iPad

What the iPad means to developers

Developers who want to leverage the Apple iPad to drive additional application downloads should read these key considerations.

http://www.techrepublic.com/contents/2346-1035_11-387541-1.html

It's been hard to miss the iPad buzz over the last few days. Some analysts and tech bloggers are disappointed in it for a variety of reasons (10 reasons why I'll be passing on the iPad and iPass on the Apple iPad: It's no netbook killer); other folks are treating it like it's sliced bread's best successor.

Regardless of your thoughts on the device, given Apple's momentum in the mobile market, it's hard to deny that the iPad will have some effect on the development landscape. Today I had a great discussion with Scott Schwarzhoff, VP of Marketing at Appcelerator (don't let the title fool you -- he knows his stuff) to get some details on iPad development. Appcelerator has had a lot of experience working with the iPhone and have been all over the iPad, so he was a great resource to learn more about it.

We discussed where the iPad fits into the market; developers need to understand this when choosing their projects. The iPhone ecosystem is huge, and we've seen a shift in how developers monetize iPhone apps. In the beginning, developers made money by delivering novel apps and selling them for a few dollars. Then there was the 99 cent bloodletting, as developers scrambled to stay on the Top 100 list. That was followed by the free app giveaways. Now, making money from directly selling apps in the App Store... Scott called it "looking for the pot of gold," which jives with what I've been hearing. Instead, what we are seeing is that developers are using non-App Store channels to drive free iPhone app downloads, and the iPhone apps are enabling some sort of other monetization. Don't expect the iPad to change this formula; if anything, its enhanced functionality will make this even more of a trend.

What does the iPad offer that the iPhone doesn't (other than a larger form factor)?

The iPad has a much faster CPU and a docking station that provides a real keyboard (but apparently, no mouse) experience. There isn't enough storage space (64 GB on the top-end model) to really enable the kind of giant, local application that some folks might want to put on it. The storage situation screams cloud computing for the time being. In addition, there is no multitasking yet, so applications that need to be running in the background (email, instant messaging, etc.) to have always-on functionality still won't happen. While no one that I have talked to says that multitasking is coming, I cannot believe that it won't be here sooner rather than later. The iPad also lacks a camera; while you aren't going to use it as a camera, it would be nice for video conferencing applications.

In terms of the software, the iPad uses the iPhone SDK, not OS X. Scott could not go into details due to NDA obligations, but he did tell me that applications will have some mechanism to provide a different UI experience to iPhone/iPod Touch devices and iPads. Applications can scale up their UIs to look the same but bigger (which I would imagine is the default) like we're seeing in early demos; applications can also take advantage of the larger iPad screen to show more options and functionality. Smart developers will leverage this to create applications that offer better functionality on the iPad as a differentiating factor against their competition.

What about the iPad's capabilities and marketing?

The iPad is not a laptop replacement for business users or a smartphone replacement. While a business user might bring the iPad on, say, a long weekend vacation in lieu of the laptop, they aren't going to do a lot of real work with it. As soon as the user drags the docking station along, he'll end up being happier just bringing along his laptop.

In addition, the iPad is too large to replace smartphones; you aren't going to bring it to a meeting just to see when your next appointment is or to check your email while waiting in line for a hamburger.

The iPad is really aimed at consumers, not as a primary device, but as a secondary one. For example, you might bring it to the kitchen to look at a recipe and play music while you cook, or glance at a Web site during commercial breaks while watching TV. It will definitely be an effective boredom buster for kids in the backseat of the car on a long drive.

How developers can leverage the iPad

The conclusion here is that if you want to leverage the iPad to drive additional application downloads (both paid and free), keep in mind the following points:

  • Consumers are the main users.
  • This is not a laptop or a smartphone replacement.
  • Entertainment is the key thrust: games, multimedia, and "time waster" apps will be successful.
  • Take advantage of the extra screen real estate, but be sure to gracefully degrade on the iPhone.
  • The extra CPU power can enable new types of apps.
  • The lack of multitasking still makes certain classes of apps significantly less desirable.

Developers, what are your first impressions of the iPad?

