Well it is really weird that 64 bit is not the recommended version as you can not boot 32 bit on all systems sold with Win8 preinstalled without enabling the CSM (Secure Boot is basically impossible with CSM enabled, but there are motherboards which support that for legacy gfx cards - you need GOP mode for pure UEFI). So when you want to boot in UEFI mode then this will only work with 64 bit. Hard to recommend 32 bit in those times There are only some 32 bit UEFI Atoms which can not use 64 bit, Intel made a huge mistake to buy 3rd party graphics without working 64 bit drivers, but thats why this exists. I would never buy this crap for Linux.
I agree that 64-bit is better. But one app that I really need to work is Google Earth, and for some reason it just doesn't want to install in 64-bit. Does anyone have a clue why that is? I've searched for answers, and from what people say, it seems that Google Earth is still programmed as 32-bit. Even the 64-bit binary that can be downloaded from Google actually requires a whole bunch of 32-bit libraries to be installed, and even then it just crashes on me. That just makes no sense. If anything, I would expect Google to abandon the 32-bit version, rather than making it the only version that actually functions.
My tablet PC is 32-bit, and I bought it two years ago. Then again, it isn't capable of handling Unity anyway, due to Poulsbo graphics.
Is your tablet x86? 99% of the tablets on the market are ARM based and are thus 32-bit as there isn't a 64-bit ARM CPU on the market yet.
Now in a year the first 64-bit ARM CPUs will be out and even AMD will be producing them, however, they will be server oriented. Things like website and email servers that don't see allot of traffic can be run on ARM for far lower power and cooling requirements then even the lowest power X86 CPU.
I think this is overdue. I can understand that recommending the 32-bit version by default is the "safe" choice because it will work with both 32-bit and 64-bit CPUs, but in the x86 world 64-bit hardware has been more common for so long now that I have a hard time imagining that those who use 32-bit x86 don't know they need to look for 32-bit ISOs explicitly.
Ubuntu is Debian based and has all Wheezy features like multiarch. All those 32bit applications now easily can install their needed 32bit libs ...
Perhaps some repacking issues of those remain: specifying the proper deps.
Skype and Google Earth are definitely two reasons to stay with 32 bit if you want to stay out of trouble. When I install Ubuntu on friends' computers I always try to install the 32 bit version, it saves me a number of future support calls in the future.
Personally I run the latest 64 bit version of Linux Mint MATE, mostly because I want to run 64 bit virtual machines. And I have a enough fast connection to download and update all compat-libs.
Ubuntu Server I have been running more or less exclusively on 64 bit since 2005, on a Pentium 4, without hassle.
I think the claim that the performance improvements come from using 64 bit are wrong or at least exaggerated. Most of the speedup will rather come from the fact that all AMD64 CPUs support SSE/SSE2 so the compiler enables these instruction sets by default when building for 64 bit targets. So the same effect could have been achieved by offering packages in a version compiled for SSE2, which would also benefit 32 bit CPUs like the Pentium M, pre-Nocona Pentium 4 and the "Paris"-Athlon XP.