Wednesday, March 31, 2010

iPad Applications

With the iPad about to launch I've been doing some thinking about the sorts of apps we'll see on the device. I think iPad-specific apps will be a completely different beast than iPhone apps. The iPhone has pretty limited screen real-estate (320x480 or transpose if rotated) and while the iPad is "only" 1024x768, it comparatively allows a significantly larger amount of stuff to be slapped onto the screen. A lot of iPhone apps are made by single people without a designer behind them. The bad bunch of these (and there's a lot of them) have either extremely basic or straight-up-shitty UI design.

With all the extra space on the iPad screen, I think the quality of apps will have to go up. With iPhone you can make a minimal or relatively shitty UI because there just isn't that much of it on the screen at any given time. Most of the iPhone screen is dedicated to showing content, so if the UI sucks it doesn't always detract from the overall experience too badly. That just won't be the case with the iPad. Poorly laid out components, tons of whitespace, crappy art assets, etc. - all these things will stand out even more on the iPad.

There are tons - TONS - of simple news aggregators on the App Store. 20 apps that could have been combined into 1 (like sports apps which follow University X basketball, baseball, football, etc. 1 app for each sport) which have almost no UI at all. It works because they show whatever data and it fits and looks nice. But what happens when you up the res on that? A totally blank screen. I just don't think that will fly anymore on iPad. Perhaps I'm wrong - but it will be interesting to see what comes after the first round of (probably polished) apps.

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