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iPad - What It Means For Developers

What are we doing at Appcelerator to support the iPad?

iPad on Ulitzer

Today was a historic day in computing history. While the techno-geeks will argue for the next several months what this really means and what the Apple iPad is missing or why it’s only a large screen iPod Touch, I’m going to be focused on what I think this really means to some key industries and how Appcelerator can help. From my perspective, web developers are talking up and overwhelmingly are planning new application experiences for the new iPad. We surveyed just a small sample of our community of developers and found that over 90% of them plan on building an iPad application in the next 12 months.

But what’s probably more interesting, and certainly makes sense seeing the iPad today, is that this new device offers new innovations that could be much different (and quite possibly, better) than the existing iPhone/iPod.

We are seeing huge opportunities for developers to build applications that really leverage the unique and native device features of the iPad. Today, Steve Jobs demonstrated the new ebook system built-in to the soon-to-be-released iTunes “bookstore”. But, think about the application possibilities for publishers, media companies and companies such as ad agencies and interactive digital agencies can create.

In fact, Steve Jobs might have single handily gave a life-line to the entire media world as it struggles to find a monetization model as they move from traditional print to digital. With over 175 million users ready with credit cards in the iTunes ecosystem and more than four years of micro payments of .99 and beyond, Apple may be able to turn over an industry struggling to find a path to transactions. The iPad offers an experience and consumer base that is already purchasing digital content and an compelling advantage that the normal web doesn’t offer. Users on the desktop web have had over 10 years of conditioning of “Free”, adding “Paywalls” to their websites are already offering significant challenges for some publishers. The iTunes ecosystem may be their new savior.

What’s also different spending the day with the Tablet SDK is that most of the current 100K apps will be completely re-tooled for the new device. While Apple is reporting (and in fact, in today’s testing with the SDK, fulfilling) that they’ll run all apps in the App Store unchanged, it’s very clear that apps will need to be rebuilt completely to take advantage of the new UI, new native features and the use cases that will be more appropriate for the new iPad. In fact, I think in less than 6 months after the devices are available for purchase, most of the apps that are used on the device on a day-to-day basis will be new iPad versions. It’s clear from the way the “emulated” iPhone apps are running on the tablet that developers will quickly move to change their apps to better adapt and that user’s will quickly find paths to one’s that take full advantage of the new device. This offers both a challenge and huge opportunity – not quite the same opportunity as the original iPhone – but close.

I’d advise developers and publishers that are on the iPhone today to start now at moving their apps. If you’re not on the bandwagon, you’ll really want to get on to it today. In either case, you’d really benefit from checking out Appcelerator as a way to help you move quickly to the new device and preserve your existing investments.

What are we doing at Appcelerator to support the iPad?
Like all iPhone apps, your Appcelerator Titanium-based apps will run on the iPad as-is in emulation mode. Today, we verified that the upcoming 0.9 release runs great both under emulation mode as well as the full native mode. We’ll have more details about that soon but we’ll be fully supporting new iPad projects in the 0.9 release and expect full support for the iPad native features soon thereafter. Because of the Apple NDA, we’ll not be able to talk specifically about the native features we’re working on for the iPad, but they’ll be awesome.

So, I’ll have more on this soon. I promise to try and blog more these days…

I’ll leave you with some parting thoughts I shared with Robert Scoble the day before the announcement.

More Stories By Jeff Haynie

Jeff Haynie is co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator. He started Appcelerator to provide a true open-source solution to enterprise RIA and SOA-based services development, after growing frustrated by the limited options and complexity in other solutions through his own development work. Prior to starting Appcelerator, Haynie served as co-founder and CTO of Vocalocity and CTO of eHatchery, an extension of Bill Gross? ideaLab. Haynie is an expert software developer and entrepreneur. Haynie has been active in standards development, as well as a contributor to open-source projects, including early work on JBoss. For more on Jeff Haynie, visit his blog at http://blog.jeffhaynie.us.

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