Previously we’ve spent time discussing the potential for the use of the iPad as a GM’s tool, the applications, accessories, and potential workflow. Now, bringing it all together, we’re happy to demonstrate the iPad in action and give you a glimpse of what’s possible.

It’s important to also keep in mind that as of this writing, the iPad has only been out for six days. Not to provide excuses for the fledgling device—which has already sold some 450,000 units—but as an indicator that as the platform matures there will most certainly be new uses and applications to enhance functionality. Just this week Apple announced the preview of iPhone OS 4 which will find its way to the iPad, bringing multitasking, a slew of new APIs for developers to leverage, and a gaming-centric social network.


In my usage this past week I’ve found the iPad to be, in some ways, a solution looking for a problem. No, the device doesn’t fill any one gap that existed in my life, but it does bring a great deal of convenience. The rub being, is the cost of admission worthy of this convenience? For most, possibly not. Having been a part of the iPhone “revolution” from the beginning, I’m confident that we’ll see a similar ecosystem arise from the iPad. Disruptive technology is like that.

The great things that I like about the device are its speed, display, and battery life. The speed in particular is very nice. Having come from the two previous iterations of the iPhone (prior to the 3GS), I was hesitant to believe that Apple could deliver on their promises without killing battery life. But they did, with a custom CPU chipset and marrying it with a large battery (the bulk of the iPad is all battery). I haven’t gotten less than 10 hours out of the unit. This isn’t standby time, this is continous use. Standby time would likely be measured in a week or so.

The IPS display is crisp and vibrant, and the touchscreen best in class in this type of device. Not much to be said here. That it can play all of my Blu-ray rips at 720p is no small feat. Thankfully I don’t have to re-encode my entire digital library!

iTunes is increasingly becoming poorly named. The iPad takes a long time to handshake and sync, causing iTunes to come to a standstill on my 8-core Mac Pro. In fact, iTunes feels like the weak link. Sideloading content on the iPad is not intutive at all, very un-Apple like. It’s slow and it’s frustrating, and it’s hidden. Getting content to and from the iPad is harder than it needs to be.

Lack of printing is a WTF? moment but like the ads say, “there’s an app for that” (or soon will be). Perhaps even addressed in iPhone OS 4.

But sitting down and having the iPad on your lap and using it, the device just melts away. It’s a bit like “Minority Report” in that after a few moments you’re directly using the Internet; the device disappears. The iPad is instantly on and never gets warm during use. It’s amazingly fast and, thus far, hasn’t crashed. (I have had GoodReader lock up on me, however.)

It won’t revolutionize the way you run your games, but it may cause you to think differently about how you run them, and that’s a good thing.

The Videos

We have three to share with you from Gnome Stew Videos. The first covers a basic introduction, the iBooks app and PDF viewing. The second tackles two of Apple’s big applications, Pages (word processor) and Keynote (presentation). Our final installment takes an in depth look at Safari on the iPad and navigating the Internet.


A GM’s Video Guide to the iPad in RPGs, Part 1

A GM’s Video Guide to the iPad in RPGs, Part 2

A GM’s Video Guide to the iPad in RPGs, Part 3

Next up, gnome porn? Don’t tease us.