even more complicated software that does even more things that are rarely useful.

The smartphone marketplace is quite different, the technology is exploding, it's where the development effort is competitive and each generation brings new and useful technologies.

I keep harping on SkySafari but it is certainly an example of how well written, efficient software can perform on a smartphone... Somehow Bill and Tim have provided at least as much functionality as desktop planetarium programs and made it happen on a smartphone...

To me, the future looks like this:

With a wireless keyboard/mouse and HDMI monitor, there is little I need to do that I can't do with my smartphone. The bloat of the desktop will be its downfall. With the "cloud" and devices like smart phones and tablets, the face of computing will look quite different in the not too distant future...

Linux servers and smartphone/tablets.

That is my vision..

Jon

#53 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:41 AM

This question of iPads and Android tablets is far from settled. I also think most people are missing the elephant in the room: Windows tablets.


Judging from balance sheets, the Elephant in the Room is clearly Apple Computer. Not bad for a company that was not supposed to see the beginning of 1985.

Tech history is full of stories of products that were first, but lost out in the end.


This sounds like Microsoft. Like a stricken battleship, great mass still bestows momentum (for a short while) after the boiler rooms have been torpedoed and flooded.

#54 rboe

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:32 PM

It's a bit early to count Microsoft out. They have a certain talent of taking something that somebody else developed and making it useful for the masses. At least at first. Once they hit it out of the ball park they also seem to muck things up in later versions just to create a revenue stream.

The tablet market has been tried for years and failed so when Apple said they were going to take a wack at it everyone saw failure on the wall. That was a bit premature too. :) It will be interesting to see if Microsoft, perhaps on the third or forth attempt, finally get it right (or close enough) to finally take market share from Apple. And Android. Android suffers from too many flavors, Google will need to get that under control to maintain any sort of market share once Microsoft gets its' act together. I would bet for them and not against them in that regard.

Apple is a tougher nut to crack. Just when you get caught up to them they release something that will take you years to catch up to. It doesn't help that they lock up hardware producers with contracts that give them most of the supply for their products so even if you wanted to make something there is not enough capacity in the open market to handle it.

If Apple can remain nimble and produce products that amaze us that we can't even imagine we want today everyone will be playing catch up as Apple goes to the bank.

It will take someone else to come up with the next greatest thing and I don't see Microsoft or Google doing that (or Cisco :whistle: ).

#55 rboe

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:42 PM

I voted and went with the iPad. I have Apple laptops at home and like the way things work. I also like the vetted app store which keeps rogue apps in check; something Android can't brag about. The wild west can be attractive but not when something can ruin my day on the tablet.

That said, I'm very tempted by the Nexus 7. Good price point entry fee and then I can pick and choose between two good systems/tools. However; there is no killer app on the Android side that would make choosing it a slam dunk decision.

#56 simpleisbetter

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 01:27 PM

...And Android. Android suffers from too many flavors, Google will need to get that under control to maintain any sort of market share once Microsoft gets its' act together. I would bet for them and not against them in that regard.


Yep, Google's already doing that Ron. I don't have the link but I remember Google coming out either in May or last month and stating they were going to require standardization of the OS so you didn't have a different version on every single phone out there. Their main reason and concern is because it interferes with their ability to roll-out new OS upgrades. They (Google) should only have to create one upgrade build to roll out, and at present they probably can't automatically flash upgrade half the phones on the market to keep the OS current.

#57 theskyhound

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:29 PM

There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding Windows 8. I had to install it myself and spend some serious time playing with it and thinking about it to get an accurate picture.

The Windows 8 picture is complicated. In order to fully understand what it represents it is helpful to split it into three different topics. The confusion surrounding Windows 8 comes about primarily from confusing these three very separate areas.

1. Desktop/laptop user experience. Imagine if Microsoft released a whole new version of Windows with only one change: a redesign of the Start button. For most current users of Windows this is all the upgrade to Windows 8 will initially represent. Windows 7 is still there in all it's glory. The Win 7 Start button opens a menu via a click or press of the Start key on the keyboard. This venerable old menu lists all of your programs and is used to start them. In Windows 8 the Start button has been turned into a full-screen with icons that you use to start programs from. Once a traditional Windows program is started you go right back to the desktop. What startles people at first is that they are greeted by this new Start screen when the computer is booted rather than the familiar desktop.

