Yesterday morning, my iPad finally arrived (one day ahead of the date given me at the time of the second shipping delay; minor victory?). I spent most of yesterday downloading apps and attempting to get things correctly set up – user accounts and preferences entered, apps arranged on screen in a manner I could easily navigate, etc.
Today I’ve spent some more time actually using the device. My goal in purchasing the iPad through work was to figure out a way to appropriately target Bemidji State content to this device and, ultimately, other mobile devices. That leads to a decision on writing a native app delivered via the App Store versus a web app that can be delivered everywhere.
Both have their drawbacks. App Store apps don’t have unified navigation, interfaces or experiences yet; what a gesture does in one app doesn’t necessarily do the same thing in another. Plus, there’s the App Store submission process, and the need to learn Objective C to develop for the platform. Web apps don’t yet seem to fully support multitouch interfaces, although that seems to be changing, so they don’t look or behave quite the same as native apps. But, at first glance, they do seem like they’d be easier to develop; so they’re a logical starting ground.
It’s been fun to play with the iPad so far. My initial reaction is that the device can be summed up by one word – “potential.” I can see myself spending a lot of time with mine, but ultimately it will only be as useful or awesome as content providers, application programmers and web developers will allow it to be. In that regard, it’s not different than any other computing platform. So far, however, I like what I see.