I picked up an iPad a couple of weeks ago but have been really underwhelmed. Unless something big happens in the next two days, I’ll be returning it.

I had thought to maybe make use of it at the game table, but we haven’t played anything and I didn’t even try that out. I do think I’ll miss the nice large color display for looking at rules and stuff, but I don’t think I’d get anywhere near enough use out of the thing to justify keeping it.

Everyone I know that owns an iPad thinks it’s the Best Thing Ever. I do not agree in any way whatsoever.

17 Comments to “iPad Going Back”

  1. Kristian says:

    Tablets seem to be the type of thing you either love or loathe. I’ve yet to find a compelling excuse to buy one, though my Kindle is enough of a pain reading PDFs I get sorely tempted at times. The DM of a game I’m playing in loves his turn tracker, but what it offers over the dry erase board he was using before eludes me.

    • Kilgore says:

      Regular-sized eReaders are too small for most gaming PDFs, for sure. The Kindle DX might be nice, but it’s way overpriced for what it is.

  2. Tim says:

    Well if you can’t figure out how to operate an iPad, you must be stupid. Its the easiest thing in the world to work. Even my 4 year old son can operate it and my 98 year old grandmother can even use it, she plays poker on an app we found. Its good for gaming for DMs and players. Returning it, because “nothing big happened” for you, is purely stupid. I’d love to be at the store you are returning it to, and tell them the reason you are returning it. The looks of stupid towards you will be funnnyyyy!

    • Kilgore says:

      Who said anything about not figuring it out? I figured out that it’s just an overpriced toy.

      I expected a lot more from it.

      • Eisenmann says:

        I use mine to do serious writing, brainstorming, artwork (painting/vector), reading of all sorts, run games, do die rolling from time to time, and run custom apps that I write for it. Little stuff. 😉

        • Kilgore says:

          Serious writing seems impossible to me on the iPad, at least without a real keyboard. Far better (10 times better? 100?) even on the cheap netbook I have. Any writing in excess of a Facebook update is better on a real keyboard. I’ve had a couple of people tell me that it’s good for writing…I don’t agree in any way whatsoever.

          I’m not an artist, so that won’t sway me. I can see how it would be quite useful for that, though.

          Reading color books would be good. Reading letter-size PDFs would be good. Reading normal prose like novels, stories, and articles is far better on an actual eReader (I use a Kindle).

          There is nothing that the iPad does for me that it does better than the $300 netbook with ten times the storage, far better expandibility, and much more power. Even watching Netflix movies (which is sort of cool) is better on the netbook because of the bigger screen.

          As far as brainstorming, running games, die rolling, and custom apps, I don’t know exactly what you mean and/or how any of those would be better on an iPad vs. netbook/laptop/desktop.

          Again, I everyone I know that has one loves it. (Well, except for one other guy.) I just don’t see any real benefit. The menu is nice…it just doesn’t have anything on it that I want to use.

          • Eisenmann says:

            I don’t have any problem that you don’t like it. Personally, I’m not keen on netbooks. The tablet fits what I do better.

            Writing on the virtual keyboard isn’t a problem for me. I’ve written complete chapters for my own game on it no problem. As far as capacity goes it’s moot when using services like DropBox.

            I use Daedalus Touch for writing on the iPad. It syncs with DropBox. Since I write everything in Multimarkdown format I’m able to sync up on my Mac and convert that straight to a distributable ePub using some scripts that I wrote. Can I do that on a Netbook? Sure. I’ve just found that I can be very productive in my use case/workflow. To be honest, I’m surprised how idle my notebook has become after getting an iPad. I really didn’t expect it.

            For mind mapping/brainstorming I use Idea Sketch. It’s really outstanding and well done. It’s actually my favorite app for mind mapping, drawing concept maps, and so on. Not only does it have good features but I find that my mind is freed up a bit when I’m not using a keyboard/mouse to arrange the bits.

            As far as running games goes, I’ve got the multi-touch gestures down pat enough to make using the books faster than with traditional input devices.

            I like e-ink devices too but prefer the added flexibility that the iPad gives me. I’m also looking down the road at books where app functionality is embedded into books. It’s coming. I’m a mobile dev working on that stuff virtually as we speak.

          • Kilgore says:

            I’ve got no doubt that I’d get better at typing on the virtual keyboard if I kept it and tried to work at it. I’m not really motivated to do that, as I don’t like the feel (or lack thereof) of it. Right now I can barely stand to type up a Facebook status with it.

            I write 1200-1500 words an hour and don’t think I’d get anywhere close to that no matter how much I tried, though.