Some have said that they expect Windows 8 to be hated, like Vista. But Vista had many serious reasons to be hated. In Vista they updated the way drivers work, causing hardware manufacturers to scramble to write new drivers, many of which were buggy. Along the way existing hardware, such as printers and scanners, became obsolete. At that time 64-bit computers became common, inevitably bringing complications. Microsoft introduced new security features that broke existing software and caused developers to scramble to change how their products were installed. And of course, what everyone remembers, is the overbearing nag popup windows whenever you installed a program or did anything else to your computer. Why was Windows 7 better? In truth it was mostly just a rebranding of Vista. Time resolved the driver and software issues, they made some minor tweaks to the nagging security windows, and we eventually got used to the ones that remained.

Compared to all that, a redesign of the Start button seems extremely minor. Given the low initial price of the upgrade ($40) and the ease most people will have installing it, I believe most users will have upgraded their Windows 7 computers by next summer (2013).

Why upgrade at all? There are some improvements in use for laptops (netbooks in particular) and efficiency, but the primary reason to upgrade is the potential that Windows 8 brings via new applications designed primarily for touch screens, which brings us to the next point.

2. The Windows Metro Interface.

The new full-screen "Start menu" doubles as an entirely new Windows interface, completely with a new kind of Windows programs. These new programs run full screen, work on tablets, laptops, and desktops alike, and support the touch interface.

It is essential to understand that from a programming standpoint you can't take a mouse interface and make it work well via touch. But on the other hand, it is trivial to make a touch interface work well with a mouse. This is why Microsoft has created a whole new touch-capable Windows interface.

Metro-style programs are like Apps for iOS or Android and will be very well suited for use on tablets. Once Windows 8 is installed on a large number of desktop and laptop computers, it will represent a large untapped market for new developers. Just as with the iPod/iPad and Android, this will attract young programmers and start-ups. It will also attract current developers of iOS and Android Apps who want to port their Apps to the new platform. Developers of "classic" Windows software are going to be attracted to the idea of porting their desktop programs into this new format. And of course, simultaneously Windows tablets will become available that will also run these new Apps.

But this strategy is not without risk. The risk is that it will prove to be too expensive and time consuming for developers to quickly port their existing software to the new platform. If the platform struggles, this will put off other developers, and in ten years this could be remembered as a colossal failure. I personally think this unlikely, given the momentum of the installed Windows base and the approach that Microsoft is taking.

3. ARM architecture. Windows has always supported chips designed around the Intel x86 architecture. It is these processors that are found in laptops and desktop computers. But the phone market, and much of the tablet market, is driven primarily by a different architecture: ARM. Among other things, these processors are more energy efficient. Windows 8 will support these processors so that Windows will work on tablets that use them.

But there is a big catch. Traditional Windows programs will not run on these processors. Therefore the Windows Desktop will not be available on an ARM tablet. Only the Metro-style Apps will be available.

There is going to be a lot of confusion surrounding that last point. To summarize: an x86 tablet will run Windows desktop programs, an ARM tablet will not. Both tablets will run the new metro Apps.

When you hear people talk about "problems" with Windows 8 it will likely be centered around this new support for ARM processors (called Windows RT). It is likely going to be buggy and probably won't have the problems ironed out until Windows 9. Word is that many manufacturers are currently holding off on making ARM-based Windows 8 tablets. It is possible that ARM support will be so problematic that Microsoft will fail at it completely.

So summarize: Windows 8 is not the end of desktop computing. Upgrading to Windows 8 on a desktop/laptop will be cheap and easy. People will complain about the new full-screen "Start menu" but it is in fact easy to get used to. Metro-style Apps represent an opportunity for many different kinds of developers to reach a large installed base even without an immediate surge in Windows tablet sales, but it remains to be seen if the development hurdles will cause them to balk. Windows for ARM tablets is likely to be fraught with problems initially, and represents the largest area of risk for Microsoft.

One last note: if you have an x86 tablet (e.g the more expensive version of the Surface) it will supposedly be able to run desktop programs. It is not yet clear to me how the touch interface will work with existing desktop programs. It may not work at all; perhaps you will have to plug in a mouse. If anyone knows the answer to this question, I'd love to know.

