iPads vs Tablets Posted on November 13, 2014 By Nathan Binder History is full of mighty clashes between great powers; the English and the French, the North and the South, the Allies and the Axis. Fortunately the gargantuan clash of today is considerably less violent, although probably equally contentious: the age-old debate between Apple and PC. Each side has a bevy of supporters ranging from radical to moderate, and each has a range of benefits and deficiencies. It used to all be about desktop computers, but in today’s age, Apple and PC face off over desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Tablets specifically have been on the rise in the past few years, following the introduction of the iPad. Credit unions have been acquiring tablets as a cheap alternative to full-service computers to perform common branch tasks. So which is better suited to handle your CU needs, iPad or the variety of PC tablets available? It really comes down to personal preference, so let’s take a look at what each has to offer.First, let’s consider the general differences between the two companies, and what you’re getting when you commit to one.Design Apple is sexy. They know it, we know it, and your customers know it too. Visibility of Apple products at your branch could provide the sleek, modern look you might be seeking. PC gives you more design options. Maybe you don’t want a streamlined, robotic look. Maybe you need something smaller or larger than what Apple offers. Price Macs are much pricier than PCs. If you’ve got money to blow, investing in Apple may give your customers the vibe that they’re banking with the elites. However, they might also think you’re squandering your funds for the sake of appearance. PCs offer many models with comparable (or better) specs than Apple computers at a much lower price range. Be careful not to spend too little though, the cost of replacing a cheap computer will be more than buying one that lasts for years. Customer Support You’ve probably heard of the Genius Bar. If you haven’t, it’s not a place Neil Degrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg get together to toss ‘em back. It’s Apple’s in-store, in-person, free customer service station. You can make an appointment, and talk to a real person to have them solve your issue. While the Genius Bar might be great for individual users, if you’re having a company-wide issue, the Microsoft support system may be superior. Microsoft has a massive IT support network, and can help with integration, mobile access, and security, as well as broken products. Security “Macs don’t get viruses” used to be the old rally-cry for Apple supporters. While this isn’t quite the case anymore, it’s pretty rare for Macs to get attacked, because they make up such a small portion of the computer market that hackers usually don’t waste their time. With a PC, an anti-virus software is a must. This will add an additional cost to the computer, but anti-virus programs are relatively affordable and highly effective. However, since financial information is the most important information to keep secure, credit unions might want to consider Macs if they feel at risk. Functionality This is usually the highest point of contention between the two systems, and thus I’ve saved it for last. Apples and PCs are both highly functional in their own right, but they do beat each other out in certain categories. For example, here at The Pod, our graphic design department relies mostly on Apple. We find it be more intuitive for that kind of thing, and Macs have been the CPU of choice for designers since the 80s. That said, there isn’t anything you can do on a Mac in the design realm that you can’t do on a PC, and some prefer a PC for design due to its speed, device compatibility, and multi-monitor support. But design may be a moot point for your CU if you enlist the services of creative branding agencies like The Pod Advertising, in which case the more affordable PC may be the go-to device. With Macs, you sacrifice some flexibility for less maintenance. This may be more efficient for some CUs, but some may prefer the ability to control individual program updates and the huge selection of programs that PCs offer. Apple is often regarded as the more intuitive operating system, and this may be key in quickly training new employees. Windows 8 has not been very popular, but if your credit union wants to make use of touch screens for easy customer transactions, it’s a great OS for tablets. Windows offers much more backwards compatibility which may come in clutch if your CU cannot afford to upgrade certain software. Windows is less dependant on graphics, which makes for a smoother, faster, albeit less colorful user experience. Windows is more efficient in creating a company-wide network with a server, as Apple’s networking products have yet to achieve mainstream use. Apple CPUs will work on Windows networks, but PCs will do it with less resource-allocation and support. Now let’s take a look at some specific tablets on the market right now:AppleFor Apple, it really comes down to two choices, the iPad Air and the iPad Air 2. You can’t go wrong with either, but the latter obviously comes with a higher price point and improved features.The iPad Air is priced around $399, and it’s a beautiful device. Paper-thin, sleek, and home to 1GB of RAM, this tablet will do any simple task you need it to, and look good doing it. The iOS is clean and intuitive, and the battery will last the extent of a work day. Upgrade to the iPad Air 2, and you get a similar device, but one that’s slimmer, faster, and essentially a small computer. The Wi-Fi is about twice as fast as it’s predecessor, and the Air 2 offers Apple SIM capability, meaning that the device can have cellular ability if the user has an iPhone account with AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile. This may not be useful for credit union employees, but definitely for executives that travel. While more powerful Android tablets are better geared towards productivity out of the box, the App Store’s wide range of third party apps (many of which are unavailable on Android) and it’s full versions of Microsoft Office programs (which are unavailable on Android) give it an edge. The iPad Air 2 also features a fingerprint lock, which allows for increased security and accountability.PCAndroid offers quite a wide range of tablets, some whose specs are far superior to Apple. While PCs are generally cheaper than Apple computers, the same doesn’t hold true with tablets, as the best Android tablets on the market often line up with Apple in price point.For example we have the Samsung Galaxy Tab S. The Tab S retails at $499, the same price as the iPad Air 2, and boasts a beautiful 10.5 inch screen. While it beats out the iPad in most physical specs, it’s Wi-Fi and GPU are slower, and those are both more central to conducting credit union operations. Samsung also bogs down pure Android with their own software, but not quite as obtrusively as in the past. Most critics agree that this tablet is the best out there for media consumption, but not necessarily productivity. That award goes to the Windows 8.1 operating system, and the Asus Transformer BookThe Asus Transformer Book is similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro in that it has hybrid keyboard functionality, and runs Windows 8.1. However it retails at a fraction of the cost, $399 compared to $1299 for the Surface. The Transformer Book also boasts an 11 hour battery life, and it comes with a keyboard and full Microsoft Office and Student. Unfortunately it only has 2GB of system memory, but has a 64GB hard drive and offers 1TB of free online storage. Although it’s hardware isn’t quite as sleek and shiny as the Samsung unit or the iPads, the Asus has the huge advantage of running the full version of Windows 8.1, giving it complete computer functionality and overcoming compatibility issues that often plague tabletsGoogle’s entrance into the fray is the Nexus 9, a follow-up to their successful Nexus 7. The Nexus 9 retails at $399 and is the fastest tablet out there. It also hosts pure Android Lollipop, providing an intuitive and highly customizable software experience. There’s no memory card slot, which limits memory expansion, and the battery cannot be removed. The Nexus 9 is being promoted for productivity, but it’s suite of Google Apps (Google Docs etc.) doesn’t quite hold up functionality-wise to the full version of Microsoft Office offered on Windows tablets. The Nexus 9 comes with the benefit of being the first to get Android software updates, and the negative of relying on the Google Play store, which is lacking in third party apps for tablets, especially compared to the Apple App Store. The Nexus 9 is a good investment in the pure Android experience, and 2015 is sure to bring a bevy of cloud-based productivity apps to compete with Windows.The Bottom LineTechnology has come so far that you can’t really go wrong with either. You especially can’t go wrong with mixing the two, like we do here at The Pod. It all comes down to personal preference, and what is best for your individual credit union. Good luck in all your technological enterprises, and happy shopping!