DH would like to buy an Apple device to support the iPhones - doesn't trust Cloud - so recommendations please for this? Ipads and Mac laptops seem ridiculously expensive, but he's keen ... If he's going to spend the money, I'd rather he was directed toward something useful.
DH would like to buy an Apple device to support the iPhones - doesn't trust Cloud
He's going to have to, because Apple are dropping support for direct synch. So for example, the current version of iTunes on OSX (11.1) doesn't support synching contacts or calendars from the associated device, you have to do it via iCloud.
An Ipad is irrelevant, as you can't synch an iOS device to another iOS device. So if you want an Apple device you'd get either a Macbook Air or a Mac Mini (the latter cheaper if you have a monitor and keyboard lying around).