Monday, October 25, 2010

Movies, Books & Battery Life

Today's blog post covers three iPad-related areas: Movie rentals, ebooks and battery life.  On the movie front, my beef here has to do with the rental model.  I don't ever see myself buying a movie from iTunes.  I'm strictly a rental person.  If I like a movie well enough I'll probably buy the DVD, not the iTunes version.  Why?  I'm worried about platform lock-in.  More on this in a moment.

When I rent a movie via iTunes I have 30 days to watch it and I have to finish it within 24 hours of when I start it.  I sometimes rent 2 or 3 movies when I have a stretch of back-to-back trips, just to make sure I've got something to watch on the road, in the airport (e.g., redeye's, delays, etc.) or during a long flight.  After all, downloading a movie isn't something you can do very easily on the fly and certainly not via wifi.  I don't have a problem with watching it within a 24-hour period from start to finish, but the 30-day limit is silly.  Why should I have to watch it within a month?  I've had one expire on me, only because I couldn't find the time to watch it in that 30-day period.  That leaves a bad taste in my mouth and will cause me to avoid future rentals.  Is that really the model Apple is trying to create?  If they can't turn 30 days into, say, 6 months, a better option would be to extend the rental period, just like my local library.  Even if I had to pay 99 more cents to get an additional 30 days it would be a better option that the current model.

Next up, ebooks.  As a Kindle owner I couldn't wait to start buying books on my iPad.  I figured I'd leave Amazon's platform behind and focus only on the iBookstore.  How wrong I was.  I've only bought one book in the iBookstore; all my other ebook purchases on the iPad were made for the Kindle app.  Why?  Again, it comes down to platform lock-in.  I figure there's about a zero percent chance Apple will ever offer e-reader apps for non-Apple platforms (like Amazon has done).  I'm looking forward to Google Editions getting off the ground one of these days as that's probably the only other place I'll go to buy ebooks for the time being.

Finally, battery life.  Maybe it's just my imagination but I'm not able to go as long between charges as I could the first few months of iPad use.  I'd often go several days without a recharge but now I find I can rarely go more than one or two days in between.  I don't think it's the mix of apps I'm using now but I do find it interesting that the battery meter drops faster when I'm reading a book than when watching a movie.  Either way though, I'm finding the battery life isn't as good now as it was 6 months ago.

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