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Rant: iPhone Apps Need Better iPad Support - iPad in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPad Resource iPad in Canada Blog – Canada's #1 iPad Resource

Rant: iPhone Apps Need Better iPad Support

by on September 21st, 2010

So the iPad has been in the wild for about half a year now, and now’s a great time to take stock of how iOS apps have evolved in the past few months. The app space has shifted dramatically, with many of the most popular apps making significant updates and UI redesigns to meet the larger screen size. As a result, the average price for an iOS app has risen quite a bit. Photography, social networking, and many gaming apps easily follow this trend.

What tends to be forgotten, though, is the plethora of apps that never get upgraded from its smartphone cousin. And this is a huge shame. The iPhone app store still dwarfs the iPad app store by a huge margin, and there are definitely gems in there that are better suited for the larger screen. Here are a few examples:

Board Games

As an avid board gamer, the iPad is a godsend. As I briefly discussed last week in my travel article, the larger screen allows for a better gaming experience without the potential of losing any game pieces. While Conquist, Small World, Scrabble and Words with Friends all do a great job in jump-starting this change, other games such as Carcassonne, Catan need to follow this trend. Further still, more board games need to be developed for the iPad; it is simply a logical step forward for the platform.

Cheap Instant Messengers

Admittedly, there are plenty of cross platform IM apps on the iPad [BeeJive IM and IM+ come to mind]. However, both of these apps are outrageously expensive compared to the value you get from their miniature brethren. Furthermore, many of these apps are iPad only, so there is still the added cost of purchasing the same app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. With this in mind, there is definitely a market for affordable cross-device IM clients on iOS.

Music Players and Streaming Services

While there aren’t that many music streaming services in Canada, there are even fewer music streaming apps designed for the iPad, and this is a huge shame. From my experiences with these apps (Rdio and Y! Music being the primary two), expanding the UI to 2x disrupts the app’s clean look and feel, the lack of screen rotation great hinders its ability to be usable over time, while setting the app to its native resolution makes it completely unusable on the large screen.

Perhaps the lack of iPad upgrades of existing apps isn’t as large an issue as it would outright seem. Perhaps, also, that there is just high developer churn in the iOS community, and apps tend to get neglected. In any case, the lack of support from Apple in creating a visually better experience for iPhone apps on the iPad is a gross oversight and needs to be addressed. At this rate, I feel the likelihood of device segmentation will grow over time as more developers focus on the iPad with its potentially higher margins.

Throwing back to you, the readers. Is the lack of iPad app upgrades disrupting your daily workflow? Do you even use iPhone apps on your iPad? If so, does the resolution change bother you? As always, leave your comments below.

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Posted under: App Store