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Farcaster's Musings

Why I'm Starting to Consider the iPad...

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A few short weeks ago when the iPad was first announced, I was not among the throng of excited Apple groupies who had already made up their minds before Steve Jobs took one step onto the podium that I would be buying this device no matter what it did. I've never quite understood the mentality of if it has XYZ sticker, I simply must have it, and that extends to the iWhatever-the-Hell-They-Come-Up-with-Next. I was a late adopter to the iPod, simply because I never wanted to spend so much money on what amounted to little more than a device to play music on. It took a drastic reduction in prices before I came on board, and that was years after the initial launch. Still, I looked forward with some interest to hear about what Apple would come up with for a new tablet.

As the details of the new iPad poured in, I found myself initially disappointed. What I had hoped for was something greater than just an iPod with a bigger screen. Donít get me wrong -- I get it; it has more computing power and capacity than its smaller cousin. However, what I had hoped for was something more akin to a true computer wrapped in a nice and tight, sexy, Apple shell. I've never been a Macintosh user, but I would have even been extremely happy with something that came with a fully featured Mac OS. So, I found myself less than thrilled with the direction Apple took -- a fact I railed about to friends and coworkers.

Flashing forward to today, why then have I started to soften my stance and consider becoming one of the early adopters? Iíve been thinking about what a boon this could be to my roleplaying experience. More and more RPG publishers have been moving towards PDF publishing Ė- with the notable exception of Wizards of the Coast, who stuck their toe in the tepid waters of electronic publishing and found it too hot for their delicate tastes. Nonetheless, I can still hope that they will change their minds eventually, and in the meantime many of the other major publishers are putting out digital editions of their books, including: White Wolf, Hero Games, Steve Jackson Games, Paizo, and a slew of others. The idea of having my entire RPG library available to bring with me on a single device is extremely appealing. I had hoped that the [ame=" ASIN=B0015TG12Q"]Kindle DX[/ame] could be this device, but it is still a black-and-white device and moreover its price point is prohibitively high. The iPad is similarly priced, but as a convergence device, it offers much more to justify its cost.

Consider the myriad applications that are already available from the iTunes library and imagine the possibilities of what kinds of applications we'll see on a device with a larger screen, more power and an expanded SDK. If someone isnít already working on some sort of digital table for the iPad platform, I would be surprised -- and, if they arení't, they should be! The question of whether developers will step up to the plate and start pumping out product for the iPad really seems to be a foregone conclusion though. It is Apple after all, and I did mention the "i" prefix on the name, right? Guaranteed gold.

So, as the release date inches ever closer, I find myself more and more tempted. Sure, I could take a wait and see approach to see how well the iPad takes off, and maybe I will for the first few months. I suspect though that sooner or later, Iíll end up with one of these in my eager hands. For a device with so much promise, $500 just seems like too low a price to pass up.

(BTW, this is all despite its wholly ridiculous name...)

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  1. Freejack's Avatar
    It's a point of view thing. A majority of folks on the 'net are using their computers to read e-mail, look at pictures, and browse web sites. The ability to do that and read ebooks and have it large enough to easily read game PDFs is a good thing.

    Look at the number of iPhones. Heck, I have Goodreader and quite a few PDFs along with all the music I want to listen to (it can't fit all my tunes but that's ok, I don't want it all on my iPhone ). Even game PDFs are pretty easy to read considering the device.

    Unfortunately I'm more on the geeky side of things. I have and use a Mac Powerbook G4 at my games and have a fairly powerful Windows box for all the other things I like to do. On my Powerbook, I have a web server, php, mysql, and several wikis for gaming notes. Sure I can read PDFs on it but it's not comfortable (I find myself going to the shelf when I need to look something up).

    I would have liked to have a more netbook type iPad however it would have appealed to a fairly small audience and Apple doesn't target small audiences, at least not since Steve returned.

    So while I'd be interested in the iPad for reading game and even other books that I have, and it'd be great for surfing the 'net or playing fun little games (hell, I have Doom and Castle Wolfenstein on my iPhone ), I'm not going to drop my iPhone (which I got last year) for an iPad at least until my contract is up, or if my wife breaks her iPhone.

    I am interested in seeing it so I'll be heading down to the local Apple store to check it out a few days after the release date.


    Edit: And just a little note. My wife isn't a data type person. All the cell phones we've had, she's turned off web access. Not just not accessing it but actually calling the company and having it disabled. Now with her iPhone, she spends more time on it than her laptop. I suspect if she had an iPad, she might not ever use the laptop. She's an example of the common variety web user. Email, photos, web browsing and with the iPhone, music and videos. She's the target audience for the iPad.
    Updated 03-01-2010 at 09:11 PM by Freejack
  2. Spazzle's Avatar
    I was considering this as well, but ultimately opted for a simple netbook. I'm still miffed Apple won't loosen their "no Java/no Flash" stance for the iPhone/iPad products and as a result this lead to the purchase of a netbook. I can get all the software I use for gaming in one easy to carry piece of equipment.

    Now if Apple decides to implement Flash or Java on the iPad, I'm in. (I love my iPhone)
  3. Dimthar's Avatar
    Since the budget is limited, I've been trying to find excuses (I mean justifications) to get one for Christmas (2010).

    1) Book Reader (Kindle $259): It excels in this category for me, why? Color!, it is great for children's books (bedtime reading) and Comics / Graphic Novels. I just read about the Marvel app and it sounds cool. Wife is complaining about my books, not enough room, so I am thinking of joining the digital era.

    2) Movies (Portable DVD Player $130): It has an excellent battery life, so it should be a very good option for those long driving trips to Mexico, I know the IPad does not play DVDs but I am also considering joining the digital market in movies, my daughters have damaged a good amount of their own DVDs, so I think the move is not a bad one. I think there will be also a Netflix app.

    3) Computer (Netbook $300): My use of the computer has been limited to Web browsing, so I think it fills all my needs in this area. As far as playing, I will keep my desktop, I don't mind the lack of multitasking if it means faster performance and less bugs.

    4) Chatting: Will miss the camera I guess but an Skype app will do fine for me.

    5) TV (Portable TV $60): I wonder how it works with Hulu and hope Slingbox comes out with a good app very soon (although people are not that optimistic).

    Overall, It is OK for me. Now we will see if I can sneak it under the tree in December.