J.Ja

Disclosure of Justin's industry affiliations: Justin James has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides; he has a contract with OpenAmplify, which is owned by Hapax, to write a series of blogs, tutorials, and articles; and he has a contract with OutSystems to write articles, sample code, etc.

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About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

39 comments
Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

The iPhone is already being used in a legal environment. The iPhone is already being used in a construction environment. The iPhone is already being used in a hospital environment. The iPad can do nearly everything the iPhone itself can do, short of making direct-dial phone calls, and will have much more productivity capability with new apps and the larger screen and faster hardware. Yes, I acknowledge that it was announced as a consumer device, but you have to remember that the iPhone itself was, too. It's popularity is pushing it into the enterprise more strongly than any direct-to-enterprise advertising could. I don't know how fast this thing will take off, but I can well expect to see significant inroads into the enterprise before two years.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... though consumers are likely to be the first adopters. Maybe you should look through some of the thousands of productivity apps currently available for the iPhone. Medical, transportation, corporate, media... the iPhone itself has become a very strong enterprise device for those with the imagination to see how it could be used. The iPad not only gives these apps a larger display, making them even better as a marketing tool, it offers the possibility of of displaying more data, making it even more efficient. In other words, the iPad has an already growing enterprise market that can only increase with its added size and speed. In fact, you may find that the iPad will not only replace a large number of netbooks in functionality, but may even replace some enterprise notebooks with its mobility and simplicity. Who wouldn't like to have a PowerPoint presentation where they could hand-write annotations on the slide displayed? The software isn't there yet, but a good developer might make a mint if they can create it. When has Apple said, "What's already out there is good enough"? Steve Jobs has always looked ahead, trying to see what is possible and striving to make that next step forward. He did it with the iMac, the iPod and more recently with the iPhone. UNIX offers the greatest flexibility of any operating system and even the iPhone OS is UNIX-based, using a touch-sensitive GUI to give you UNIX power in a hand-held device. Now it's up to the developer to see just how far it can go.

mattohare
mattohare

It doesn?t seem to have any sort of database engine on it. They may have a word processor or spreadsheet application on it, but I understand that they won?t initially work with MS-Office formats. That does put it out of the realm for me. In addition, with all of the work I do off line, a tether to The Cloud would really get in my way. However, for any web-based information provider, this can be an exciting platform for delivering information to those that can be connected to the internet all of the time. It would be a great way to deliver ad-hoc travel information while someone is en-route. (For example, alternate routes when the local rail express from the airport to the city centre is down.)

herlizness
herlizness

It's a beautiful device but I don't think it does enough for the "task-oriented" user and costs way too much for the (average) "fun-oriented" user. It surprised me how many iPhones have been sold in this miserable economy but I suppose a lot of people can muster a couple of hundred bucks one way or the other and rationalize the purchase in a hundred ways. iPad appears to be a tougher sell. That said, I'm reserving judgment on it until we see what developers' imaginations might bring to the party ... who knows? We may all be surprised yet. I can see the device being useful for habitual meeting-attenders, presenters and speakers. I imagine you can out the thing to a projector (?) Another app I'm interested in is something for the courtroom .. if you could jump around from one document to another and read easily it could be extremely useful, albeit a bit specialized; 1024x768 with support for all "major" document formats is a lot of functionality if you don't need heavy editing capabilities. Can't believe they didn't make it multi-tasking ... not good. I find the price premium for 3G annoying this is an ok start and I'm betting that Version 2 or 3 will be a killer ...

jdm12
jdm12

Expensive eBook reader for those who want to one-up the person in the adjoining seat on the next business flight.

cnoevil
cnoevil

So it's a jazzed up Kindle...only it'll probably cost about 8 Bennys. Steve Jobs poots and all the MacZombies run to get a whiff. At least, it might turn out to be a place to sell a boatload of 3 dollar apps if you know the secret Apple handshake that gets your work in the door of one of their exclusive e-Boutiques.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

is a major shortcoming. Think of the Palm Pilot. AT&T's most recent ad campaign is all about multitasking - "you can surf the web while you're on your phone." Isn't it odd that business partners go in different directions? We have come to expect multitasking from our computers. We update contact management information while email is picked up. We reply to an email while a proposal is being sent out. "Please wait while [OS] [is doing something else]" is archaic and disappointing. Suspending one app to run another wastes productive time. Lack of multitasking was a software or firmware decision. Too bad. Wrong move. My $0.02

arodenberger
arodenberger

I foresee it would being used as a sales demo at trade shows, technical training, and an educational tool. It will definitely be on my list as the replacement for the e-readers currently on the market.