#58 psonice

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 03:15 PM

I'm thinking along similar lines to Jon. The average smartphone can do pretty much everything most people need now. A tablet does it much better with a large screen.

At least from the consumer side, the need for a PC will be much lower in future. I think we'll end up with workstations (and workstation-class laptops) and tablets, and not that much in between. We'll still need workstations for serious work (I wouldn't want to write apps for the tablets on a tablet ;)

Ron: there are rumours of a cheap 7-8" iPad in the next few months, might we wise to hold out a little see what comes along.

#59 theskyhound

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 03:46 PM

While I'm here I thought I'd weigh-in on the actual topic. ;-)

To me the two most important tablet requirements are:

1. A replaceable battery

2. An external USB port

The iPad is all about being thin. Thin is sexy. Thin is cool. I feel like Captain Picard when I hold an iPad 3, it's true. By simply holding an iPad 3, three beautiful young women will instantly appear and make a fuss over you.

The downside to this is that they basically glued the battery in place (I understand it is glued to the back side of the display) and it is very difficult to replace, even by Apple. This battery can only be charged around 300 times before it is substantially degraded. I think most people here are capable of doing the math on that...

The USB port may make the tablet thicker, but it opens up an entire world of connectivity (BTW a Windows tablet will presumably be able to run ASCOM, which means you will be able to control just about any mount via USB, not just the "big brand" ones)

In my experience, ultimately what matters most is weight not thickness. In fact, I feel that a thicker tablet is easier to hold onto.

As for Android, it definitely has some growing up to do, iOS is way out in front there. But for the current selections of Astro apps it doesn't really make much difference.

Regarding size, I have come to the conclusion that I need two tablets: a 10-inch for using around the house (composing an email on the deck or surfing the web during some boring TV show), and a 7-inch to carry with me and to take outside to the telescope. At $200 it appears that a Nexus 7 is in my near future.

But what I'm really looking forward to is a Windows tablet.
So uncool it's going to be hot.

Again, my 2 cents.

#60 rboe

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:31 PM

I like the two formats. The smart phone format is too small for me and my aging eyes. :p

#61 psonice

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:08 AM

1. Desktop/laptop user experience. Imagine if Microsoft released a whole new version of Windows with only one change: a redesign of the Start button.


See, that's the start of the trouble. The start button is the most used part of windows, any change to it is going to have a big impact. The last time they changed it was in vista, and there was a lot of complaint about it then - it just got drowned in all the more serious complaints ;) It's the nature of the change that's the problem though, which brings us on to:

2. The Windows Metro Interface.


This is the big one. I actually think metro could be pretty good, it's a fresh new OS with a lot of good ideas. Problem is it's basically a new OS strapped onto windows 7. You've got 2 OSes, 2 different interfaces (one designed for keyboard + mouse and the other for touch), and they're fundamentally incompatible. Metro apps don't run in windows, and windows apps don't run in metro. And you're continuously thrown from one to the other, because the start button is now the metro start screen. Every time you go to open a program you're kicked out of windows, and dumped in a tablet interface that doesn't work well with a mouse. Then you find your program amongst the huge screen full of boxes and masses of empty space, click... and you're dumped out of the fancy new tablet interface and back into regular windows. It's highly confusing, and immensely jarring. Oh, and the windows 7 UI is gone too - it's now ugly, plain, windows 3.11 style windows with masses of white space because aero is gone. I didn't like the glass effect in aero, but the new look is retro in a bad way :(

Once metro takes over from regular windows properly these issue will disappear. Then we'll have a fully tablet-friendly setup, with nothing but full-screen apps on an OS called 'windows' :D This is fine on the tablet, but makes zero sense on the desktop again. We're all used to having stuff in windows, so we can work with apps side by side. MS is clearly saying the desktop is dead, and we'd better hurry on to tablets.

It is essential to understand that from a programming standpoint you can't take a mouse interface and make it work well via touch. But on the other hand, it is trivial to make a touch interface work well with a mouse. This is why Microsoft has created a whole new touch-capable Windows interface.


