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Summary:

In a blog post on Friday, The Omni Group, a major developer of productivity applications for the Mac, announced that it will be bringing five of its most popular applications to the iPad platform, namely: OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, OmniPlan, OmniFocus and OmniGraphSketcher. According to its announcement, The […]

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In a blog post on Friday, The Omni Group, a major developer of productivity applications for the Mac, announced that it will be bringing five of its most popular applications to the iPad platform, namely: OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, OmniPlan, OmniFocus and OmniGraphSketcher. According to its announcement, The Omni Group is making a major shift in its development cycles because it sees the iPad as “the best computing device for most of the things people use computers for.”

This news certainly makes one think about the placement of the iPad in the computing world. In the few days since the announcement, many have panned the device, focusing on things like the lack of multi-tasking and a built-in keyboard when arguing that it could not replace a computer for most people. The refrain “It’s just a big iPhone or iPod touch,” has been heard over and over again when dismissing the iPad as a computing platform. After all, the iPod touch is certainly an impressive device, but no one expects it to replace even a netbook, no matter how big the screen is. Even Leo Laporte, usually known as an Apple evangelist, declared himself somewhat confused by Apple’s demonstration of iWork, indicating that perhaps it oversold the device’s capabilities.

The Omni Group’s excitement about bringing its applications to the platform, however, is just the latest indication that some disagree with this characterization. For example Joe Hewitt, the former developer of Facebook for the iPhone, wrote a long blog piece discussing how much more capable the iPhone OS is than people think, and that it only lacked a larger display to really come into its own. Apple has also made itself clear about the capabilities of the iPad with its demonstrations of iWork applications that are not stripped down versions but fully capable desktop-class programs in their own right.

One problem may be in how many pundits view iPad applications right now. Despite Apple showing us just what was capable with iWork, most pundits are still focused on the fact that the iPad can run iPhone applications. They are thus distracted by the idea of scaling phone applications up to a larger device. Developers like The Omni Group and Joe Hewitt, however, make it clear that they are thinking about things from the opposite direction, scaling desktop-class applications and websites down to the iPad. It’s also clear that, like Apple, they see this transition not as a step down to a more limited platform, but as a lateral step to a platform that offers opportunities you can’t get on a desktop or phone device.

It may be that our perspective of the iPhone OS is simply off. Many consider it to be nothing more than a cell phone operating system, so they look at the iPad and wonder how capable a larger device running a phone’s operating system can be. The reality, however, may be that Apple sees the iPhone or the iPod touch as a small iPad, and that what we know of as the “iPhone OS” was actually meant to provide the foundation for a much more capable computing device from the very beginning.

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  1. Some people have already expressed the opinion that the iPhone appeared out of the development work done for the iPad, that the iPad was what Apple were working towards all along not the iPhone, and as a result the iPhone should be looked on as a scaled down (physically) version of the iPad and not the other way round (iPad is a physically scaled up iPhone). I think I agree with this.

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  2. People that think the iPad is disappointment don’t understand it’s purpose. What they want is a MacBook Pro without a keyboard, and all the components built into a screen section that is 1/2″ thick. It’s not gonna happen anytime soon. I feel the potential for the iPad is enormous.

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  3. Only the tech geeks with their unrealistic expections were dissapointed. Those outside the tech world that didn’t follow it every day up to it’s release see the advantage of the device and if the software is there to do what they want and need. The comparison of “it’s just a large ipod” makes no difference to them. Frankly I’d say Apple hit it right on the head, I mean 75 million people already love the iPhone/iPod Touch, and since when did we change our tune that “bigger is better”? It works for TV’s, Monitors, SUV’s and even our own homes! When is the last time you walked up to a 1000 square foot ranch home sitting next to a 5000 square foot 2 story house and thought, man if I won the lottery I would buy that ranch!! No, people dream BIG, big houses, big TV’s, bigger, faster, better. Well iTablet provides, Bigger, Faster and Better if the developers take advantage of the bigger screen and faster CPU.

    I have yet to think of an app on my iPhone and say “damn that will suck on a larger screen!” Bigger means easier to read things, less scrolling and panning on websites, more screen real estate to for developers to make better functioning apps.

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  4. Are Most Looking at the iPad With the Wrong Perspective?

    Yes.

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  5. And so the Apple machine spins.

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    1. Alfredo Padilla Tuesday, February 2, 2010

      Champs,

      I appreciate your comment, but I don’t think this is the result of the Apple machine. When I first saw the details of the iPad during the keynote I have to admit that I was amongst those who was somewhat disappointed. It was after actually seeing the presentation and iWork applications at work that I began to think differently about the potential of the iPad.

