The last week I have had no problems putting my iPad away, and not use it all the time anymore. It is about the first time in the little over a year that I have the thing that I leave it mostly closed when I am at home.
Wow, iPads Addicts Anonymous absolutely has its effect, doesn’t it? Well, not really. It is not so much the iPad, but the concept of a tablet I find working out for me really well. It is a computer you drag around, is immediately standby if needed, and works practically anywhere. I love the thing on the road, have my tools on it, and it is a portable media center.
But more and more, I am getting bored with the execution. And this is not something that is the iPad alone, I have the same thing with my Android phone and while I was working with a Galaxy tablet. The concept of apps is flawed.
In the beginning, when there is a nice amount of content, and everything is new; things are ‘fresh’. When I just bought my iPod Touch, I loved to check what Apps were available, and buy them. With the iPad, I did the same thing, ditto on the Galaxy. And weekly I would check what was going on.
But then, there are so many apps, and actually, there is too much of the same thing. When I check the games they are more or less all the same. And more and more, they all offer free downloads, and then you have to pay while you are playing. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the apps are very professional and well produced productions, but there is a huge lack of creativity. And if it is there, it is hard to find these days.
Everyone has a environment-simulator with in-app expenses for things that are too hard to come by, and too necessary to finish the game. Or, while you are into the game, they tell you to pay more money, otherwise your playing experience is crap.
And then you have the ‘three-star’ puzzle games. Small puzzles that rate your level by time, execution and effectiveness, introduced first with Angry Birds.
I don’t mind paying for a game, or paying for content, but the way it happens is just dreadful. If a game would cost me $4,99 to start out with, or even $10,00, fine, but don’t start yapping that the game will cost me more to give me a better experience.
This is one of the things why I defend BioWare so much. And it is not only BioWare, studios like Bethesda Softworks, and in the past Sierra, LaucasArts, Origin… they asked for the $50 out of your pockets, but delivered a state-of-the-art experience. Bethesda, that last year released it absolutely beautiful Skyrim, gets you into environments that are so lifelike, and so huge, that you feel you are absolutely part of another world. I have been playing it now for 98 hours and I haven’t visited at least half of the province yet, and in the half that I did, I have finished about 25% of all the things that are there to do. It takes me so long because while trotting around, I actually notice myself ascending up a mountain to gawk at the scenery around me.
Then, visually maybe the slightly less impressive Mass Effect trilogy, that makes up for an immensely satisfying story-line that will stay with you even long after you have finished the games. Dragon Age that contains characters so well-defined that you honestly care for them, and get excited about if you see them return for a cameo in Dragon-Age 2.
And then I am behind my iPad, and am finding out why it is that I am not excited about gaming on the tablet anymore. It is boring. There hardly are any really good experiences that are new and creative. It becomes more and more my computer that I use when there is no computer around.
Which makes me wonder about its placement in the world of IT. To make a tablet really work out perfectly, you need a keyboard, which to me, immediately turns it into an equivalent of a laptop. But a laptop is more powerful.
I think personally, the tablet should become more like a computer. Not limit it to the use of apps, and not make the app-business some kind of money-pit to lure people into paying a lot for something that looks cheap. It more and more becomes to look like a ring-tone business: there is nothing new, but it will cost you money.
Is it wrong? No. I mean, this is my opinion, and doesn’t have to be yours. I love the tablet to surf, check my emails and use it for quickly conceptualize things with my clients. But real work I still do on my PC’s, and watching movies I still do on my television.
I really am having high hopes for Windows8 RT and Pro tablets. The reason why? The concept is differently. It is not a pure app-based system. It is a full-grown operating system now being ported and developed for the mobile platform too. And after a couple of iterations, I hope they have it right this time. Because, I am afraid that if Apple doesn’t seriously change their app-mentality (and there is little chance for that, since they now introduced it to their desktop OS) it feels more like a flea-market of productions than a professional convention.
I do want to point out that there are excellent apps out there, that make the tablet very useful. But I am surprised that the things that they advertise about, that is what becomes less compelling to me.