Friday, December 13, 2013

Not-so-geeky holiday device buying guide

Anders’ not-so-geeky holiday device buying guide

Last week OverDrive tech writer and blogger Quinton Lawman detailed his top picks of this year’s crop of new devices in Quinton’s geeky holiday device buying guide (Part 1) (Part 2).

Now it’s my turn.

Conspicuously missing from the list were two iconic devices, the iPad Air, and the iPad Mini with retina display. The iPad Air boasts the most powerful tech specs in any iOS device to date, yet comes in the most elegant package ever. That’s up to 128 GB of storage in a one pound device that fits in the palm of your hand! (For some fun perspective, that much storage back in 1980 would’ve set you back a cool $25 million dollars, and forget about the weight of it!)

While the iPad Air ranges from $499-$799, its smaller cousin, the iPad Mini with retina display, packs all of that goodness into a smaller and more affordable package. Each respective storage capacity, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, is a hundred dollars less than the iPad Air.

Both models feature the best camera we’ve seen on any iPad. With 5 megapixel photos, Autofocus, face detection and a five element lens, it’s perfect to capture those precious holiday moments with friends and family.

But these devices are about more than just great hardware. With the release of iOS 7, the iPad’s newest operating system, Apple did something quietly amazing: they made their entire suite of productivity apps free. Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, collectively known as iWork, are the Apple equivalents of PowerPoint, Word and Excel and create files compatible with their Microsoft Office counterparts. What’s more is that, utilizing the same HTML 5 technology that powers OverDrive Read, offers a web-based version of each app that is accessible from virtually any computer with an internet connection, which will sync with the projects you have on your device. (But let’s face it, even if people don’t want to work on their iPad, at least now they can.) Of course, despite all of those useful free apps, I will probably still spend most of the time on my iPad this winter listening to audiobooks on the OverDrive Media Console.

Anders Brooks is a Training Specialist on the Knowledge Services Team at OverDrive, the provider of the library's digital collection.

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