04-28-2010, 05:33 AM
While the Mac mini suggestion you got was a good one (I have one and I love it), I think I'm going to lean towards suggesting an iMac for you instead. My reasoning here is that the iMac will come not just with its own screen, but with an INCREDIBLY HIGH QUALITY screen, the likes of which you are not likely to buy on your own (as screens of that quality are quite expensive).
It also comes with a webcam and mic built in, which you will hopefully find is absolutely *delightful* for talking with friends and relatives using either/or iChat or Skype. Plus, the iMac is an incredibly beautiful machine to look at, particularly in a home environment. There's a 21.5" model, and a stunning 27" model.
The iPad is highly recommended as well ... you can check our iPad thread to read what actual owners have to say. What's remarkable about it is that normally, people come to forums like this mainly to report and solve PROBLEMS or get advice about how to do something. We've had NONE of that from the dozen or so iPad owners who've reported in ... they've all had glowing things to say about them.
I think an iPad makes an ideal "lounge" sort of "digital assistant" rather than another "computer" per se. I think you'll find yourselves both using it more than you realise!
Best of all, unless you're talking about non-US dollars, I can't see any way any of your choices could add up to $4-5000. More like half that (not counting tax).
Best wishes for your new "baby," whatever it turns out to be!