The Apple iPad is still over a month away from release, but many companies that make iPhone apps are already looking into creating software for this tablet computer.
Although it will run the iPhone OS, the difference in screen size and resolution between this upcoming device and Apple's smartphone and handheld will bring challenges but also new opportunities for developers.
The iPad will require iPhone apps to be re-formatted. As Yuri Selukoff, president of Good.iWare, explains:
Existing apps will run on the iPad unmodified, but that will not be a very pleasant experience for the user. We developers are all going to have a huge amount of work to redesign all our apps for the iPad -- but I believe it will pay off in extra sales.
One of the reasons why developers would jump right into it, without waiting, is because it doesn't take too much effort to port apps from iPhone to iPad. Sure, many important design decisions are involved due to a much larger screen, but the programming platform is very similar.
Selukoff is far from alone in seeing the advantages in backward compatibility. Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData, said:
The good news for developers in the iPad announcement is compatibility with existing iPhone applications. The investment we have already made in our iPhone and iPod touch development can now be leveraged for a new category of Apple products. On top of that, there is an opportunity to enhance apps like SplashID and SplashNotes to make them really look great and offer more productivity on the new screen size.
Bigger Is Better
Dave Haupert, CEO of DDH Software, sees opportunities in this tablet computer's combination of large screen but easy portability. He said:
For our core product, HanDBase, we do plan on offering a native iPad version quickly after launch. The reason for this is that a database manager is something that benefits the platform more than perhaps other iPhone apps. Many of our customers are filling out forms or reviewing large quantities of data, and I predict that many would jump at the chance to have a large screen view of their data and forms. With many physicians using HanDBase at the patient bedside, a tablet with a nice large entry-form would be ideal.
As with all smartphones, the relatively small size of the iPhone's display has limited its usefulness for some tasks, like extensive word processing. The iPad, on the other hand, is a different story. Stan Miasnikov, president of PhatWare, said:
After reviewing all the info about the iPad and installing the new SDK (beta) I can say, if nothing else, Apple just created a perfect device for WritePad and PhatNotes. The bigger screen makes usage of handwriting recognition much easier with better results, and Apple also added CoreText technology to the SDK which will allow us to implement advanced word processor features.
PhatWare has already created an early version of WritePad for Apple's tablet (see image at right).
But the iPad won't be just about work. comiXology's CEO pointed out:
At $499, the iPad is a mass-market device, so we're already deep into the SDK and working on Comics by comiXology 2.0. This will be a big move forward for the digital comics market, as full-page or even two-page spreads become a reality. We've already been planning for a larger screen, so we'll be there as soon as humanly possible!
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