To the surprise of absolutely no one, Apple released its long-awaited tablet device last week--dubbed the iPad, the 9.7-inch touchscreen unit promises a user experience optimized for the web, messaging, multimedia, games and ebooks. Shipping with 12 new apps designed especially for the device, the iPad also will run almost all of the App Store's 140,000-plus iPhone and iPod touch applications--in addition, Apple issued the new iPhone 3.2 SDK beta, promising developers the tools to create new applications that fully exploit the iPad's capabilities. The SDK includes a simulator enabling developers to format their user interface for the larger screen size, test an app's memory usage and abbreviate the debug cycle in the design process. Other elements of the SDK include an iPad programming guide, user experience guidelines and tools for creating universal applications that run across iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices.
Even prior to the iPad's official launch, developers across multiple platforms expressed overwhelming interest in creating applications for the product according to a study conducted by software solutions provider Appcelerator. Ninety percent of Appcelerator's developer partners indicate they are "very interested" in building an iPad app within the year, with balanced representation from iPhone and Android developers on the mobile side and PC, Mac and Linux developers on the desktop side. Developers say they are most likely to create business and productivity apps for the tablet, followed in descending order by entertainment, social networking, education and games--by contrast, games is the leading category in Apple's App Store, followed by entertainment, books, education and travel. "Some respondents wrote that with a rumored built-in camera, the Apple Tablet could spur new growth in video conferencing and video social networking," Appcelerator notes. "Many developers see the classroom as a huge opportunity, while the larger screen interested others in business scenarios, especially in the areas of finance and medical applications."
Before official iPad specs were announced, 77 percent of developers said they are very interested in the device's database/storage features--75 percent indicated strong interest in multi-touch gestures and another 75 percent pointed to its native user interface, followed by multitasking (72 percent) and wireless networking (70 percent). "With multitasking and wireless networking will come an explosion in messaging apps that break free of the iPhone's prior limitations of a single application only being able to run in the foreground," Appcelerator contends. "Multi-touch gestures and a new native Tablet interface will give rise to new ways to share and interact with media or learning applications. Expect immediate and massive experimentation with these new capabilities to create more engaging, tactile, and connected experiences that sit between the extended use case of desktop/laptop applications and the immediate gratification use case of mobile."
For more on the iPhone SDK 3.2 beta:
- read this release
How expectations and rumors crushed the iPad
Apple accelerates the App Store approval process