Apple Fan Boy – The Holy Wars Return

Apparently to some Android fanboys on Google+ I came off sounding like an Apple fan in my last post about the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini. Well, I have been running iOS devices since the iPhone 3 days so yes, I’m a bit entrenched in the iOS ecosystem. (And yes, I shouldn’t let a few posts get to me, but it was write this reply or work on virtual desktops, so here we go).

I have not spent all of my past waking moments in iOS. I did run a rooted Nook Tablet with Cyanogen for several months and found Android to be hacker friendly but not as good as iOS at the things that were important to me at the time. While the hardware and the OS have much improved, I still feel pretty much the same way.

As I noted in my device comparison, I’m vested in the Air Video Server app for playing my media library. If the Air Video Server app was made available for Android tomorrow, I’d still prefer watching video on the mini due to the better screen brightness and the more comfortable feel of the device when held in landscape mode. While watching YouTube on the Nexus 7 and then going back to the mini, I find the video looks better to me on the iPad, even without the retina display. And let’s not forget about the magic that is AirPlay Mirroring.

The bottom line for me is that the iPad mini runs the apps I want (and have accumulated over the years), lasts on standby for days and generally feels better in daily use. And yes, it has a hardware button that works. I can’t say that has been the case with the Nexus’ soft buttons all the time. I also much prefer the 4:3 form factor of the mini to the 16:9 wide format of the nexus.

Is the iPad mini for everyone? With a $139 price premium over the Nexus 7, the answer is a solid no. However, were I buying a 7″ class tablet for my Mom (not that I would) and thinking about those family tech support calls, the iPad mini would be my choice hands down. If I had a teenager, I’d think long and hard about a Nexus 7, although a 4.3″ Android smart phone would probably be preferable. I’m also very interested in Android’s multi-user mode as I think this would be a great feature for a “living room” tablet but as yet, I’ve not seen a 10″ android tablet I really like (hardware wise).

All of this reminds me of the Windows vs. Mac holy war from days gone by. Now it seems, Android and iOS are similarly positioned. Android tablets may have reached the “good enough”and cheap enough status levels needed to break out with wide spread user adoption but the iPad still is what a “tablet” is in most people’s minds. All others are compared to iPad and Apple does still make some of the best hardware around. Of course Apple blew their chance to dominate once before. Who knows, maybe they’ll do it again.