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    2. Agreed with Alfredo.

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  6. great post. someone needed to write about the ipad from your point of view.

    when i purchased my first iphone, there was no app store, no award winning apps and certainly no mobile me service. how things have changed.

    when the ipad was formally introduced, you could consider me one of those people that weren’t totally excited by its abilities. having said that, i’m not disappointed to the point of not realizing what the potential is for this product. the possibilities are endless.

    am i going to run out tomorrow (or whenever it’s available) to purchase the ipad? probably not. will i have one within on year? probably yes.

    the fact that omni group is on board with the ipad should let real mac users understand the potential of this product.

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  7. What would make the iPad perfect? Not what many are suggesting. Not a camera, except perhaps for video conferencing. I’d be embarrassed to be seen pointing this huge slate at scenery while looking at a way-too-large screen. Not multi-tasking. My mind can’t multi-task, and even the iPad screen is two small to display two applications at once. The iPhone’s smart, quick-switch capability is still fine on an iPad.

    No, what the iPad needs is the compact equivalent of a physical keyboard. The best position for viewing simply isn’t the best position for typing. Hunting-and-pecking with one finger is too slow, and I have trouble keeping my fingers on the right keys on a real, tactile keyboard. They’ll wander far too much on a glass one. Nor is Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard the answer. It’s over half the size of an iPad. With it, we might as well lug about a MacBook.

    No, what the iPad needs is an iPhone-sized Bluetooth keyboard suitable for two hands. That’d let us place an iPad where the viewing is best and type tolerable fast, as Blackberry users can attest, with our thumbs, perhaps doing keyboard shift/command keys with our fingers and palms. It needs to be fully compatible with the keyboard/stand that Apple will be shipping for the iPad, so apps don’t know the difference. And if Apple ports their Bluetooth keyboard driver to iPhones and iPod touches, it’ll work with them too, meaning an ‘instant market’ of tens of millions even before the iPad becomes common.

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    1. Alfredo Padilla Tuesday, February 2, 2010

      Mike,

      I believe that the iPad already supports bluetooth keyboards, so we could very well see a small BlackBerry-like version as you suggest.

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    2. Uhm….have you checked the soon to be available accessories? Like the iPad keyboard dock? There is your precious keyboard. It’s right on the tech specs page on Apples iPad site…An iPhone sized PHYSICAL keyboard suitable for 2 hands? Maybe if you’re a munchkin. Who wants to type with their thumbs? I own a Blackberry and it’s a pain in the ass.

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  8. @GS – couldn’t agree more. I’m a doctor myself. I use Apple products because of their simplicity and ease of use. I like to spend my time in front of a computer being productive rather than trying to figure out how to use it (like many of my PC colleges). I’m super excited about the iPad and I’m sure to buy one. It won’t substitute my MacBook, but to be honest, it’s not what I’m looking for. I’ll buy for the great eBook reader and web surfing machine that it promises to be, nothing else. For everything else, I have my MacBook which is super potable and powerful (for my needs)

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  9. I love the entire concept of the iPad. At first I was disappointed that it would be running iPhone OS, but then I got to thinking, how much simpler were computers to use back when the operating system didn’t get it in way? How fast would applications be if they actually had the majority of a 1Ghz processor dedicated to them without 90% of it being eaten by all the background crap? As much as we all like to claim how good we are at multi-tasking, bottom line is simpler is always better. I love my iPhone and the simplicity of it has really changed my whole computing experience. It’s made me “pickier” at making sure new programs I look at have that same level of simplicity. I’m extremely excited about the iPad and hope to slowly convert to using it, once I get one, most of the time and stop using my laptop so much.

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  10. I think the iPad will really take off, but I haven’t changed my opinion that the actual device is quite a let-down from what is possible, and quite a reduced feature set, from what Apple was originally shooting for with the device. It really is just a big iPod, but that’s not a bad thing in terms of sales, and it’s a starting point for a lot more hopefully.

    The biggest drawback I see to it overall is that it’s input capabilities are somewhat *less* than the iPhone or iPod touch. It’s a mobile device that you can’t actually type on while … mobile (unless you sit down or find a table). The iPhone and iPod are true mobile devices. The iPad can be poked at, but it can’t really be used while standing or walking, which is something I do with the iPhone all the time, every day.

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    1. “the actual device is quite a let-down from what is possible”

      And is the price? They have to make it affordable and they did. The PC naysayers said it was going to be over 1000 buck, and now they are bashing it because it has no camera or OLED screen. Can’t win with them.

      As soon as there is competition more features will show up.

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