If you’re a developer, you’ve probably heard of the thousands of apps designed just for the iPad. Plus, you are probably aware that around 150,000 apps running on the iPhone and iPod touch also run on the iPad. You may be asking yourself if you should jump in the game and develop apps for this new device. In this article we are going to look at what it takes to develop software for the iPad.
But first, let’s recognize the iPad for what it is: a device for consuming information. It’s an excellent machine for viewing videos, photos, surfing the Web, or listening to music. The iBook app is outstanding for reading e-books. The iPad is also excellent for e-mail and gaming. Right out of the box you can use games from the iPhone and iPod touch. And sound quality is good, the battery lasts for 10 or more hours, and the touch screen is great for gaming. Printing from the iPad is problematic, however, making the device troublesome for business users.
The iPhone SDK 3.2, which can be used to develop for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, includes a complete set of tools to create iPad apps. In the SDK you’ll find the Xcode IDE, iPhone Simulator, Interface Builder, and Instruments, which allows you to see performance data graphically. Note that iPad development is possible only on Mac OS X version 10.6.2.
Other development resources include the Programming Guide, Sample Code, Human Interface Guidelines, and Creating Universal Applications, which helps you to create binaries that will run on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
You have a choice regarding coding of your apps. The native language for the device is Objective-C. This option is great for developing games because of the fast response, terrific graphics, and functionality with other iPad features.
You may find that it’s difficult to create a good UI for your app using a touch-driven device like iPad. Well, this is a new experience for users and developers alike. It’s very important that your app is both useful and usable, so you may want to create a prototype and then design, test, re-design, and test until you have a great UI.
Another point to remember is that the iPad interface is very familiar to the iPhone interface. It is just like the iPhone, only bigger. Note that you can use the new SDK to modify and optimize iPhone apps for the iPad.
As developers, you probably don’t do much software testing, but make sure you don’t forget this critical activity, as your app will hopefully end up on thousands of devices, and you don’t want there to be any bugs in it.
Finally, distributing your app is easy on the App Store. To submit an app to the App Store you must pay $99 to become a member of the Apple Developer Program. For users, the App Store is a trusted provider, and it also gives developers a chance to make money. So good luck!