Yes, I think everyone understands that. What most people understand too is that a touch interface doesn't work well with a mouse. What MS are saying is that we should get used to using a tablet UI on a large screen with a mouse - including things like swipe gestures :(

Metro-style programs are like Apps for iOS or Android and will be very well suited for use on tablets. Once Windows 8 is installed on a large number of desktop and laptop computers, it will represent a large untapped market for new developers. Just as with the iPod/iPad and Android, this will attract young programmers and start-ups. It will also attract current developers of iOS and Android Apps who want to port their Apps to the new platform. Developers of "classic" Windows software are going to be attracted to the idea of porting their desktop programs into this new format. And of course, simultaneously Windows tablets will become available that will also run these new Apps.


Yes... but desktop apps are not the same as mobile apps, because you don't use a desktop in the same way. A touch UI and a mouse UI need to be very different to work well for a start - you need buttons to replace gestures, especially anything that needs multi-touch. So are you porting your app to the desktop or tablet under metro? Or are you going to make a bastardised version that works OK on both but well on neither? I've yet to see anything that gets the best of both worlds, you end up with something 2nd rate.

When you hear people talk about "problems" with Windows 8 it will likely be centered around this new support for ARM processors (called Windows RT). It is likely going to be buggy and probably won't have the problems ironed out until Windows 9. Word is that many manufacturers are currently holding off on making ARM-based Windows 8 tablets. It is possible that ARM support will be so problematic that Microsoft will fail at it completely.


If it's also buggy, this will be a HUGE blow. The ARM tablets are the ones that will be thin + light with good battery life for a low price. The intel ones will be thicker and heavier, with an internal fan to stop them overheating and are likely to cost double the iPad. The loss of windows compatibility is already a huge problem, if it's unstable too it's pretty much a disaster.

One last note: if you have an x86 tablet (e.g the more expensive version of the Surface) it will supposedly be able to run desktop programs. It is not yet clear to me how the touch interface will work with existing desktop programs. It may not work at all; perhaps you will have to plug in a mouse. If anyone knows the answer to this question, I'd love to know.


The surface has a stylus (back to the old days!) Actually I think this could be pretty useful, because it does touch as well.

#62 psonice

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:19 AM

While I'm here I thought I'd weigh-in on the actual topic. ;-)

To me the two most important tablet requirements are:

1. A replaceable battery

2. An external USB port

The iPad is all about being thin. Thin is sexy. Thin is cool. I feel like Captain Picard when I hold an iPad 3, it's true. By simply holding an iPad 3, three beautiful young women will instantly appear and make a fuss over you.

The downside to this is that they basically glued the battery in place (I understand it is glued to the back side of the display) and it is very difficult to replace, even by Apple. This battery can only be charged around 300 times before it is substantially degraded. I think most people here are capable of doing the math on that...


I agree with some of that (especially the USB port and the weight issue - the iPad is definitely still too heavy). USB I think is a short-term fix though, everything can and should be wireless. Until that happens USB would be pretty handy.

The battery isn't an issue at all though - with ~10 hours battery life it's so rare that you'd need to swap them out that thinner + lighter beats a replaceable battery for usefulness. I can definitely see the benefit of swapping it out when the battery dies, but let's see how the actual maths really works out.

I charge my iPad perhaps twice a week on average. I guess this is fairly average. Call it 100 times a year.

According to apple: "A properly maintained iPad battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 1000 full charge and discharge cycles".

So the battery should still be good after 10 years. Realistically, it's never going to need replacing unless it ends up in a museum. Luckily apple spend a lot on making the batteries last as long as possible. This is definitely an issue for any manufacturers that don't use such long life batteries though, if it was 300 cycles then I'd definitely want a replaceable battery.

#63 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:37 AM

So the battery should still be good after 10 years.



Should is a nice big word. If Apple were really confident in the battery life, they could offer a 5 year warranty on the battery.

I see a big red flag when I am considering spending real money on something that is probably a throwaway if the battery dies.

To me, the lack of a USB port, the battery that is very difficult to replace is indicative of the whole iOS paradigm, do it our way... Being a tinkerer, hands on type, that doesn't compute.

