Why I Got An iPad Air

The all-too human reasons why I think the Apple Apple iPad Air
is the best tablet this Christmas

5 / 5 stars      

The Apple iPad Air is ultra-light, slick, fast, has great speakers for music, uses the latest 64-bit technology, and has superb customer support.

The Apple iPad Air runs The Bob Dylan Bootleg App and Rolling Stone Interactive video.  That’s important stuff for a Dylan fan.

The iPad Air isn’t cheap but the iPad we bought in 2010 is still working so they have value. I can’t pry my wife’s fingers off it. At least this one has all the latest stuff like 64-bit-who-needs-it-processor and retina-my-eye display.

If you read NJN Network, or follow me on Twitter, Facebook or other social media it is plainly obvious I am a Microsoft fan. It’s logical to assume my Christmas self-gift would be a Microsoft Surface Pro.

I was ready to drop the credit card until some Microsoft executive announced the end of Windows RT.  I don’t want to waste $600 on an orphaned product.

I bought an Apple iPad Air (32 GB, Wi-Fi, White)  on Black Friday with a paltry $50 discount.

I like the 32GB model because you can never have enough memory but $700 was too much for the next size up.

I joined tens of millions of happy customers who bought an iPad Air this holiday season.

My iPad Air

Apples versus Oranges

Simply put, the iPad Air was the best tablet for the money. It was  a toss-up between the iPad Air and the Microsoft – Surface 2.  They are almost identical in weight and feel and the Surface 2 has a dandy stand that supports the tablet, reading at the table or on your lap. For a few hundred dollars more the Surface 2 Pro beats the pants off an iPad Air. It’s a real computer that integrates with SkyDrive and Office 365.

But the iPad Air is pretty cool as well.  The iPad Air speakers are so good you can actually enjoy listening to music without external speakers. They aren’t hi-fi but they are pretty good. That speaks to Apple’s continuing innovation and commitment to music with their devices and the iTunes Store.

Let’s face it: Apple invented the modern music player with the iPod and they seem to be miles ahead of the competition. Google Play – that’s a joke. Amazon.com are US only so what’s the good of that in Canada?

Microsoft and Nokia have decent music stores and music players. In fact Xbox Music is a visually better music player and supports more audio formats than Apple.

Things I hate about the iPad Air

Nothing really. I still don’t like iTunes syncing music but you get used to it. Why can’t Apple use drag and drop?

Apple iPad Air Smart Case

The iPad Air Smart Case is cool looking but a piece of junk if you use it as a stand.

The flimsy little tripod that magnetically snaps onthe Air cannot hold the tablet up. It holds the stand so that the iPad Air’s center of gravity is unstable, I was always afraid it would topple over and break. Yikes!

That’s where the Surface has the iPad Air beat with the cool built-in aluminum stand.

Microsoft Customer Service is not best-practice

Taylor Swift pic from Xbox Music captured for my Lumia lock screen

Microsoft is a couple of light-years behind Apple in customer service.

I bought a Taylor Swift song “Sweeter Than Fiction” from Xbox Music on my Nokia Windows Phone awhile back.

Something went wrong in the download. The song will start to play, stall, and then play. The song does not appear on any other Windows 8.1 device I own.

If I try to play it on my Windows tablet or computers, Xbox Music wants me to buy it again.

Aha, you caught me! I have a Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows tablet but not for my main device, it helps me to see how NJN Network is formatted on different sized screens, at least that’s what I told my wife.

I spent half an hour on the phone with Xbox Customer Service one day trying to fix the problem. Finally the nice young fellow said he really didn’t know anything about music and would transfer me to someone else but my phone ran out of battery. Do I want to spend half a day on the phone with Microsoft? Nope, it’s not worth $1.29.

Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)

Apple iTunes makes mistakes too but all you have to do is click on a link, send them a message and Apple credits your account.

No questions asked.

Recently I bought Bob Dylan’s Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 from iTunes for $30. The next day it was on special at Nokia Music for $10.

I just emailed Apple and they gave me a store credit. They didn’t ask me to prove I removed the songs from my computer or anything. That’s customer service.

Microsoft does not seem to get the concept of excellent customer service which makes me nervous about buying a $700 Microsoft tablet. I spent almost an hour arguing with a Microsoft Store employee once about an RMA.  Argh, like most people I hate that.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network


  1. I too was ready to buy a new tablet this Christmas, and the iPad Air seemed the best choice, especially since I have enjoyed my original iPad first generation for all but the last year. During that year, Apple has completely abandoned those of us who spent $829 and tax for the top of the line iPad with 3G. Stuck at version 5.x, Safari crashes more often than a Nascar driver, it has become useless for the Internet.
    Looking at the iPad Air, with just 16GB for just $499.00 was very tempting, but really just a functional version of what I have. Sure, it’s faster, has more system RAM, top notch screen, and cameras.
    then I looked at the Surface 2 and Surface Pro. The Pro is Windows 8 based Intel driven. Runs Windows 7 software. Has a real USB port. Works with ANY network printer, not just a select few. It has a microSDXC slot for more storage, so adding another 64GB is about $50.00. I’d be willing to bet it will still be functional long after Apple wants more money from the iPad Air crowd. I don’t mind upgrading a cellphone every two years, but not a tablet. Price was also a deccomment_IDing factor. I bought the first generation Surface Pro, introduced way back in February of 2013, with 128GB of storage, for $679.00 at Best Buy. The Microsoft Store has it for the same price. I am sure these are closeout prices, but this is a real computer. Not an app playing, huge screen cellphone. The Pro is twice the weight of the iPad Air, and the battery life is about 5 hours real world tested, but those are the only specs it loses to the Apple. I think you missed out on a better choice.

  2. I had the iPad 2 and 3 and got the 128GB Air. I use it for both work and for private use. I take notes, read PDFs and create presentations for work, browsing and music and comment_content_author_email for personal use. The Air is fantastic. It is lightweight and really fast. For me Pages and Keynote work well for document production. We get data from our product in Word or Powerpoint format. I quickly import those into Pages or Keynote which I find much more workable. The speed of the Air is very impressive, even where it is not expected. For example, I found that note taking became easier because the CPU can respond to finger motion more quickly so it captures corners and loops in writing better.
    The battery life on the Air is incredible. I rarely worry about looking for a plug for the charger. This is simply the best tablet around.

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