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April 9, 2010

2

Our iPad Review – because we’re joining the club

by shiftyjelly

It’s been a few days now since the legendary Anthony Aagius returned from the promised land with our iPad in hand. The decision to buy an iPad was really made for us months ago. There was a new Apple platform coming, we felt it was going to be huge, and we had to get on board. So what do we think of it after 3 days of fondling it? We’re going to go one better than David Pogue and present it from three perspectives!

As Developers:

There is a lot to like here: it’s the same Cocoa Touch framework, the same Xcode development environment, the same testing and distribution model. Sure there are new controls and paradigms to learn, but a lot of it is familiar. What Apple did with the UIPopoverController is nothing short of amazing, they allowed us to reuse a lot of the iPhone paradigms in a new way, without having to rework a lot of code.It also has 5x as many pixels as an iPhone, meaning we can do so much more now with our apps. After playing with the iPad for a few days, everything we do on the iPhone now feels cramped and limited, having all that extra space is amazing!

It’s not all roses though, the big thing that stands out for us is universal applications. I wasn’t involved in OS X development when Apple went with universal binaries for PowerPC and Intel but that seemed to go very smoothly. Apple made it sound like you just checked a box, and out came universal apps. Apple is saying the same thing of having an app that services both the iPad and iPhone, but we’re just not buying it. For starters unless you just want to upscale your UI you would need two completely different user interface code bases. Next you’d need all sorts of if else statements to cater for which particular view to launch when. Sure you may be able to re-use an underlying data layer but cramming all that universal code into one application strikes us as a maintenance nightmare. A lot of other developers we’ve spoke to seem to agree.

Sales wise it’s hard to tell where this platform will go. Our first application Pocket Weather World HD has been selling reasonably well considering the amount of iPads that have been sold to date, but it has a long way to go if we are ever to recover the development effort we put in. Only time will tell, but we really think this will be as big (if not bigger) than the iPhone.

As Apple Fanboys

The device truly is magical. We find ourselves arguing with people on forums who keep spouting “no flash, no camera, no multitasking”. Until you touch this device you just won’t get it. None of those things matter in the slightest. Flash is dead, a camera while nice presents some challenges (ala shooting straight up your nose) the thing does multitask (even more so when OS 4.0 comes out). We’ve started to think it really was washed in unicorn tears. Really. Truly. It’s fast, it’s super intuitive it feels right to hold, and the screen is amazing. It’s basically just a piece of glass that you touch, and magic comes out. It’s not a laptop, it’s not a giant iPod Touch so stop thinking of it like that, it’s a paradigm shift in mobile computing. Just like any religious fanatic will tell you of their belief, you won’t understand it until you experience it. You may think there’s no room for it in your life, perhaps you already have an iPhone and a Macbook. But once you touch this magical device, your wallet, home and life will make room for it.

As My Grandparents:

They really want it. They find the mouse annoying. They find using a computer in a seperate room uncomfortable. They are sick of plugging in a digital camera and not knowing how to copy photos from it. They have trouble reading the text on a computer screen. They understand how to tap things, and they don’t want to feel that sense of dread that every time they click something they might break the entire computer. Most of all I’m sick of going over every week and fixing their computer. Sure they use Windows XP, and would have less problems on OS X, but let’s face it, they’d still have problems. No matter how much the fanboy in me denies it OS X is every bit as hard for an older person to pick up as Windows is. Sure it behaves better, but that doesn’t make it intuitive.

So our conclusion? One word. Magical.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Christian
    Apr 9 2010

    Why is Flash dead?

    Just asking… is your world view of what Flash offers so narrow as to think it is purely a video delivery or a banner ad delivery system? Luckily we now have iAd to deliver all the annoying ads we always wanted direct to our ipads / iphones / ipod touches, without evil Flash being involved. Because ads will become magical and lovely by virtue of being made with HTML 5… of course.

    BTW nice review, though I find your rationalisation of ‘no camera’ unconvincing – it’s a missed opportunity, no matter how much you try to explain it away.

    With ipad I’ve finally worked out I’ll be waiting for v2, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be in the minority. I also hope there will be something better (for me) on the market by that time, but I doubt it.

  2. Apr 10 2010

    I admit I have a personal bias against Flash. I’m a web developer, and I hate the way it’s slow, non-web like and just not part of the web experience. Every time I go to a website restaurant and see flash, or all those ads, and even video, yes it drives me nuts! I run all my browsers with a flash blocker and prefer it that way.

    I never said I was a fan of iAds, I doubt we’ll use them in any of our apps. I see them just being used in places where people already use Admob or whoever.

    I meant that flash should die for all those things. I admit I’m a hypocrite, occasionally someone like SBS will do an amazing flash application for viewing all the world cup information in a unique way (like they did for the 2006 world cup).

    Point taken on the camera, I guess with the right stand it would be nice to video skype…maybe that was just the fanboy in me speaking 😉

    It’s like you say though, how many other companies can make this kind of tablet…so far none. Maybe Google and HTC can whip up some magic? I can’t see anyone else getting there.

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