Jon

#64 rboe

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:38 AM

I've been topping off my battery everynight. Not sure if that is a good idea yet but there you go. So far battery life(duration a better word in this thread?) has been excellent. They made the iPad a wee bit thicker to accomdate a larger battery with longer duration. Huge plus.

We're in the middle of a paradigm shift with OS's so there will be hybrid OS's until we completely switch over to the new style. That said, for business, government and some home users this new style is not a good improvement and for now I think the old style OS is a better fit.

For most home use and for folks on the go (i.e. not tied to a desk) the mobil OS will be great.

Personally I think they should fork the OS's and let the users decide which one fits their needs instead of trying for a one size fits all affair.

#65 rboe

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:42 AM

I'm still using my Palm Life Drive at work as it fits my work flow very well and hope to keep using it till I retire in a few years (since it's not being replaced with new Palms). I like scribbling things with the stylus better than that "keyboard" on the ipad. So perhaps my comments above should be taken with a grain of salt. :)

#66 theskyhound

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:10 AM

According to apple: "A properly maintained iPad battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 1000 full charge and discharge cycles".


And you believed them? ;)

Independent studies have shown that the battery can only be charged 300 times without significant degradation. I apologize that I don't have the reference handy--I believe it was a recent test done in PC Magazine or some such.

For people who seldom use their iPad, like you, this won't be an issue. But there are many people who use the things all day long and charge them every night. I've been known to do that for weeks at a time myself. For that extreme, the iPad will need a new battery in a year. For most heavy users (like me) it'll probably be more like two years. Given that they recently raised the price for battery replacement to $107, this is something people should be aware of.

#67 theskyhound

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:25 AM

[quote See, that's the start of the trouble. ... [/quote]

This could easily turn into a flame war, given that you took issue with just about everything I posted and that I disagree with every point you made... So rather than respond to each point, I am simply going to say that you are entitled to your opinion, but I stand by my analysis.

One thing I'd like to add is that the final version of Windows 8 has not yet been released. There will still be many changes and additions.

Contrary to popular opinion, Microsoft has not said that the Desktop is dead. If they have, where was it published? This is an assumption that many people are making and I think it is wrong. They made a hybrid OS because they believe a hybrid OS is the future, not because it is some sort of transition to a tablet OS. In fact, it is rather clever. Yeah, I said it.

#68 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:46 AM

The battery isn't an issue at all though - with ~10 hours battery life it's so rare that you'd need to swap them out that thinner + lighter beats a replaceable battery for usefulness. I can definitely see the benefit of swapping it out when the battery dies, but let's see how the actual maths really works out.


I have a first gen MacBook Air with a sealed battery. Supposedly it is $75 to have a new battery installed, and can be done in one day.

It is a secondary computer now (replaced by a newer MBA) but it is still on it's original battery and delivering 3-1/2 to 4 hours of use per charge (close to original spec). So, I have no direct experience with battery replacement. The computer itself will be retired before the battery will be changed.

Part of the thin-and-light concept is that you are not schlepping around a bunch of extra stuff. The sealed battery concept is working for me.

#69 rboe

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:48 PM

I will be so bold as to suggest folks that use their iPad that heavily will also be upgrading to the newer versions at a faster rate than the general population rendering battery life moot to a great degree.

I have less faith in hybrid OS's, but I come at that from the perspective of a support tech. Going to be a great deal of support issues with that approach. Hopefully I'll be retired (we are barely transistioning off of XP right now so this is not unrealistic) before I have to support it.

#70 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:38 PM

I will be so bold as to suggest folks that use their iPad that heavily will also be upgrading to the newer versions at a faster rate than the general population rendering battery life moot to a great degree.


There is probably some real truth there. :(

I am not one who keeps up with the cutting edge... I tend to find equipment, software, whatever, that does what I need it to do and stick with it until is is worn out. Not good fodder for the aPPLE OS. The 2D cad program I use at work was last updated in 1994 and ran under windows 3.1m. It runs nicely under XP but to run in Windows 7, it requires the Pro version that will run Virtual XP machine.

I doubt a modern Apple Desktop will run programs written in 1994, that is unless you are running Windows on it and running the old Windows stuff.

Jon

#71 btschumy

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:40 PM

If you can get an iPad battery replacement for ~$100, I really don't see what the big deal is. Heck buying a new, replaceable laptop battery for the MacBook Pro is about $120 (yes, this is highway robbery).

