There’s a lot of hype in tech circles about the new tablets available today (for good reason). There’s a lot to choose from… There’s the iPad from Apple, the Samsung Galaxy, the Google Nexus, Kindle Fire, Lenovo’s ThinkPad, the Barnes & Noble Nook… and many more! Now that the market is awash with tablets, the new game for tablets is “Right Sizing”. The ever-so-popular iPad family recently introduced the iPad mini… A 7.9 inch (diagonal) version of their ubiquitous iPad franchise (down from the standard 9.7 inch version). It takes one heck of a marketing department to scale down the size of your best selling tablet AND create enough global buzz to power a small city… But alas Apple is known for accomplishing almost anything. You’ll begin to see other tablet manufacturers follow suit in offering an even wider array of size options. This evolution is happening now.
We think tablets are a great choice for consumers in general, but they’re also a great purchase decision for baby boomers and seniors. We own an iPad (iPad 2), and immediate family members also own and use an iPad (2012), a Samsung Galaxy, a Kindle Fire, a Google Nexus, and a Nook. (My father in law is the tablet-king owning 4 of 5 the aforementioned!) Tablets are a lightening fast gateway to the internet to search for news, check your email quickly, check the weather, read an e-book, or listen to some tunes. Apple’s Facetime app is a great way to stay in touch with family (easy to use too) and of course there’s always Skype (available on all tablets) as well. The tablets today are not complex, they’re intuitive… they hold a charge (much better than a lap top)… they’re mobile… and they just work.
Our favorite tablet today is the iPad, but be forewarned it’s also one of the most expensive. Direct prices for the iPad mini, the iPad 2, and the iPad run $329, $399, and $499 respectively for the 16G WiFi (only) versions. Expect to pay a bit more for the WiFi + cellular versions. Contrast those with prices from the Amazon’s Kindle family, including the Kindle Fire HD (8.9″) the Kindle Fire HD (7″) and the Kindle Fire (7″), you’d be paying $299, $199, and *$159 respectively. (*Note; the Kindle Fire is only available with 8G of memory on the device compared to twice that on the iPad mini).
“From the sidelines to the playing field: Tablets put seniors squarely in the high-tech game” McKinsey&Company – Cyber boom: Why tablet domination has only just begun.
The biggest knock on iOS/Apple’s native operating system (pick your version- we use iOS6) is the not-ready-for-primetime maps application. It works OK, but just didn’t live up to the hype and expectations of the very well announced Apple map experience! We’re guessing it will be another year before they re-launch this feature, and no doubt Tim Cook (new Apple CEO) won’t let the maps app out of the gate until it’s near perfect. Apple doesn’t usually make big mistakes, and that was one of them on Cook’s watch. Interesting to note that Apple recently shook up it’s management team including the guy that headed up the Apple map launch debacle, Scott Forstall.
There are abundant applications for each of the tablet choices available today. The Senior List recently published some of our favorite Apple apps for boomers and seniors (click through and add your favorites to the list) and we’ve written a good bit about smartphone use among aging adults. As tablets and smartphones continue to evolve, we’ll all be relying on them to do even more for us… everywhere… without interruption. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Facetime with dad so I can remind him to take his meds!!