iPad or not iPad? Or Nexus, Galaxy Tab, Kindle Fire or Microsoft Surface? It’s not exactly as profound as Hamlet’s soliloquy that began with the immortal words “To be or not to be?”, is it? But it’s a pressing question in today’s hyper-connected, tablet/phablet obsessed world. Times sure have changed, haven’t they? Without doubt, 2012 was the biggest year so far for tablets. For 2013, it’s difficult to say for sure what will happen to the tablet market, but some basic trends are already clear. Apple will keep refreshing its current tablet offerings, further tweaking its “end-to-end” software and hardware. Google will work on its own hardware and Samsung will continue to improve its Android strategy, Amazon will further enhance its own Android-based operating system, and Microsoft will continue doing its own Windows 8/RT thing. But who will win the tablet wars? Each of these tech giants have their own fans, who support and sustain them depending on their needs and preferences. Experienced tablet buyers will choose their favourites by taking into account the competing operating “ecosystems” – it’s Apple iOS versus the Android ecosystems (Google’s, Samsung’s, or Amazon’s) versus Microsoft’s Windows 8. My personal experience As I said, the variety of offers is so wide, and each of us has their favourite one, but here I will share my and my friends’ experiences. When it comes to Apple, I must confess that I am a bit of a fan – I really trust its products and believe in its simple design values. I’m sure not the only one! Forbes, in its annual “Forbes Lists”, marks Apple out as the world’s most powerful brand and most valuable company. If that’s not enough for the sceptics, let me give you some numbers to illustrate that the iPad phenomenon has just begun. iPad revenues reached $28.5B in just two years and 100 million iPads have been sold so far – something that hasn’t happened with any other device. And the future could be even more astounding, when you consider that consumer market research company NPD says that the tablet market will grow six times its current size in the next four years. Currently, Apple towers over its competitors and so we should all render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's. Smart and stylish When I first unpackaged my brand new iPad, I discovered four things in the white box: the iPad itself, the iPad charger, a product description book and a warranty leaflet. First, I thought, “oh, is that’s all?” but then I realised, “what else would I need?” The iPad truly is so deceptively simple that it can be difficult to remember how powerful it is. When I looked carefully at my iPad, the stylish and efficient design was immediately apparent. And with its sophisticated features and fantastic image and video capabilities, it really is very handy and easy to be used and carried around. This reminded me that Apple has always been far ahead of its competitors in combining software and industrial design into providing a truly stress-free user experience. All of them, so far, have just tried to emulate it. Looking more deeply into it, I understood that Apple’s design philosophy focuses on designing innovative and efficient products, where less truly is more in terms of things like energy consumption and accessories. And it all comes down to being incredibly easy to use! Everything is so logical and extremely well explained, that you only have to follow the indicated steps in order to be able to use it properly. I got my first iPad a year and a half ago, and I’ve never got bored of it or regretted the purchase. And trust me, I am the kind of person who analyses things to their finest details, compares possibilities and looks into the market until I discover the best find. When first bought it, most of my friends were saying things like “Oh, the tablet is just a fad; it will die soon, just as the pager did”. And now? Well, almost all of them have a tablet! The tablet has well and truly found a place in people’s lives. When my friends first decided to join the tablet club, a few of them considered the iPad to be too expensive (“it’s just the Apple tax”) and so they bought cheaper tablets. Unfortunately, after few months of owning and using these tablets, they found them lacking in features and quality – and so of course, they are all soon to be switching to the iPad! Well, but which iPad is best? At the moment Apple is selling four of its five iPad models: iPad 2; iPad 3 with retina display; iPad 4 – the new iPad; and the iPad mini. At a glimpse, the iPad generations can be classified like this: iPad 1 – the first tablet from Apple; the iPad 2 – introduced a front and back camera, iPad 3 – a big upgrade, with a faster processor and a new high-definition display; and then finally, the iPad 4 with its super-charged processor. And then last but not least (well, maybe in terms of its size), Apple launched a mini version as well called the iPad mini, which is super cute, smart and handy! Have a look on the Apple website and findout which is the best for you! So, all these being said, will you choose an iPad or an iPad mini? The iPad 2, 3 or 4 is less portable but has a beautiful retina screen, while the iPad mini is smaller and handier to carry around, but offers a more limited viewing experience. My option for now is a normal iPad, but how about yours? Your thoughts are not only awaited and read, but extremely appreciated! So please feel free to share your opinions in the comments!