ScotlynHatt
ScotlynHatt

So I have to admit the possibilities of the iPad are fascinating, until you see the specs. The faster CPU really is only there for the larger screen real estate. So as a developer the options are nearly identical to the iPhone/iTouch but with access to larger resolutions. I will be interested to see the "PC" response here. All of the cons that will keep business users away from the iPad suggest that there is a market for a "professional" device. Of course touchscreen netbooks are technically in that space already, waiting for the right blend of applications, processing power, and a Pro OS.

iphonekings
iphonekings

Its amazing. I cant wait to see the FastMall iphone app on the iPad. Unreal cool!!!

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

In terms of usage it's like a larger, more functional iPod Touch, though it's compatible with iPhone apps. I've heard conflicting stories, but apparently it has no telephony features. I thought it was a mistake to not include a video-capable camera, and telephony. I can imagine it being useful for video conferences, or just video phones that ordinary consumers could use. I don't think it would be good for collaborative computing, because there are no fine controls. You're expected to mainly use the touch screen for everything. I was surprised to hear that it doesn't multitask. I just thought this would be "baked in", because the iPad, like their other products, runs OS X. I remember when the iPhone came out people were all excited that it ran OS X. I mean, I used to hear people say years ago it was difficult to get Unix to *not* multitask. I have a Pocket PC I bought about 5 years ago, and I can multitask with it, no problem. I wonder what Apple has against people running two things at once. Anyway, there's potential there if Apple wants to create a model that would be more useful in a corporate environment. I watched the keynote on Wednesday, and I think the iPad has good potential as a consumer product. You can read e-books on it, browse the web, do e-mail, play games, listen to music, look at photos, and do some useful work on it. And it costs quite a bit less than an Apple laptop. The low-end model is half of what you'd expect to pay for a MacBook. It might cut into Apple's laptop sales, because this sort of platform I think is more along the lines of what a lot of people want a computer for, though I'm not sure if it would be suitable for students. It's more for casual, low-impact use. I can't imagine trying to write a long paper with it, though I could be mistaken.

herlizness
herlizness

> you really need to start reading what other people have to say and stop living in your own world; I SAID that I saw possibilities for task-oriented apps, and I meant precisely that. I don't think the iPad is a failure and I'm not "anti-Apple" ... I love my iPhone; but, the iPad was a little bit less than I expected and I'm not sure it will do quite as well as I originally thought ... to me, still looks like it's going to take another version or two ... and I think Steve Jobs knows that as well Again, let's see what the development community comes up with ... but, as Justin said, Apple has not made it especially easy to deploy ... and I still say it needs to multi-task and until it does I don't think it can replace the kinds of devices people are using now; I don't think they are too far away from making the iPad the single standard issue machine for millions of workers but they ain't there today you say that the iPhone is "pushing into the enterprise" ... you have data? I don't see it; the fact that people who work for "enterprises" use iPhones for some business-related tasks is not relevant to your broad assertion

