The Stochastic Game

Ramblings of General Geekery

Posts tagged with ipad

The iPad Turned 10

The iPad turned 10 a bit more than a week ago and I was somewhat shocked, although pleasantly surprised, to see the Apple blogosphere express their disillusion about ipadOS, led mostly by John Gruber’s piece:

The iPad at 10 is, to me, a grave disappointment. Not because it’s “bad”, because it’s not bad — it’s great even — but because great though it is in so many ways, overall it has fallen so far short of the grand potential it showed on day one.

That’s always been how I felt about Apple’s tablet, and tablets in general. The iPad Pro is an awesome piece of hardware – I carry mine around all the time and use it every day. But I use it only for a subset of the things I wish I could do on it.

The most maddening thing about its software is the sandboxing, and how you just don’t have access to the damn file-system. It’s gotten marginally less worse with the recent Files app, but it’s still vastly unusable.

The sad thing is that, as a result, even if you consider the iPad as a consumption device (something that “post-PC era” afficionados were always quick to “disprove”), it’s not even a good consumption device. It’s only good at consuming online media, like news and YouTube videos and Netflix series and such. If you buy, own, and store your own media, like buying music on Bandcamp, PDFs on DriveThruRPG, or comicbooks from (not so) indie publishers, the experience is worse in almost every way compared to the experience on your Mac or PC, because you have to go through uselessly complicated lengths to be able to get the files on your iPad before you can even consume them. Often, these PDF or comicbook reader apps have to implement their own (generally poorly made) network copy feature to be able to get your files.

My theory has long been that Dropbox would have never been so popular if it wasn’t for the iPad: during the early 2010s, Dropbox was pretty much the only way to get files in and out of your tablet, and many apps, from text editing to drawing, integrated Dropbox to that effect. Apple must have been kicking themselves that they couldn’t get iCloud to be used for that instead.

My new, more dire theory is that the iPad contributed to the soloification of the internet and the erosion of ownership. When consuming “rented” media from a handful of companies, like Spotify music and Comixology comics, is vastly easier to consuming owned media, like those bought directly from various content creators, the distributed nature of the internet dies a little.

So yes, I agree with John. The iPad is an awesome device. But it’s also a big disappointment.

ComiXology Scandal

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t have missed the news that ComiXology released a new version of their mobile app that drastically changes how comics are purchased. It was reported on technology, gadget, Apple-related, and of course comicbook-related websites. It was even discussed heavily on RPG forums.

A summary of the situation is that:

  • The iPad/iPhone app doesn’t have in-app purchases anymore – you’re forced to buy directly from the web by switching to Safari.
  • The Android app still has in-app purchases, but as I understand it they don’t go through Google Play anymore and, instead, directly hit ComiXology’s servers.

Of course, the internet being what it is, a lot of people are pissed off and are voicing their rage on social networks. I’m not happy with the change either but I’m going to try and articulate my more moderate opinion in a few points here.


The Problem with iOS

These past few months I’ve seen a fair number of articles about people who switched from iOS to Android. Most of those articles talk about the differences between the 2 operating systems, and how some of those differences proved to be significant enough for whoever was switching: multitasking, notifications, the so-called “_open vs. closed_”, etc. That’s fine, but these specific bullet point list vs. bullet point list comparisons seem to be missing the higher level view of what’s really going on: iOS is just not working the way it should anymore.


The post-PC era

You can see this kind of headline all over the web these days, especially with Apple fanboy tech bloggers: the PC is dead, all hail tablets and smartphones. The argument is also made for video games consoles, who are supposedly on the way out to be replaced by, guess what, tablets and smartphones. Even Jeff Atwood is getting on the bandwagon.

I don’t disagree with the facts here: most indicators we have on the market right now show that, indeed, desktop and laptop computers have declining sales while mobile products have an ever-accelerating growth.


Some tech bloggers, however, are a bit too quick to equate opposing trends with replacement – in reality, people still own PCs and Macs, but complement them with mobile devices. As far as I know, there’s no evidence that anybody is actually getting rid of their laptops and desktop computers after buying an iPad… yet.


The Journey To Digital Comics: Manga Apps

In the previous step in the journey to digital comics we looked at american comics – my main source of graphical entertainment. This time, we’ll look at mangas and its derivatives (manhwa, etc.), which used to be my close second until I became too old to read about high-school girls, alien high-school girls, demon alien high-school girls, and miniature gender-swapping demon alien hunter high-school girls. But then I figured, fuck it, I’ll just look like a creepy old guy in the bus. No worries.