In part 4 I discussed how I’ve been using the iPad to keep up with my social network. Today, I’ll talk about how the iPad has served my need to be entertained.
The truth is, I’m pretty simple when it comes to entertainment. Between my day job, and my writing, and my family, I don’t have much time to spare on playing games or watching videos. But that is not to say that it doesn’t sneak in now and then. In the time that I have had the iPad, I’ve done a few things on it that can be considered entertainment:
- Watched videos
- Listened to music
- Played a game or two
I have also made use of the iPad’s multimedia capabilities by taking pictures and video. Let me touch on each of these briefly.
One of the first things that I did when I got the iPad was to purchase a short cartoon video for my little boy. He likes the Cars movies and so I picked up the Mater short videos, which he used to be able to watch constantly. I got the HD version and the quality is pretty impressive on the iPad screen. But beyond that I haven’t downloaded more videos, or even copied any of my existing videos from my iTunes library onto the iPad.
Instead, I have been using HBOGO quite a bit. For those who don’t know HBOGO is a new service provided by HBO to subscribers. Once you download the app, you can watch just about any content that appears on HBO in streaming form. This is not watching HBO live. Instead, you have access to all seasons and episodes of HBO series, most of the movies that they show, and their documentaries and special. It is much more like “On Demand”. The first thing I watched on HBOGO was a special sneak preview of episode 7 of Game of Thrones. I was impressed by the quality, which to me looked pretty close to HD. The quality, of course, varies with the speed of your network connection, but HBOGO does a pretty good job of adjusting in real-time. (On weak connections, it will occasionally slip into a “audio-only” stream, which can be annoying.) If you stop watching a video, HBOGO remembers where you left off so that you don’t have to start over from the beginning. Overall, I’ve been very impressed by it.
Listening to music
Despite having a rather large library of music in iTunes, I haven’t yet moved any over to the iPad. Instead, I installed the SiriusXM app on my iPad and I listen to satellite radio there. (I also have this app on my iPhone.) As a subscriber, I can get all of the stations that I subscribe to in the car online as well. I typically listen to only one station, 80s on 8, but it works great on the iPhone and just as well on the iPad. In fact, the iPad has one major advantage over my iPhone 3G: multitasking. On my iPhone, if I am listening to SiriusXM and then go to check my email, the app shuts down and the music stops because my now ancient iPhone cannot multitask.
Not so the iPad. I can put on the music, switch to SimpleNote and start making notes on the story on which I am working, or editing a scene. (I can listen to music while I make notes or edit fiction, but not when I am writing new stuff.) Or I can put on the music and switch to the Kindle App and read. Or switch to Reeder and catch up on my RSS feed. And the quality of the streaming music is plenty good for my ears, which admittedly are not very discriminating.
I am not a gamer. I don’t have time for it, and I pretty much burned myself out on them in high school. But I couldn’t resist picking up one game for the iPad just to look and see how well it performed. The game that I got was the most recent Need For Speed racing game. I’ve got to say that I am impressed. The quality of the graphics, the sound, the ability to control the game in a realistic fashion, and all on a tiny device that I can take with me virtually anywhere is pretty darn cool. But I wore out on the game after about 30 minutes of playing. The truth is that despite the flashy graphics and amazing performance, I don’t have the time or the interest to play games at this point.
And while I don’t play a whole lot of games on the iPad, I’ve found a surprising use for its entertainment capabilities–one that has already come in handy on a few occasions: letting my little boy play games on it. I’ve picked up a couple of games for young kids, as well as a few interactive book “apps” and he seems to really enjoy them. If I need 20 minutes to get something done and am at my wits end for keeping the Little Man entertained, I can put on a Thomas the Train interactive book and let him play with it for a while and he is perfectly content.
So that has been my experience thus far with the iPad. I suspect as the weeks progress, I will be doing more and more on the iPad and less and less on the laptop. But until there comes a time when Scrivener is available in a iPad edition (not any time soon), I suspect the bulk of my fiction writing will continue on the MacBook.
So how are you using your iPad?