“Should I upgrade to Windows 10?”

That’s a complicated question that a number of people have asked me. It’s free (for a while, at least), and your Windows PC is probably pestering you relentlessly to upgrade to Windows 10.

These days, “free” often means you’re paying with something other than cash — typically your time & attention (via advertising) or by relinquishing your privacy (by allowing 3rd parties to know about you, you relationships with others, and your tastes & interests).

With Windows 10, Microsoft has placed its bet on people being willing to trade privacy for software. It would not be an exaggeration to call it spyware. It pains me to say this because I was favourably impressed with their new CEO, Satya Nadella, and the changes he had been making in the company and its products, reversing some long-standing, wrong-headed decisions made by Ballmer & co.

How you feel about this is very much an individual choice, and I am not here to judge anyone else’s decision. I am not comfortable with the choices Windows 10 presents.

The only computer hardware company I could endorse in good conscience in 2015 would be Apple. Its strongest competitor to a Windows 10 PC, especially for a budget-conscious user, would be the iPad Air 2 (though Apple’s event on September 9th or possibly the traditionally-iPad-centric October event, as yet unannounced, may add some nuance to that recommendation, making this a poor time to buy).

Anyone looking to get many trouble-free years out of a piece of hardware that easily lets them access the web, email, instant messaging with FaceTime or Skype, Facebook/Twitter, etc., the iPad is the post-PC device of choice. Don’t like typing on glass? A Bluetooth keyboard makes it as easy as a laptop.

With all-day battery life, free from viruses and malware, painless regular software updates, the answer to “should I upgrade to Windows 10?” is “get an iPad instead.” After 2015-09-09, that is.