Friday, 29 January 2010

The iPhone Killer?

I'm feeling pretty ambivolent about this iPad. It looks nice enough, it might be great for certain tasks. It doesn't look like Apple have really come up with a solution to the keyboard problem, but watching video on there should be lovely. On balance, it's probably not for me: most of my commutes happen on crowded trains, where my iPhone lets me read the news or watch an episode of Doctor Who, but where an iPad wouldn't. Still, this isn't the first time apple have released a product I don't want to buy. If some other people do buy it and love it, that's fine, right?

Well hold on. What if the very existence of the iPad is enough to break a product I already own and love? iPad runs iPhone OS. Until now, my iPhone has been a lovely device running a lovely bespoke operating system. And I've downloaded lots of useful apps designed for a specific screen, a specific CPU (or two), and a specific user experience. Now, all that ends. It appears iPhone OS 4.0 will have two very different devices to cater to, so it's almost inevitable that it'll include a lot of features I'll never need or be able to use. What does that kind of bloat remind me of? Well, Windows Mobile.

And the apps I use will all get updates too, to incorporate iPad compatibility. How will that affect me and my iPhone? Well, the higher resolution assets will presumably mean the app files will get bigger, so I won't be able to fit as many on my device. There's a good chance that will also make the apps slower, so I might need to wait longer for my iPhone to open them up. And perhaps most troublingly, it'll mean future updates to these apps (and even to the OS itself) will be more likely to focus on iPad features and functionality, rather than on improvements to the iPhone user experience.

So my beautiful little phone, which has grown better and better the longer I've owned it, will now stagnate at best, or even start to decline. For me (and the other 75 million iPhone and iPod Touch users out there), the iPad might be set to make our lives worse whether we decide to buy it or not.

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