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Need buying advice: Choosing between iOS and Android (specific needs)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by lebear, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. lebear
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    lebear iPF Noob

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    Hi everyone! I signed up here to try to get some advice on whether to buy an iPad2 or Samsung GT10.1. I'm trying to compare the two tablets on a list of specific points, so please leave any comments on what's the best tab/OS overall to another thread ;-)

    I come from a Linux/Android background with basically no Apple experience whatsoever. It would therefor seem natural to get an Android tablet, but reviews have made me think twice about it.

    Why I want a tablet in the first place
    Mainly for reading, actually. Specifically ePub, PDF, and The Economist and Financial Times. In my judgement, iOS is has superior content availability in this department (it seems news companies have quite a crush on the iPad). Feel free to recommend similar apps!

    Too bad then that the Samsung GT (according to reviews) have a better screen, for reading. How do you feel about reading news, books, etc on the iPad2? I'd spend at least ~3-4 hours/day reading (since it's part of my job, and I do a lot of that on the computer now).

    Formats, iTunes, etc

    Apart from my 5 year old iPod, I have no experience with the whole iTunes/synch thing going on. I've heard iOS5 will mean that you'll no longer need to hook up the device to a computer with iTunes to activate it, but is that it?

    How exactly would I be dependent on iTunes if I bought an iPad? I understand you buy apps, music, books etc through iTunes, and as long as it's on the device it's fine, but I'd rather not have to get it running on my Linux machine.

    I read about iBooks, which seems like a beautiful app, but it said you'd have to put the books in your iTunes library and then sync to the device. Is that the only way? I'd much rather just use Dropbox to pull down the stuff I want on my tablet.

    Having to use iTunes to move files from the computer to the tablet is almost a dealbreaker for me, so I really hope there's a workaround. What about audio and video file formats, any restrictions?

    Last but not least: Jailbreaking and iOS5

    So, I'm used to Android. Doing whatever I want, using widgets, etc. I'm glad to see that iOS5 will introduce widgets and some other neat stuff. I assume that'll grow into a big thing, leading to more customization. But what can currently be done? I know about jailbreaking, but not much about what it can be used for. What, IYO, do you believe an Android enthusiast would miss (if anything) with a jailbroken iPad?

    Those are probably my biggest concerns, and getting answers would greatly help me in my buying decision :)
  2. Mountainbikermark
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    Mountainbikermark iPad Addict

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    Though I don't have any epub on my Galaxy, I've yet to need to plug in to my desktop. Any media I need to read my Tab has a built in reader for be it Quick Office or Google Books and I can move stuff back and forth easily via several other non corded methods.
    I think you are stuck with iTunes format only for media but I may be wrong .
    As far as customizing without a jail break the choices are vanilla on the Ipad
    I enjoy reading on my Ipad but prefer it on my Tab. The Ipad is too "bright" to a slightly washed look

    I've sent you a pm

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  3. DrHouse
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    DrHouse iPad Junkie

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    I am a long time Ubuntu user, and been making my way thru with my iDevices without Windows or iTunes. It's not perfect, but iOS5 will fix the last hurddle for me. My iPad is not JB, as I'm not into tweaking and widgets.

    Upgrading IOS
    iTunes is still required for this step, that is until iOS5. That's why I keep an old WinXP laptop around since iTunes does not work in Ubuntu. I've heard that some people were able to upgrade using a virtualized WinXP, but last time I tried, it failed.

    Backup/Restoring
    No luck there without iTunes, but since all my data beside music and movies are in the cloud, I don't care.

    Music and movies
    While the iPhone (3GS) is well supported via banshee and gtkpod, it still does not work with the iPad. It's not a big deal for music as I don't use it for listening to my tunes, but for movies, I have to rely on third party apps like OPlayer HD. Actually, the process is easier than using iTunes as when connecting your iPad on your linux machine, the app folders will show up as any USB key. You will see 2 mount points: one for the photos and one for the app folders. An app folder is a folder available for any supported app. You can drag'n drop content in that folder that the app will be able to use. Under Windows, you need iTunes to access those folders, but it is supported natively in Ubuntu.

    EBook
    I generally send my files in Dropbox or via email, then open the file in my iPad and the a "Open in... iBook" to have then transfered into iBook. There are other book readers available that can provide a app folder over USB but since I don't do that quite often, it's works for me

    Transcoding in MP4...
    Handbrake is your friend here. Make sure to install libdvdcss and you'll be able to rip that DVD in a single click. Some apps like oplayer hd can play other formats, but the iPad can only play MP4 format. Not a big deal in my case, but can be annoying for others

    Remote access
    There is a bunch of apps able to connect to a vnc server, so remoting your linux box is a breeze

    Shared folder
    If you share a folder over the network, using Samba, some apps will be able to access that "Windows" share. Oplayer hd does a good job at this level. But a simple Apache web server can do the job if you just want to fetch some files

    Dropbox
    Yep, supported in Linux as in IOS by installing Dropbox

    Mail, contacts, calendar sync
    I use Google, so no need to sync at this level between my laptop and my iPad

    Photos
    The iPad is seen as any digital camera, so no problem there...


    So basically, that's the big picture using an iDevice with linux (Ubuntu). Doing a jb may provide with additional features. If you're into tweaking and customizing, the Galaxy may be a beter choice, but if you want to use the iPad for what it does, you'll be a happy penguin even with the small limitations.

    If you have any other question, don't hesitate!

    VicoPad addict!
  4. AvaMoore
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    AvaMoore iPad Fan

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    I came from a similar limited background with regards to knowledge of apple products and my opinion drastically changed after trying out the iPad 2. I've been labelled the most anti-social person in my group of friends because I can't seem to put the thing down. I have a galaxy phone, this has now become just a phone. I used to use all the apps on it and now I just send texts.