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I'll grant that a Systems Administrator would be severely limited if they tried to use an iPad for that purpose, but that's not where it's aimed. Nor is it strictly aimed at the consumer market, though I agree that's where its first adoption will come in. However, just as the iPhone already has thousands of viable productivity apps (buried under a lot of junk that I'm really surprised Apple did permit) the iPad can use those apps and do even more with the right software. Doctors are already using the iPhone; contractors and suppliers are already using the iPhone, everywhere the iPhone is currently in the enterprise, the iPad may be able to improve on it with improved visibility. Stop thinking so small. Stop thinking that Apple is merely a plaything. If it were, would world-renowned scientists be using Apple's computers? Would commercial video production houses be using Apple computers? These people depend on their equipment to be functional and reliable. They depend on it to be easy to use. The iPad may not be a full computer in that sense, but if it makes their workload even that little bit easier; if it makes possible carrying a lighter load or quicker notations, don't you think they might just consider the iPad as another tool in their productivity arsenal?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[i]"...We have come to expect multitasking from our computers. We update contact management information while email is picked up. We reply to an email while a proposal is being sent out."[/i] The iPhone already collects mail as it comes in, no matter what else is running. A proposal to a client would be an outgoing email, while you're writing a new one. Exactly how is this an example of multitasking fail? Now if you'd said, "I want to look at weather radar while writing an email and browsing the web," I might agree with you, but those three apps combined take up a lot of screen real estate; any one of them really needing the entire screen for effective viewing. 10" (ok, 9.7") is nowhere near large enough to make multitasking a viable feature unless at least one of those tasks can operate completely unseen most of the time, such as music or downloading email. If you need to switch to the mail screen (or web, or whatever app you're wanting to use), the switch is quick enough that it can effectively emulate multitasking for most purposes and use far less processor power and battery than true multitasking. Unlike most laptops or even netbooks, the battery life on an iPad should give you a full day's use without needing to be plugged in for recharge. It seems to me that you've been listening to too many naysayers who have even less concept of what the iPad can do than you do.

TommCatt
TommCatt

Expect multitasking from our computers? I expect (and get) multitasking from my *phone*! The iPad doesn't seem to be any more than some of the eReaders currently available except it is much larger and much more cumbersome -- not to mention much more expensive. The iPod and iPhone have been huge successes for Apple. The iPad, after the initial thrall period, will become Apple's iEdsel, imo. The one advantage will be apps but it's difficult to imagine that any developer who puts out a really killer app will keep it "iPad only." Look for the next generation eReaders to become fierce iPad competition.

Justin James
Justin James

Certain vertical markets really like tablets, and for those folks, it would be possible to replace their tablets with the iPad in their thinking, but there are some flaws. First of all, the iPad is CLEARLY not a suitable replacement for a desktop or notebook, and (to the best of my knowledge) there is no good way to run an iPhone/iPad app on a Mac (and even if there were, no one is going to go all Mac just to use the iPad). As a result, the only apps which could be used across the enterprise and allow the iPad to be introduced to the workflow would be Web-based apps. And no one likes to use Web based apps for these scenarios (like insurance agents filling out paperwork, someone going through a factory doing a checklist, a doctor handling paperwork and viewing charts throughout a hospital), Web apps are not acceptable (without a lot of effort to code them em) due to lack of facilities for offline operation. In other words, for the folks who deliberately write apps for this form factor for enterprise use, they need locally running apps with local storage. So unless they are willing to write code that only works on the iPhone/iPad and not the desktop/notebook (not likely), they aren't going to be writing for the iPad. When HTML 5 is really deplayed, things might change though. J.Ja

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Puts drain on the battery You can't change an iPhone battery yourself and through time the 'time to next charge' will get less and less. Potential to lower performance (many apps open) Also... I don't think the hardware is up to it.

Justin James
Justin James

The telephony features are in the higher end models, and it will be an AT&T exclusive like the iPhone currently is. I think it really fits the same niche that Microsoft tried hitting with the "Mirra" device nearly 10 years ago (basically a wireless Remote Desktop client) and the "Origami" UMPC form factor (which incidentally, I love the idea of but they are too pricey to justify). J.Ja

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

http://www.apple.com/iphone/business/profiles/ In these examples, it's not employees pushing the iPhone in, but rather enterprises who have found strong, economic and effective uses for the iPhone in their businesses, including medical, educational, construction and scientific. There is also an example of using the iPhone in a legal environment. All of these uses not only could scale up for the iPad, but with its greater capability, potentially intrude into what most people think is the bailiwick of laptop and desktop computers. I'm not saying they'll replace laptops, but I also believe they're going to go farther than merely 'task oriented' and become 'environment oriented.'