            One reason I held off on the iPad was because I was afraid that it would relegate the netbook to the shelf. One reason I’m returning the iPad is because I’ve discovered that the netbook is a far superior secondary computer for my needs than a tablet is.

  3. Evyn MacDude says:

    I have to agree if it doesn’t work for your work flow it is pretty useless.

    For all the bali-ho-ed how it can transform the tabletop Gaming experience I have yet to see it. I kinda expected a little more and better RPG support apps than I have found for it, if it was going to be such a killer addition to the toolkit.

    It really needs a stylus to be truly useful.

    • Kilgore says:

      I did pick up a stylus and used it sometimes.

      • Evyn MacDude says:

        I should have quantified the stylus remark, it was late…

        I found that Numbers, Pages and some drawing programs were much easier to use with one. Which upped the utility of the iPad for me. But the lack of software for RPGs is the real drawback of it.

        If I replace it I will seriously be looking at Android tablets just for the ability to use Java based Apps.

        If a decent simple Tile based Hex mapper were available would be grand from the knoodling around with campaign management point of view.

  4. Tedankhamen says:

    This quote,

    “Well if you can’t figure out how to operate an iPad, you must be stupid… I’d love to be at the store you are returning it to, and tell them the reason you are returning it. The looks of stupid towards you will be funnnyyyy!”

    once again proves that internet anonymity brings out the arsehole in people. He obviously didn’t read that you used it, but were underwhelmed. And taking joy in another’s misfortune is just plain being a dick.

    Anyway, I am the only prof at my uni who doesn’t have one. I’ve tried them and, well, I agree they’re underwhelming. All I see is most people playing more games or doing things in class they should wait until they’re at their home PC to do. 1 in 10 are really getting the most out of it and improving their output. Which means it is not the ‘game changer’ it was touted to be. If you are fine with what you have now, don’t fix what ain’t broken.

    That being said, I am getting one for my birthday, however. Wave of the future and a good thing to know, and all that. Will it improve my game? Hopefully, but if it doesn’t it’ll just be another tool I can use.

    Unlike the nasty commenter above. That is definitely one tool I have no use for.

  5. ShadowAcid says:

    I agree that it’s a tool that you either have a need for, or don’t. My wife uses hers all the time, but for her it’s a useful replacement for her laptop while traveling and recording the live singing that she does with others. Often times in places where a laptop would be way too inconvenient, or out of place.

    I love the iPad, but will probably never get one. My GMing style wouldn’t benefit from it and there isn’t anything for me to do on it that I don’t already do on my iPod touch.

  6. Richman says:

    I can relate. I just returned my Kindle DX after playing around with it for 2-3 days. Too heavy for extended holding. Screen larger than standard kindle but still too small to view gaming PDFs without zooming/enlarging text. Enlarging text/zooming results in readable font size (I’m mid 40s my eyes are going…ahhhh! ;)) but then requires 4 clicks to see every page (page is displayed in quadrants). I ended up feeling that for $200 new at Staples(which is even discounted from Amazon), it just wasn’t worth it when I rather read my printed out paper-copy spiral bound customized copy of Labyrinth Lord.

    • Kilgore says:

      >>> “Screen larger than standard kindle but still too small to view gaming PDFs without zooming/enlarging text”

      That’s sort of what I figured.

  7. Jefu says:

    Coming from a position of having no more than some hands on experience of one, for the price I could never justify owning one. Excluding artists, to whom I concur the iPad can be a very powerful portable device, everything else offered is eclipsed (for me atleast) by a smartphone and a laptop or netbook which offer a much larger comparative scope of utility. I’ve posed myself the question many times in the past as iPads have grown in popularity, yet personally I do not see how an iPad can offer more to my technological mix than what I already have available; it certainly can not replace a laptop or smart phone so until something magic happens with it, I’m staying on the fence.

  8. Todd says:

    I find the tablet has two things to bring to the game table, portable rule books and portable browsing. You can do both these things on a netbook but I prefer reading pdfs and ebooks on a tablet because they are easier to handle. I like using the hundreds of PDFs and making bookmarks and annotations rather than dragging around reams of modules and sourcebooks. I make electronic maps and use the tablet to mark them up with notes instead of printing them out. Really dropbox and goodreader are what I use the most at the table, you can do a heck of a lot with those two apps..

    I use an ipad but I could do this with a android or an apple so I won’t comment on any particular benefits between them, I do know I never use a laptop like this I go from desktop (creating maps, writing) to tablet (consuming those) – I can’t stand laptops really and tiny ones are especially bad.

    A really good character sheet storage app would be nice to find – too many of them only focus on 3.5 or 4e. That would be the third thing they could do well for me.

    I also read a lot of comics and stream tv on it – but that’s not game related.