Allan--excellent post. I have a Kindle Fire (not HD version) and love it. I was very skeptical in the beginning but after one day of taking it through all the paces I realized it was a very usable and desirable device. The only issue I have is the ability of the Wi-Fi to pick up when I'm receiving only 2 "bars". I think the HD version will solve that problem. (The other problem I have is getting it away from my grandchildren.) Again, excellent post.
The company has a loyal following and when you have that level of devotion the consumers diminish the disadvantages and magnify the advantages. As an example; I watched my sister, a very loyal Apple fan, spend over an hour reloading the Operating System back into her phone because she needed the latest version. A feature had stopped working when Apple upgraded iTunes, and now she couldn't access features that were in the cloud.
My son had an iPod and eventually switched to a Creative device because of all issues with iTunes and syncing. My son has a very extensive music library of around 60Meg, and the constant library corruption was costing him hours of use in re-syncing with iTunes. In contrast, Creative has a simple drag and drop interface which doesn't require the cloud to listen to a CD that you already own, and the library never became corrupted.
Certainly, another issue is iTunes itself. Everything runs through iTunes, even if you don't want to download music you MUST have an iTunes or Apple Store account to run the device. I find this Big Brother philosophy rather ironic since Apple was famous for their 1984 commercial depicting a group of cult followers mindlessly following a leader until someone shatters the video image with a hammer. Apple tells people in their advertising that owning an Apple product expounds creativity and personal freedom, but the truth is that owning an Apple product forces the user to register every aspect of product use through Apple's corporation.
Apple is much like religion and politics, so I really don't intend to sound harsh or injure the party loyal. As an Engineer, an Apple product is just a black box and there are very many black boxes to chose from.
Tekochip, if you are comparing the price also Apple is superior. For Apple, the user has only limited choices in selection, but if we are opting for any Android based tablets, the choices are wide open from different companies with different features and functionalities. The prices are also too less and in most of the cases, thatís too half of an IPad.
The more I think about it Beth, the more intrigued I am by such brand loyalty to Apple - I will definitely give one a test drive when it's time to make another technology purchase. My boys are always bragging on the Macs they get to use in their media arts classes at school.
@Nancy: Nancy, you raise some valid points as well about pricing and particularly about the software available for the Mac. In earlier days, there was a lack of real business software for the Mac, especially as it pertains to serious engineering tools--CAD and CAE, for example. I think some of that has changed--there are versions of Autodesk tools for the Mac and obviously the slew of new design tool apps are optimized for Apple's iOS mobile platform. Yet there isn't the same deep pool of tried and true engineering software for the Apple platform so that would definitely be a game changer for using the Mac as a professional engineering workstation, despite its killer graphics capabilities. Still, I'd cajole you into taking a new model for a test drive when it's time to buy your next computer!