Justin James
Justin James

I agree 100% that there are productivity apps out there for the iPhone. But they are side effects. Apple isn't marketing to businesses (the ads are all about checking Facebook and looking at the weather, not... I don't know... monitoring the weather). Apple hasn't aimed their development efforts to the enterprise (if they had, it wouldn't have shipped without proper Exchange integration). The system still is not well suited for business use in terms of typing accuracy (my friends with iPhones are usually unable to send a two sentence email without at least five typos in it). To top it off, Apple hitched their iPhone horse to AT&T, who falls short of Verizon for sure, and probably Sprint for business users. No, Apple is not serious about business users, but they are grateful to have them all the same. Usually when you see a business user with an iPhone, it is their personal phone that they are using for business. J.Ja

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[i]"...And no one likes to use Web based apps for these scenarios (like insurance agents filling out paperwork, someone going through a factory doing a checklist, a doctor handling paperwork and viewing charts throughout a hospital),"[/i] Apparently you are unaware that some of this is already available on the iPhone/iPod touch. It seems you forget about the Wi-Fi capabilities that allows the device to synch up with an in-house server without even touching the web. Apparently you have no idea just what the iPad may be capable of because you are so accustomed to the existing paradigm that you can't even see that you're inside a box. The iPad, with the right software, should be capable of all of the above that you complain about without even needing the 3G functionality. A web browser won't be needed because the iPad should be able to function at least as well as any notebook for the specific purposes you mentioned and be far more portable. When is the last time you went to the emergency room in a hospital? When is the last time you visited or stayed in a hospital as a patient? Did you happen to notice that the laptop computer the doctor takes around is mounted to the top of a cart and has to be rolled around like a desktop? Is this portability? Is this mobility? This thing is a ball and chain compared to the clipboard he used to carry. The right software and the iPad could wirelessly monitor the patient's vitals, taking a snapshot at the time of the visit that could go directly into the patient's records, not even requiring the doctor to copy them down by hand. He could process an individualized checklist by merely touching or (once the handwriting recognition is added) noting the paperwork and even digitally changing the patient's prescriptions without having to constantly turn his back and type on a stationary keyboard. No, the iPad is far more capable than anyone is giving it credit for--except those who are already using an iPhone for the purpose.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

While the announcement discussed AT&T's pricing plan for data on the iPad, Apple expressly stated that the iPad would be UNLOCKED and that any provider using similar sim chips could offer data plans for it. AT&T merely set the bar by offering $15 and $30 price points without need for a contract.

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

Yeah, I remember them talking about bringing that out, except my memory is it was more of a remote desktop terminal. I think it was designed to be a "slave" to a desktop PC. Could it even connect to the internet on its own? The thing that shocked me is in one of their demo reels they showed a guy carrying around a Mirra in the house, walking into a bathroom with it and closing the door! Wow. A little too much information there, though it made some sense. I thought, "People could treat this like reading a newspaper." Still, from a PR standpoint I thought, "Yeah. Ha, ha. But who came up with the idea to have the guy go into the bathroom with it? I mean, come on. Isn't that going to gross some people out, even if they'd do it themselves?"

herlizness
herlizness

> those are pretty good examples of what we already know: the iPhone is a useful device and people have found good use for it in business I took a look at the DLA Philips profile since I'm a lawyer and it looks generally like a good move on their part but when they talk about document retrieval on the iPhone I have reservations ... the device is too small to digest complex legal documents (although it may well be better than nothing in a pinch). This is where the iPad can do better. Again, the rub is the want of multi-tasking ... if I have a document management app open, happily working with it ... but then need to log into the court's docketing system to make sure the motion I'm reading was actually filed with the court, it's a major pain to close my doc mgmt system, open the court app and then re-open the doc system. THIS is why it's hard to take the iPad seriously ... YET ... as a business tool. > I am, at least for some people and some tasks ... once they put all the pieces together. Right now, they're not all put together. That said, I think developers can and will dive in and Apple will catch up to what they're doing and what their customers really need out of their products

Justin James
Justin James

I've almost switched to that workflow a few times, especially when the forums had the tendency to "eat" submissions. I just have never been able to make the switch. IP'm someone who *does not* adapt to the limitations of tools well, and instead just gets different ones if possible. For example, my current cell phone would have been junked after a month of driving me nuts, if only Verizon had something better (which they don't, sadly). Don't even get me started on some of the cars I've owned... J.Ja

herlizness
herlizness

@Justin why not compose your complete reply in Notepad, Word, whatever and pasting it back into the tiny text window ... which IS tiny

