Interesting take on "It's not just a big ipod touch"

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wyneken

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So there's a very interesting post at Daring Fireball on the question of whether basic apps like Weather, Clock, and Stocks will be available on the iPad when it launches, even though they haven't appeared so far in the videos or the commercial.

According to Brian Chen at Wired, the answer is no.

Daring Fireball explains:

It’s not that Apple couldn’t just create bigger versions of these apps and have them run on the iPad. It wasn’t a technical problem, it was a design problem. There were, internally to Apple (of course), versions of these apps (or at least some of them) with upscaled iPad-sized graphics, but otherwise the same UI and layout as the iPhone versions. Ends up that just blowing up iPhone apps to fill the iPad screen looks and feels weird, even if you use higher-resolution graphics so that nothing looks pixelated. So they were scrapped by you-know-who. Perhaps they’ll appear on the iPad in some re-imagined form this summer with OS 4.0, but when the iPad ships next month, there won’t be versions of these apps. At least that’s the story I’ve heard from a few well-informed little birdies.
What is especially revealing about this post, I think, is that it proves something that a few people here have been saying all along: None of us will really know what an iPad is like until we hold one in our hands.

Not even the people on the design team could predict what it would be like, in actual practice, to do this seemingly no-brain thing -- porting over some of the most familiar apps from the iPhone -- until they actually tried it, and found that for some reason it just doesn't feel exactly right.

I wonder if the solution to this will be to create a customizable Dashboard kind of thing that the user can fill however he chooses with little widget-like applets. That might be especially cool if you could use it in combination with, or as an alternative to, the basic home screen, which right now looks kind of boring and half-empty.

In any case, this seems to demonstrate what some of us have been saying: that increasing the form-factor doesn't just make this a huge iPod touch. It creates a different kind of user experience -- one that Apple itself is still apparently trying to imagine, or re-imagine.
 

JSRinUK

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They had a short piece about Tablet PCs on "Working Lunch" today (a BBC news programme that focusses on business interests).

They couldn't show the iPad because it's going to take several millennia for Apple to let us in the UK buy one, but they did show an "Archos 5" and an Asus Tablet PC.

The Archos device ran Android and was really way too small to do anything with. If anything it'd be better seen as a competitor to something like the iPod Touch.

The Asus Tablet PC was one of those in which the screen swivels back and lays on top of the keyboard. It looked very cumbersome and bulky and it was clear that putting a touchscreen on Windows is more of a "make do" solution rather than a real optimisation for the touchscreen experience. If this is the traditional thinking behind Tablet PCs then it's no wonder they've never taken off.

These two devices are clearly extremes of the spectrum but they both indicated to me why Apple are right to go with the "big iPod Touch" option rather than either a full desktop OS or a smaller ~6" version.

They did show a very short clip from Steve Jobs' keynote (not the bit where he promised worldwide availability within 60 days - he did say that, right?) but it shows him holding the iPad and turning it around. Even these few seconds made it perfectly clear why the iPad is going to be hugely more desirable than either something that's more portable (Archos) or something more capable (Tablet PC).

Regardless of what the naysayers would have us believe, I think the iPad is going to be the hit of the year (and even more of a hit if they let those of us who aren't in the US buy one before the sun burns out).
 
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