Yesterday, Apple unveiled its much anticipated and highly rumored iPad to the masses and easily stole the media thunder from President Obama’s State of the Union address as well as becoming a top trending topic on Twitter, not including all the joke references to feminine hygiene products. After all the hoopla settled though, many tech editors started to really break down exactly what was revolutionary about the iPad and the general consensus seems to be that, well, there is nothing incredibly outstanding.
At first glance, the iPad looks like a pageant winner. It boasts the same sleek, attractive contours as the iPhone, which has lured many to purchase it based on aesthetics alone. iPad’s larger screen with its 1024×768 resolution is, of course, very much welcomed in a society that loves to do everything bigger and better. And lets not forget about that enticing price point beginning at $499. Apple could set its retail at twice as much and fanatics would still buy the new peripheral in a heartbeat.
Take away the glitz and glamor though and you still just have a glorified iPod Touch:
- there is no camera present (which means no augmented reality)
- no ability to run multiple applications simultaneously
- Adobe Flash is not supported
However, does this mean that developers will be deterred from creating new apps specifically for the iPad? Not necessarily, but the success of this new device may largely depend on developers making iPad specific apps to help differentiate it from the iPhone/iPod Touch as well as other gaming platforms. Between the three aforementioned downfalls of the iPad, the third one may perhaps be the most hurtful. The Android OS as a gaming platform is already starting to gain momentum despite its OS limitations (mentioned a couple months back). What further distinguishes Android in the gaming space is its ability to run Flash, which could prove to be a major game changer in the mobile gaming industry. With iPad lacking this now almost crucial feature for the next generation of mobile gaming, there’s not much else that separates it from its mobile Apple cousins. Sure, iPad packs a much larger processor, but if the console wars of the last five years have taught us anything it’s that stronger hardware capabilities do not equate to increased 3rd party support which is necessary to drive higher console sales.
Undoubtedly, many developers will initially hop on the iPad app bandwagon but if sales of these apps are lackluster we may just be seeing more iPhone/iPod Touch ports appear on the iPad instead. Though Apple hasn’t given developers anything truly novel to work with, the appeal of success is still there and it may be game developers that really help to shape the future of Apple’s new toy.