Justin James
Justin James

I hear you (and agree with you) on this one. The difficulty I keep running into is this insanely tiny text editor. I can't see the "big picture" of what a post looks like until it's up. I would love for this window to be a big bigger, especially in height, or offer a preview, so I can catch things like the paragraphs needing a break. J.Ja

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

I looked back at your older post and it looks like I misremembered what you said. You were complaining more about trying to develop for the Blackberry. As for the AppStore, I agree 100%. That's a totally consumer-oriented setup. Not that businesses can't take advantage of what's sold there, but if you're trying to build an internal IT app., this is a non-starter. You want to deploy the software, not get a third party's approval first. If Apple wanted to get the iPhone into corporate environments, I could see them selling an app. deployment platform that would include features specific to deployment management issues. From what I've seen, it's possible to download an app. to an Apple device (I'm not sure if this is specific to the iPhone of the iPad Touch) through a USB connection. I watched a show CNBC produced recently where they showed a group of app. developers doing this. They tested their app. in a real world situation, using their mobile devices before they got it approved at the AppStore. It's just that there's no platform independent of the AppStore which allows wide deployment.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Can you, as a writer, break that monolith of a paragraph up, so's we with one big eye in our foreheads don't have to sit on the edge of our chairs and squint?

Justin James
Justin James

Developing for the iPhone in general is harder than Windows Mobile from what I've seen. Objective C compared to .NET, and the coding environments (I forget the iPhone's IDE) vs. Visual Studio. All else being equal though, if you are an ISV writing an app that anyone should be able to buy and download and install, and that won't require working with a corporate IT department to configure it, doesn't need integration into the coporate applications/systems/etc. (Active Directory, Exchange, a CRM or ERP system, etc.), iPhone is a great platform, if you don't mind selling your app directly to consumers. Businesses are not really deploying the iPhone because it doesn't have the deep integration into the network like Windows Mobile or BlackBerry. On the other hand, if your application is something that should be be available in the App Store (anything that you've custom coded, for example), requires central IT control or management, requires integration with enterprise systems, then the iPhone platform simply isn't possible for you. The fundamental weakness is that there is no way to get an app onto the device without going through the AppStore (without "jailbreaking" the phone), and the secondary issue is that the enterprise integration functionality is not present at the base device level and there aren't any native capabilities for it. J.Ja

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

[i]In other words, for in-house IT development (which is where an awful lot of development gets done), the iPhone/iPad platform is a *non starter* as a specific development target. Period.[/i] I haven't read through the whole thread, so I may be missing something here. I remember you saying earlier that a lot of the mobile development now for business apps. is on the iPhone, rather than on Windows Mobile, and how difficult this is. So, what do you see going on? Are you saying that it's difficult to develop for the iPhone, but it's the way mobile development is headed?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You have proven that, as an IT professional, you are too short-sighted to see how a new tool can be used. I don't deny that the iPhone, and subsequently the iPad, can't be everything to everybody, but they CAN and DO integrate into the enterprise if you simply bother to look at it a different way. Apple's site lists ten examples of the iPhone as an integral part of operations at http://www.apple.com/iphone/business/profiles/ Maybe you should read them.

