Friday, January 29

Thoughts on the iPad

So the internet and twitter is going a bit mad about the iPad, mostly positive and rightly so, it's an impressive device. However there's also plenty of negativity too. It seems it hasn't sparked people's imagination like many Apple announcements.

Here's my thoughts on the device.

The screen is a great size, a high resolution and generally the device looks really impressive. I'm a little worried about how it's going to look in bright light, one of the problems with the iPhone. Also the aspect ratio is a step back from wide screen devices. I'm not a fan of on-screen keyboards compared to tactile one's, although it's not a major issue for me. The fact that it takes up half the screen is an issue, especially when it comes to writing full documents. Also I don't like the docking keyboard that forces a portrait orientation. Lack of camera is also a big omission, a front facing camera would have some great possibilities.

Usability looks great as usual for an Apple product but the lack of Flash is a MAJOR problem. I can't see how Apple can repeatedly state it's the "best browsing experience" with this really major addition. Big flaw and something that will have to change for the device to become a real success. Why Apple don't open up the Safari to plugins I don't know, that way users can decide to install Flash, which I'm sure they will. I'm not sure how they will make such a big splash in the market without Flash.

There's lots of potential for interesting mash-up Apps between the iPad and the iPhone, I've already got some interesting ideas in this space, so look out for them soon.

It'll make a great device for the project we're working on bringing See Fish's amazing photo browsing application to the iPhone. On the iPad it'll be even more impressive than Apple's current photo solution. I also can't wait to see Graphicly on the iPad, it's going to be something special.

I'll be getting one of these, mainly to develop on. I'll see once I use it whether it becomes a must-have item. My gut feeling is it won't. It'll look great whopping it out in a meeting to whoo a client with a flashy interactive presentation (although without Flash of course) It'll also be useful for short trips on the train when I don't need to do any proper work.

A major issue for the WiFi model in the UK is the lack of open WiFi hotspots. I currently carry around a Touch, which when I was in the US was a great device. However its usefulness in the UK is hugely effected by the lack of WiFi. WiFi on the train, forget it, it's not reliable and really slow. With the 3G versions being about £100 more expensive, along with additional monthly connection fees, this will quickly become too much on top of existing mobile contracts.

Apps are obviously going to be really important, but I can't see them being as prolific as on the iPhone. The larger screen is going to mean a longer design and development process to really make use of it. So this will lead to higher prices and therefore mean the average person simply won't by as many. I think people will have a much smaller core group of Apps they use, without multitasking of course rather than downloading tons as is common on the iPhone. It'll be interesting to see how many developers create HD versions of their current games and Apps rather than just leaving them as is. One thing I think will quickly become apparent is the higher resolution apps designed for the device will look spectacular compared to the iPhone versions, however I'm not sure the iPad is powerful enough to really exploit this higher resolution. I'm not sure it will sell at the same rate as the iPhone and therefore the proliferation could make it a non starter for Apps designed specifically for that device.

One thing's for sure Fluid Pixel are looking forward to developing on this device and you'll see some really cool stuff soon.