Friday, April 06, 2012

iPad Rationalization

I swear, it wasn't my fault! I was simply helping to configure an iPad 2 bought for my mother-in-law. I never expected to fall in love (who am I kidding - of course I did). For the few decades that the iPad has been available (allegedly only two years), I've thought about getting one, but I managed to convince myself that it was really just an overgrown iPod Touch, which I have been using for centuries (since fall 2008). Pretty much runs all the same apps, right? Besides, I travel a lot, and the iPod Touch is so handily pocket-sized, while the iPad is nearly laptop size, right? Another thing to lug around and keep charged. Who needs it!

Well after I spent a week or so setting up that iPad 2, I could feel my anti-iPad rationalizations cracking under the strain of a nearly life-size HUD on my simulated space shuttle and the large instrument and control interfaces in GarageBand (yes, I was testing out a few apps my mother-in-law wouldn't need). I tried out a few magazines like WIRED, Newsweek, National Geographic, and Discover Magazine, and they were definitely much more enjoyable than on the pathetically tiny screen of the iPod Touch.  Mainstream apps like web browsing, email, YouTube, and the like are easier to use too. FaceTime and Skype are wonderful on a face-size screen. My willpower was crumbling...

Apple delivered the final blow with the "new iPad" ("3G") announcement - super-high-res screen, faster graphics processors, and a better camera for the same price points as the iPad 2 (though they did drop the price of some iPad 2 models). I was sold. So I gave in and ordered one (wifi only) - telling my wife that this would be a family iPad, not my iPad. I can share (sometimes). I promised I would still use the iPod Touch for travel. And so far I have not taken the iPad on a trip (so far haven't taken a trip...).

The new iPad is really great. Many apps have already issued updates to take advantage of the 2048x1536 retina display, including F-SIM Shuttle (above). Gorgeous rendering of my still less-than-perfect landings. Music creation apps are wonderful on the larger screen. Apple's free movie trailer app was upgraded and the HD previews are amazing. One surprising fave is the NPR Music app (also free). With more room for interface controls and graphics, and plenty of video, it makes it a pleasure to explore new music. I really appreciate that many of the apps I had bought for the iPod Touch are "universal" apps that also work great on the iPad. I've only bought a couple of "HD" apps specialized for the iPad.

Who knew that apple flavored kool-aid could be so tasty?

1 comment:

Craig said...

I'm going thru the process of rationalizing an ultrathin (Intel knockoff of Mac Air). My problem with this is, when I calculate the amortization ($1000 laptop that has a useful life of 5 years tops), it makes me realize how companies like Apple have managed to make consumer electronics a consumable rather than a durable. Something in me balks at putting $200/year on electronic gear in my family budget.