All the heavy breathing about the iPad tends to obscure one simple fact: It's basically an overgrown iPhone without the phone (aka, a super-sized iPod Touch). Same OS, same approach to apps, same touch interface, just netbook-sized instead of iPhone-sized.
Which begs an obvious question: Which apps will work better on an iPad than on an iPod Touch or iPhone? And considering that the single biggest differentiator between the iPad and the iPod Touch is size, the question is even simpler: Which apps will be more user-friendly on the tablet's bigger screen?
[ InfoWorld's Paul Krill notes that iPad developers will need to move beyond their iPhone roots to take full advantage of the tablet. | Get the best iPhone apps for pros with our business iPhone apps finder. ]
There is some give and take here. Maps, for example, will be much easier to read on the iPad, but you lose the convenience of always having a map in your pocket. But there are apps for which gaining a larger screen outweighs losing pocket-sized convenience.
For starters, there are virtual desktops and remote clients like Jaadu VNC and Citrix Receiver. They're very handy tools, but trying to manage a cluttered desktop on a tiny iPod Touch screen can be brutal on the eyes. The iPad's screen, however, will give you a nice clear view and up the ease-of-use factor.
Some enterprise-level apps, such as Salesforce Mobile Lite and the various Oracle BI iPhone apps, would gain a lot as well from having all that extra screen space to use. Some of these apps claim to turn the iPhone into a business machine in your pocket, but given a choice, would you rather do data entry and look at charts on a big screen or a tiny one?
Finally, productivity apps like Documents to Go and Quickoffice, which bring Microsoft Office-like apps to the iPhone, would get a big-time boost from the iPad, as will blogging software like iBlogger and PDF readers like PDF Pro. Instead of teeny-tiny data cells and a pinky-tip-sized keypad, you'd get to work on a full-size screen and type on a keypad that can actually accommodate a finger. Imagine that -- less squinting and fewer typos.
None of us will know what the iPad is really good for until it lands in our hot little hands. But one thing is certain: Some iPhone apps are going to make a lot more sense.
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