The wait finally is over. At last, the Apple tablet everyone’s been talking about has been officially revealed. Is the iPad for work? Is it for play? Yes and yes. But is there anything to be truly excited about in terms of gaming? Maybe. Our inner cynic is telling us that the iPad is just an over-priced piece of hardware designed to prey on the masses of Apple-loving sheeple. Then again, this is the same cynic that told us that the Wii would be a total failure and that Guitar Hero was just Dance Dance Revolution with a different controller. Of course, the iPad won’t be replacing handheld gaming devices, consoles, or PCs for hardcore gaming anytime soon - but if you think Apple’s latest piece of hardware has nothing to offer the average gamer, think again.
It will launch with a huge game library
Two months from now, the iPad will be shipping with a gigantic library of games thanks to all the titles already available on the App Store – and we’re not talking the kind of casual stuff that got your mom to give the Wii a chance. Check out our features on the 20 best iPhone games of 2009
and 33 iPhone games for REAL gamers
for quality titles that will look great on the iPad’s sexy, 9.7-inch display when it launches.
Above: Shooters like Blue Attack! prove that iPad games can deliver a hardcore experience
While we’re on the topic of the iPad’s display, let’s take a closer look at how the product’s size comes into play. Weighing in at just 1.5 pounds with a slim 0.5-inch thickness, the iPad is much more compact and lighter than your average laptop. But it’s also larger than the iPhone, iPod Touch, PSP, PSP Go, DS, and DSi.
Since no one we know owns a pair of pants big enough to fit an iPad in their pocket, we don’t see it competing with other handheld gaming devices in terms of portability. We also can’t see it replacing the consoles in your living room. However, the iPad’s mid-ranged size and sharp 1024x768 resolution makes it a strong contender for filling the gaming gaps in locations left untouched by other systems, making it ideal for killing time at cafes, airport terminals, or even your bathroom. Late night web browsing while curled up on the couch and nighttime gaming marathons in bed also sound dangerously comfy.
Above: Although the iPad won’t fit in your pocket, its mid-ranged size and light weight may make it ideal for killing time in other locations
“It’s a little bit like holding a high definition television just inches from your face,” explained Electronic Arts’ Travis Boatman while a build of Need for Speed: Shift ran in the background. The iPad’s extra screen real estate should address gripes we’ve had with many otherwise great iPhone/iPod Touch titles that just felt a little too cramped on a smaller screen. With so much more screen space, don’t expect your sausage thumbs to block your view of the action anymore. Instead, expect developers to take advantage of that extra screen space, improving both controls and the visual quality in upcoming iPad-specific titles.
Above: Need for Speed: Shift on the iPad