Justin James
Justin James

I think you need to carefully re-read what I wrote, and ignore your own personal feelings towards the iPhone. It is VERY difficult for "enterprise developers" (in other words, someone working for an internal IT department developing custom application for the company's use) to develop for the iPhone/iPad platform, by virtue of the fact that *there is no way to get the app onto the phone without the App Store*. Furthermore, even if there *was* a way to easily get this application onto the device, it would be fairly foolish for a developer to write a bunch of code to communicate with the server for the back-and-forth in the iPhone/iPad Objective C, and then have to rewrite that code in Java, .NET, C++ (or whatever) if they want a version of that application to run on notebooks, desktops, etc. For example, if I am developing an in-house sales application, it would be pretty stupid of me to write a full-version client that ran on the desktops in .NET or Java, but then re-write all of the connection code in Objective C just for our iPhone version. It makes a lot more sense to put that code on a BlackBerry, Android, or Windows Mobile device using .NET or Java, and not have to rewrite much of the basic logic code. This is a simple concept to understand, and you keep ignoring it in order to make your point. The alternative is a Web application, and once you are talking Web application, you are no longer developing for the iPhone or iPad, you are now writing a Web application suitable for use on a mobile device with a small screen, which could be anything. In other words, for in-house IT development (which is where an awful lot of development gets done), the iPhone/iPad platform is a *non starter* as a specific development target. Period. It doesn't matter how good the platform is, Apple has made certain decisions that make it nigh impossible for IT departments to develop and deploy enterprise mobile applications on that platform. Yes, there are application which work for a variety of professionals. Do they integrate into the enterprise? Umm... no. Does the iPhone/iPad platform integrate into Active Directory or Exchange (hint: regardless of your thoughts about Microsoft, the overwhelming majority of corporate networks use AD, and most use Exchange)? No. And on and on and on. Apple has not made the enterprise market a priority, and in many ways, they have made it an impossibility. That is why, when you see an iPhone being used for business usage, it is almost always as a "rogue" device that the IT department isn't maintaining, supporting, etc. The comment regarding AT&T and iPhone was to make a point. If Apple was serious about enterprises, they would have partnered with Verizon or Sprint, both of whom are much bigger players than AT&T for corporate cell accounts. Calling tablet PC's "failed" is pretty shortsighted. I see tons of professionals using tablet PCs. Why? Because they do things well that certain markets need. They allow developers to leverage their existing development skills, for one thing. Installing apps on them for in-house use is easy. The IT department doesn't need to learn anything new. Etc. I love your completely unsupported accusation that I am "anti-Apple". I could hardly be anything but. The only reason I got my wife a Gateway netbook for her birthday instead of a MacBook Pro was because I just couldn't afford the MacBook Pro at the time. I've been dying to get my hands on a Mac mini at a fair price to see if I can replace my Windows PC for day-to-day usage with it. I bought my wife an iPod Touch for Christmas last year and she absolutely loves it; if it weren't for its limited storage capacity, I would have bought one for myself too. If I were willing to put up with AT&T (their coverage around me is fairly bad), I would have jumped from Verizon to them for the iPhone. If there is anything that I am "anti-Spple" on, it is their policies around the App Store and getting apps into the iPhone/iPad, and I understand why they did it (they don't want to deal with devices broken by poor apps). Beleive me, I have been doing TONS of research. I have been tracking this space very closely for a number of years now. I see what people are doing. I have attended numerous presentations by professional iPhone developers to see how it's done and asked lots of questions (I've also done the same for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile development). I talk frequently with a number of people who do iPhone development. I read a lot about the topic. For this article, I reached out to Apple (note, they did NOT return my call, after 2 days of waiting to hear from them I ran with what i had). And in terms of "riding the wave"? The fact is, most of the iPhone developers I know have already given up on trying to make money on selling apps in the App Store. It's too cutthroat a market. So now, the monetization is shifting to things like writing games that advertise a product, apps that enhance a paid-service or product (like the DirectTV DVR-setting app), and so on. In other words, the iPhone app market is quickly becoming a set of add-ons to other, bigger products and services, thanks to the App Store dynamics. If Apple allowed IT departments to load apps on directly, it would be a game breaker and I would call the platform "enterprise ready". But until they are willing to cede that control... it isn't happening. Big IT departments just can't work with the iPhone platform. J.Ja

