tirsdag 2. februar 2010

App makers expect to rewrite their iPhone apps for iPad

When Apple introduced the iPad last week, it sought to reassure application developers that nearly all of the 140,000 apps created so far for the iPhone will run fine on the iPad unchanged. But developer Marine Leroux asks, “Why would you want them to?”
“You could make richer apps on the iPad because you’ve got more real estate. When you’ve got more space, why not make the most of it?” said Leroux, founder and CEO of Bamboudesign, a mobile application design and development company in San Francisco, which officially launched Tuesday.
In his presentation at the iPad launch event last week, Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iPhone software, said the iPad is built “to run virtually every one of these apps unmodified right out of the box.” But Leroux is skeptical: “My guess is it’s going to look funky.”
Funky wouldn’t work for Bamboudesign’s clients, which are established companies with large marketing budgets, not some entrepreneur hoping to become an Apple millionaire writing one app that becomes a hit. While she wouldn’t identify clients by name, Leroux said one is a distiller for which Bamboudesign is building an app listing drink recipes using its product. Another client is a fan site for a rock band listing tour dates, band photos and videos and, of course, music downloads.
Leroux and other developers are reading blogs and sharing other information with each other to try to find out more about developing for the iPad. Forstall, who followed Apple CEO Steve Jobs onstage last week at the iPad launch, showed how an iPhone app can run on an iPad in the same 480- by 320-pixel image that is the size of an iPhone screen. Forstall then touched a button labeled “2X” and the image expanded to match the 1,024- by 768-pixel dimensions of the iPad.
Leroux thinks image resolution would suffer if the application were expanded to be viewed on iPad. She also believes there would be other differences in how apps would run on an iPhone versus an iPad. Take a music app, for example, where on an iPhone it lists all the artists in a library, then the user clicks on an artist’s name and their albums appear. Click on an album title next and the tracks appear. On an iPad, however, all that information could be displayed on one screen, but requires a different navigation scheme, and unique coding, to display the information than on an iPhone app.
“This is an interesting topic with developers,” said Leroux, whose company sponsors the iPhone Network Lounge, a monthly networking series in San Francisco on all things iPhone, and now iPad.
Other companies have sought answers by diving right into the new software development kit Apple released Jan. 27 to write for the iPad platform — Apple OS 3.2 beta.
Ansca Inc., a San Mateo-based maker of Corona software for building iPhone applications, has found that modifying them to be optimized for iPad is pretty straightforward. Carlos Icaza, president and CEO of the company, said the SDK uses “universal binaries,” an application bundle that runs natively on any Apple platform to add the capabilities to iPhone software that are iPad-specific. “They made it very easy. You don’t have to rewrite most of it,” he said.
That Apple makes iPad so it can run iPhone — or iPod Touch — applications makes sense, even if some apps aren’t optimized to run on iPad, says Charles Golvin, an industry analyst at Forrester Research. Right off the bat, nearly 140,000 apps are available for the new device, whereas if iPad ran only iPad-exclusive apps, its App Store would be pretty limited on device launch day.
At the same time, however, developers would do well to modify iPhone apps for iPad, or write entirely new iPad-exclusive apps, in order to stand out, Golvin said. Apple’s iPad launch event featured apps from Electronic Arts and The New York Times (pictured) that had been modified to run on iPad with more features and capabilities, for example.
With the volume of apps in its current App Store, it can be difficult for some apps to get noticed, he said. Apple, though, said it would feature iPad apps prominently in App Store. “We may see some high-end developers take to [iPad] a bit more enthusiastically because they’ll see the opportunity to make a big hit,” said Golvin. “People who buy an iPad are going to want to see new applications that are uniquely suited to the device.”

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