Do you like the iPad? That’s one of those questions I’ve been asking myself ever since Steve jumped up on stage and announced the thing a week ago yesterday. Sure, we could just fob the thing off as a big iPod touch, like (might I add) most of the world seems to be doing right now. Or, we could in-fact embrace it and think about what this means for the App Store and it’s customers heading into the future. You see, the one aspect which is clever about both the iPad, and comparatively, the iPhone, is that they both don’t rely on hardware upgrades. So, what do I actually mean by that? Well, both these devices are centered around one thing – great software. So, while the critics are complaining about the lack of multi-tasking, people are forgetting that due to the nature of the product, Apple can add any software-based feature it likes, at any time. This is exciting.
You may be reading this now as a skeptic, thinking that I’m just another one of those Apple fan boys who drinks Steve Jobs’ cool aid – and you could be right. But, lets stop for a minute and think about what Apple has done here. Here is a device that Apple is marketing to replace the generic netbook. It browses the web, allows you to read e-mail, can be used to view photos, watch movies, listen to music, buy music, buy apps, view maps and carry around contacts, the odd note and scheduled calendar appointments – but, it’s bigger than that. You won’t believe it yet, but I think Apple is positioning this device to become the “intimate” Mac. See, Apple went to the trouble of re-designing iWork for the iPad. You might say this was so the iPad appealed to the business sector, but this move alone will see households pick up the iPad in their droves too. Why? Because iWork is signature to the Mac, and making a personalized and portable Mac system = big WIN with the public.
Now that the iWork suite of apps have made the jump, I fully expect iLife to do the same. Can you imagine a multi-touch version of Garageband on the iPad? But, it doesn’t just stop at Apple software. As we well know, Apple has an army of you guys, it’s developers, just waiting to make the iPad a goldmine. So, what can we expect from app development? Well from here on out due the iPad’s new screen size we’re going to see visuals become absolute king. Developing for the iPad, developers will soon release that their app(s) will sell, as long as they have a stonking killer UI. The next big development change? Panes and Columns. Unlike the iPhone, developers now have a canvas of epic proportion to work on. Here, I think we’ll see these applications gradually develop a two column view, like the demoed Contacts.app, especially I think for things like in-app “Settings”. Obviously due to the built-in accelerometer we’ll see tilt based titles. Sheer screen real-estate will see these tilt-based games feature visual aspects we’ve not yet seen implemented on the iPhone or iPod touch yet. Just to throw this in here, if the current iSight rumors prove true, and iPad does ship with one, we could see a whole new world of augmented reality based apps.
The last way though I think we’ll see the Apple iPad shake up the future of this app-centric landscape is regarding application price. While Apple announced the multi-touch version of iWork will retail for $9.99 per app, which is regarded by many as the current App Store ‘Premium’ price point, I definitely think we’ll see developers adding a few more dollars onto their app’s iPad counterparts.