Sorry, iPhone developers: The crappy user interfaces that many of you employed on the iPhone are not going to cut it on the iPad.
That’s in large part because people use most of these cheap, throwaway apps to waste time — half paying attention — while they’re doing something else, like commuting, waiting for someone, on the toilet, in class, etc. Not many people are going to complain about a lame UI for a casual game that has a day or two of gameplay, max. Or a fart app.
This will be different on the iPad: User interface quality will have to be better.
Why? Because the iPad is bigger and heavier. This means:
- Ugly user interface is going to look a LOT uglier when it’s bigger and more in users’ faces.
- The iPad is going to command more of users’ attention, because they’re holding it with both hands, because pulling it out of a bag requires more effort than pulling an iPhone out of a pocket, because it’ll be harder to use inconspicuously while you’re supposed to be doing something else, etc.
This — plus the iPad’s higher cost and initially smaller, higher-end audience — should put a premium on app quality, especially user interface design. Users should expect better (and better-looking) apps.
To be sure, that’s not to say that apps will have to necessarily be more complex or sophisticated. Or that some apps with crappy UI won’t be able to do well on the iPad. And, of course, the counterargument is that smaller screens like the iPhone should command smarter, better UI than bigger screens, where there’s more room for more UI elements.
But we still anticipate that people will have higher regard for good, elegant UI design on the iPad — especially if apps are more complex.
The upside for developers is that premium apps — with better UI — may be able to carry higher price tags. But in the long run, many other factors will play into app pricing, including the size of the iPad’s user base, whatever ad products Apple releases, if iPhone developers decide to price iPad apps differently, etc.
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