OK, I will admit that when it comes to the latest newfangled gadgets, I am a bit of a Luddite. I don’t actually want a phone that takes pictures because I have a camera that does that. Similarly, I don’t want a camera with GPS in it because I know where I am. I don’t want to access the Internet my phone because it’s expensive and the display is too small to read.

Having said that, I can understand that reading a book on a Kindle is quite convenient and that it is a fraction of the size and weight of half a dozen paperbacks – although I am at a loss as to why it costs £110 and some of the books you can download are actually cheaper in paper form.

This brings me neatly round the subject of a new iPad. I admire its compactness, but not it’s price tag. Added to this it seems to me to lack the basics I looked for a computer such as a card slot or a USB port. One of my fellow guests on the cruise I have just done has the latest iPad. Every day he transfers the pictures off his camera onto the iPad. I don’t understand why he does this because they could just as easily stay on the memory card until we get home, but to each his own.

To transfer the pictures, he needs to buy a dongle from Apple. This is where I get to say how much I admire Apple’s marketing skills. They make all their ports proprietary, so you have to buy a lot of dongles to make them work with non Apple products. The iPad itself might be small and neat, but you need a separate bag for all the attachments.

A while back I bought an MP3 player. The iPod is very neat but it costs a fortune compared to a Creative Zen. The Zen does the same job in a fraction of the price. Also, the Zen doesn’t force you to use iTunes and it has an expansion slot that takes a standard SD card in case I fill up the main memory. This turned out to be much easier to do than I thought.

Style and marketing made Apple what it is and, don’t get me wrong, they make a quality product. However, like all great bands you can are often do as well or better by looking past the logo and into the specifications.

To prove that point I am currently considering buying a Skoda. How brand unconscious in that?!?


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