    I read a lot of comics and it's perfect, the colour details are perfect and it's so much better than a PC for easily flicking through pages and articles. I don't have the technical knowledge, however I can't fault the iPad for customisation. I recently jailbroke my iPad 2 and it was the easiest thing I ever did, it's totally reversible and new tweaks, themes and other essentials are coming in thick and fast.

    I also use my iPad for reading lots of new articles on the popular newspaper apps, they have so many different choices, giving paper based downloadable versions of each paper and also up-to-date ticker news, which keeps me in the know as things happen.

    Accessibility of android limits me from doing certain things, I couldn't find an application for online banking, this might not be an issue for you, but most banks use apps provided in the app store only available on iOS.

    Finally. I exchanged my iPad with a friend for one afternoon and tried out the new galaxy device, fresh off the shelf. I actually pined over my iPad. I found that after a while of staring at the screen, it started to effect my eyes a little. Only as much as a pc would, funny though, never had that problem with my iPad.

    Going to leave it to the experts on this site now, I just like to show my support for the iOS.
  5. GoPackGo
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    GoPackGo iPad Junkie

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    Hi there!! I love iBooks. It's an incredible app. It has so many wonderful features. Minus the eink, I actually don't miss my original nook wifi at all.

    iTunes kind of stinks.. But you can buy apps from the app store on the device.. I use iTunes to sync my movies, books, and pics though.

    I didn't JB my iPad, so no help there!

    Sent from my iPad using iPF
  6. singlestick
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    singlestick iPad Fan

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    Very quickly, you might want to look at recent tech stories about the Financial Times pulling its iPad app, though I think you can still get to it using Safari. The Economist has a great iPad app, and access to all iPad issues is free if you are a subscriber. The New Yorker app is great. I also strongly recommend the apps for TED and This American Life, for both the programs and as great examples of iPad centric apps.

    A note on iOS 5 and the Cloud. Although I assume that iOS 5 is designed specifically with the iPad, the iPhone and Apple hardware products in mind, no one knows for sure how well it will be integrated with non Apple products. I have seen some news stories suggesting that Windows 7, but not XP, will be supported, but I don't know if this is really will be the case with the final release of the new operating system. Still, some caution may be in order.
  7. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    You've already received several good answers and with MountainBikerMark participating you'll get a much better perspective on the features of the Galaxy tablet than most of the rest of us can provide. I'll just add a few points that don't seem to have been covered already since we share some experiences.

    () As I understand it (and the information is sketchy at best at this point) iOS5 will enable you to use iTunes completely independent of a separate computer. I assume that's Apple's goal since it makes very little sense to sell millions of iPads to people who don't need/want a computer and then force them to have a computer in order to maintain an iPad.

    () As I understand the technical details, "jailbreaking" is roughly equivalent to "rooting" in an Android environment. But while the latter amounts to assuming "superuser" privileges in the OS, it's not clear to me that jailbreaking is exactly equivalent. Rather, it appears to open up features that are locked down in the standard OS but only with additional apps.

    In any event, I would recommend that you not assume that iOS5 will be "jailbreak-able." Apple is getting very good at plugging the holes that previously enabled such hacking. (For that matter, Google is getting better at plugging holes in Android.) To be on the safe side, I'd suggest that you assume that the iPad will have to be maintained in a factory state. Or, if not, assume you may be undertaking a new hobby.

    () Nor would i assume that Apple's addition of some widgets (and other features) is the first step toward much greater customization for the iPad. For a number of reasons (principally to guarantee a consistent user experience) Apple does NOT like customization. And I think you can count on that philosophy remaining in place. Some choices will no doubt be added but Apple will be dragged kicking and screaming in that direction.

    Bottom line. Be sure the stock iPad is what you want. Any other assumption is risky at best.

    () Personally, I find the iPad to be perfectly adequate for my uses. I miss the options for different keyboards available in the Android environment, but since I use a physical keyboard 99% of the time, it's not a big problem. I miss true multitasking. (And please let's not discuss whether the iPad does multitasking. It really doesn't.) But with a 9" screen and some improvements in notification in iOS5, most of the benefits of true multitasking are either irrelevant or will be available. And I miss having a true file system and external storage options. But again, the iPad is not my main computer and the workarounds are sufficient to meet my needs for a supplementary device.

    () Finally, if I were considering a tablet today I'd take a close look at the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet (not the "K1" consumer version) in addition to the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 and the iPad. The price is virtually the same as the Galaxy and the iPad. It supports usb and SD card storage with full data encryption. Its screen supports a pressure sensitive stylus (a significant advantage compared to the iPad's capacitive finger painting screen), and a number of included apps that you pay extra for on an iPad. And it has a folio case that includes a Lenovo keyboard (a big plus).

    Just as important, I have a lot of faith in Lenovo's commitment to their tablet product. They have a reputation to consider with their business customers that rivals Apple's in the mass consumer market. I have nothing against Samsung. (Have one of their excellent TV's). But if I were looking for a tablet that integrates well with my laptop, desktop, and network environments, I think Lenovo understands my needs better than Samsung does.
  8. Mountainbikermark
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    Mountainbikermark iPad Addict

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    While I didn't find the Economist I found Financial Times app for tablets.
    I hope I'm wrong but my understanding of ios5 is it takes a chain to a desktop and turns it into a wireless ankle bracelet tied wirelessly to a cloud, itunes is still the only sync method. That was why I went with my Tab for myself and gave my ipad to my kids instead of buying them an ipad.
    If not for itunes, I was getting pretty content with my ipad and seeing the "major changes" ios5 will bring just didn't wow me like I'd hoped it would . I am LOVING my slider mini keyboard on my tablet vs typing with my big clunky fingers, though the ipad keyboard is easy to use.
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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011

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