Apple's iPad: Developers discuss their plans for apps

I surveyed the developers of a half-dozen of my favorite iPhone apps, and found two who said they plan to be on the iPad immediately, while others are hanging back until they can get their hands on the device.

The iPad is scheduled to go on sale in 11 days, April 3. When it ships, the 100,000-plus apps in the iPhone App Store will be compatible with the new device. However, the iPhone apps might appear awkward on the iPad, because the iPad has a much bigger screen than the iPhone. Native iPhone apps can either be stretched to fill the iPhone screen, or run in a small, iPhone-sized window.

Likewise, the iPhone apps might be awkward to use, because they're designed for the smaller touchscreen.

That means developers will have to get to work building apps designed specifically for the iPad.

Here's what some developers had to say about their plans:

1Password: Agile Web Solutions, which makes the password-management app, plans to have an iPad version available April 3, said co-author David Teare.

The 1Password vendor, like other developers, can't guarantee the app will be available April 3 -- or at all. But Apple has set a deadline of March 27 for submitting to the App Store in time to have apps available on launch day, and the 1Password vendor plans to hit that deadline.

The iPad version will be free to existing users of 1Password Pro. Agile Web Solutions also plans to add support for MobileMe synching, "so people can sync all their devices to the cloud and not have to worry about manually syncing each device," Teare said.

Things: Developer Cultured Code plans to have the to-do list app available April 3, said Michael Simmons, director of business development and marketing. The vendor provided this funk-a-delic sketch of what the app will look like:

Cultured Code's Things for the iPad

Instapaper: Marco Arent, developer of the app for downloading articles from the Web and reading on the iPhone offline, said he is working on an iPad version, but will probably not have it ready in time to ship April 3. The first version for the iPad will basically be a bigger-display version of the existing iPhone app, he said. "The first version will have no surprises, and no new features that aren't in the iPhone version. The interface isn't very different, either. It's going to be very version-one, with better tweaks and interface redesigns coming after I get accustomed to using the iPad in real life," Arent said in an e-mail.

Simplenote: Cloud Factory, which makes the memo pad app, plans an iPad app, but doesn't know when it will be available, said founder Michael Johnston. "Unfortunately, it's tricky to design effectively without a real device in our hands," Johnston said. "We have a version of Simplenote that works with the iPad simulator, but our instinct is that it's not going to feel right on actual hardware. This, combined with being busy working on some new features, means we're likely going to wait until we can do some design iterations on actual devices before we submit Simplenote for iPad."

Pastebot: Vendor Tapbots, which makes the software for enhancing the iPhone's cut-and-paste, is hanging back until they can get direct iPad experience. That also applies to Tapbots' other apps: Weightbot, a health and fitness app for recording weight loss; Convertbot, for unit conversions; and a fourth app still being developed.

Tweetie: The Twitter client will not be available April 3, the day the iPad becomes available, "but it's coming," said developer Loren Brichter in an e-mail.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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