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

So what you're telling me is that developers should only write apps for the audience to whom the device is being marketed, and ignore all potential applications the device could fill. You're telling me that developers should shun any possible productivity (despite the very clear example of productivity they demonstrated at the announcement) and write nothing but games and disgusting bodily noise apps for this device. You also seem to ignore that, despite the fact that the display, and subsequently the virtual keyboard, is significantly larger, eliminating those typos you complain about for the iPhone. You also seem to ignore that the iPad is not 'locked in' to AT&T and prefer to rant about the iPhone lock-in when it has absolutely no bearing on the device or subject of this discussion. In fact, you seem to be so anti-Apple that you would prefer the device had never been conceived and that we should stick to the already-failed concept of tablet computing which has seen so little acceptance in the last ten years. Maybe you really should do some research. Look at what is being done with iPhones now and think about how much better these will perform on a larger, faster venue. The iPhone is already in business, and growing massively. Developers need to determine if they're going to ride the wave, or hope one of the later ones is large enough to ride.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

you go to Apple's website and look at how the iPhone is already being used by lawyers, contractors, salespeople and hospitals. With the singular exception of making phone calls, the iPad can do anything the iPhone itself can do, faster and with a bigger display. Add to this the new capabilities offered by iPad-specific software and potentially a new version of the iPhone OS (already in beta) and the possibilities go way beyond the few limitations argued so adamantly by yourself and so many others. Yes, I understand your son's pediatrician carries around a laptop; so does almost every family doctor or specialist. But he has that because there isn't something smaller and more convenient to carry. How often does the doctor also have a piece of paper beside it where he checks off certain data and has you carry it back up to the front desk? My point is that, with an iPad-type device, he doesn't need that cart; he doesn't need a laptop that he has to put down each time he wants to make a note. The data he inputs can either go direct into his patients' records via Wi-Fi or it can sync up once he docks the iPad to his desktop at the end of the day. And as long as the iPad is able to access the data on the ER's central server, it shouldn't matter which iPad/iPhone you use to reference that data. Just as long as the unit is authorized to to make that access.

Justin James
Justin James

... but given how you get applications onto the iPhone, it is impossible for an enterprise to use them. When Apple provides a way to provision an application to the device without having to put it in the AppStore, I'll beleive that they are ready for the enterprise. Until then, business users will have to settle for whatever developers put into the AppStore, because no IT department is going to jailbreak iPhones or iPads. I am well aware that there are lots of ways to sync on non-Web apps, but you didn't read what I said, either. I said that the choices are to either write a Web app (which lacks syncing if you fall off line), or to write a native app, which most folks don't want to do, because then they will need one version for the iPhone and one entirely different codebase for their desktops and notebooks. With something like Windows Mobile and Android (and possibly even BlackBerry, since it can run Java apps), it is quite possible to write an application core that runs on the PCs *and* the smartphones, and then have the right UI for the device on top. That is a huge differentiator for a developer. And if you look a bit more carefully at those hospital computer carts, there are reasons why they are the way they are. For one thing, they are function specific, and set up for certain tasks, and they *must* be a shared resource. With something smaller, it is really easy for the device to "walk". Do you really want the ER doctor to not be able to access critical information because someone went to lunch and accidentally kept the iPhone in their pocket? Do you want the nurses in the maternity ward to not find the charts because a kid picked up the iPad and is trying to get it to play games? Secondly, those carts are more than just a PC and monitor on wheels... they have stuff like a UPS on them to ensure that the system *never* goes down due to power. In fact, hospital environemtns put tons of stuff on UPS, because a power loss can KILL a patient. The last thing anyone needs is for an iPhone or iPad to suddenly die because someone forgot to plug it in. Outside of critical medical environments, sure, I could see the iPad taking the place of somethings that notebooks and tablet PCs are currently being used for (by the way, my son's pediatrician carries around a laptop, and every time we're there she has to swap it because the batteries are dying), but the lack of a physical keyboard and the inability to plug it up to a printer reallys kill it for a huge portion of these uses (like the insurance or retirement plan rep who goes to customers to get employees signed up). J.Ja

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

Maybe RDP on iPad would work. I have RDP Lite app on my iPhone and it will remote control my desktop, but the lack of a righ-click mouse action is strange. I remember ViewSonic played around with this concept as well. Just undock your monitor and take it with you. I really liked that idea, but as I recall it was very expensive, and a bit limmited. Jeff

Justin James
Justin James

Yeah, that is exactly what it is. Funny enough, that's exactly what I want. Why should I have a full powered system, with a copy of all my data and deal with sync. issues, when I can just take a viewport to my system around with me? Too bad it was too pricey and never went anywhere. :( J.Ja

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