Monday, Mar 08, 2010
John Gruber seems to have it on good authority that the missing iPad apps are missing because Apple couldn't figure out how to keep them elegant in a large-screen environment, and that no 'Dashboard view' is in the works. I don't doubt his sources, but I'm frankly very surprised. Looking on the bright side, the absence of these core apps will pave the way for hundreds of developers to try innovating on their own to make a better version, knowing they'll be vying for the attention of an entire iPad user base with no built-in calculator, weather, finance or timer app. There should be a lot of interesting innovation in the space (and yes, a lot of nickel and dime crap). At the end of the day though, the problem persists: If Apple can't come up with a suitable usability model for small 'subtask' apps like peeking at stocks, responding to an instant message or performing a quick calculation then it's unlikely that third-party developers will be able to, because the difficulty is inherent in a large-screen, completely modal interface. Considering that Apple's been thinking about tablet devices for over a decade and has held beck because the prototypes didn't meet Steve's high bar, it's extremely surprising to me that they'd launch without a real answer for such simple tasks. April 3rd notwithstanding, this is a problem that Apple will absolutely solve at some point. The only question is when.
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