I've had an iPad 1 since the first month it came out. It gets used heavily and recharged almost daily. I haven't noticed any appreciable loss of battery life in the two years I've had it. I figure in another year or so, if it does get weak, it'll be time to move on to newer devices anyway.

The non-user-replaceable battery in the iPad is a total non-issue to me.

#72 theskyhound

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:58 PM

I can easily replace the battery myself in my Toshiba Thrive for $40. No waiting for it to come back. That is important to me.

I don't understand why people feel so compelled to argue. I was merely expressing what matters to me. I said as much in my post. I expressed a personal preference that others may or may not agree with, but to argue with it... what is the point?

#73 rboe

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:32 PM

Lenovo branded batteries are not cheap either.

I kept my original MacBook going about five-six years with three batteries (Phoenix and the heat is very hard on batteries). I bought one aftermarket battery and it worked as well as the factory one but with out the battery state being displayed. Annoying.

Since we are spending our own money on these things you get to vote for the system you like with your wallet. It would be a very interesting experiment to make four or five devices available to each of us for a year and log the use of each device to see what we would take a shine to if money was no object.

#74 simpleisbetter

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:43 PM

A replacement battery for my Samsung S2 Skyrocket phone is $24, and it takes no work to open the back and replace. For tablets, you can get a replacement battery for a 10" Galaxy Tab for $42 and only a bit of work and care to open, but it's not glued or stuck down to the screen so it's an easy and cost effective user replacement.

#75 Astraforce Paul

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:12 AM

Great thread.   A couple of observations on picking iPad vs. other tablets.

1. There are gobs of highly useful, absolutely FREE astro and non-astro apps for the iPads.  So, it's certainly not just Android that has them.

2. There's much more to astro software than just having *one* sky charting program, free or otherwise.  My own iPad set includes Moon maps and phases, Mars globe, Jupiter moons, multiple satellite watching apps, Exoplanets (an incredible up to date database of rich information), various Astronomy Pictures of the Day, several NASA apps, SOHO and other Sun apps, planet-gravitational simulators, clear sky clocks, and several leading sky charts (each has its own strengths and weaknesses).  Great stuff!  Anyone looking at non-iPad tablets should check out the range of astro apps available to see if it's anywhere near comparable.

3. iPad battery life is incredible.   Skyhound, people weren’t arguing with you—they were simply reporting on their experiences, which countered your blunt assertions that, after 300 cycles, the iPad battery is substantially degraded.  If that were true, and proven by PC Magazine tests, Apple would have been sued long ago on this point and changed its lingo.   According to Apple: "Charge Cycles. A properly maintained iPad battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 1000 full charge and discharge cycles".[/i][/color]  (Comes from Apple's web page on iPad battery )

On a re-read, I think you’ll realize that it was pretty snarky to reply to someone “And you believed them?”  The independent tests and analysts I've read have found that Apple's battery life statements are, if anything, on the conservative side-- the products get somewhat more time than the company claims.  I've never read a lab test of the iPad's cycles' impact, but our real-world experience matches that of others.  Our iPad 1, heavily used daily by two people for two years, is still going strong and indicates Apple's statement is correct.  We still get fantastic battery life!  (It’d be useful if you could post links to the “studies” plural that “have shown” 300 cycles greatly degrades the Apple battery.  I Googled “iPad battery cycles” with and without PC Magazine and didn't find any.  Perhaps you were thinking of the specs and tests for the MacBook or MacBook Pros of several years ago, which indeed had an expected life cycle of only 300 cycles. Apple's adopted much improved batteries and their specs show that--300 cycles for old, 1,000 for new. See Mac battery life

4. Increasingly solid news stories and sources are reporting that an Apple mini-iPad (closer to 8" than 7" in size) is due out this fall!  That's an exciting development.   So, if you’re interested in a smaller-sized tablet, you won't be confined to Android. I can see the iPad mini being quite useful in the field--easier to tote than the regular one; easier to hold in one hand while handling eyepieces or scope in the other, easier to park in one’s accessories case, etc. It'll also make a great remote, video info look up device, and ebook reader.


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