Apple may be facing tough competition in the smartphone market, but it rules the tablet market with an iron hand. Not only is the iPad very popular with the younger generation, but it is also the favorite tablet of businesses and organizations. Millions of people use the iPad, and they all love apps. So, there is a lot of money to be made through iPad applications.
Whether you are an established programmer mulling iPad application development, or a student thinking of creating apps for the iPad, you must keep certain facts about iPad in your mind. You must know the following facts before you make a concrete decision about becoming an iPad app developer.
It will cost you a pretty penny
Unlike other coding or programming platforms, iPad app development requires you to use Apple devices. So, you will need to spend money on a Mac. Not only is building iPad apps on Mac easier, it is almost mandatory. This is because you cannot test the apps elsewhere. To send and test your app on an iPad, you need a Mac. If you are freelancing, you will need to invest in a Mac.
But that’s not all. You will also need to buy an iPad. While there are simulators that can help you test the app, you will need an iPad for reliable testing. So, if you do not already have it, you will have to purchase an iPad. You will also need to spend some money to get a developer account with Apple. If you are freelancing, you can get a Personal account. For companies, Apple offers a discount though the Enterprise account. The developer account gives you access to several Apple resources, so it is a good idea to register. Also, you cannot submit an app to the iTunes store unless you have a developer account.
Be ready to master new technologies
You cannot use your existing programming skills to create an iPad app. To create apps for any Apple product, you have to learn how to use the iOS SDK. In addition to this, you will have to learn how to use Xcode. As it is quite different from Visual Studio or similar programs, you will have to start from scratch.
Alternatively, you can create cross-platforms apps that can work on different mobile devices. For this, your knowledge in HTML5 can come in handy. There are several tools – Titanium, MonoTouch and PhoneGap, that can help you create apps that work on the iPad. Note that I said “apps that work on the iPad.” Most cross-platform technologies cannot harness the latest features of the device or operating system. If you target is iPad, cross-platform may not be the best options. However, if you wish to create simple apps for tablets, cross-platform development can be an easy way out.
Design and UI for iPad is like nothing you’ve seen before
Even if you have developed and designed apps for smartphones, developing the interface for tablets is a different ball game altogether. You will have to use the device for a few weeks and get familiar with how general users interact with it. This will help you create a design and UI that is perfect for the iPad’s touch-sensitive screen. The biggest challenge here is to achieve a balance.
Many newbie iPad developers end up creating cluttered interfaces for the iPad screen. On the other end of the spectrum are people who have designed apps for smartphones – their first iPad design usually fails to make the most of the screen space. You will have to work hard to create a design and UI that fits with the iPad.
In conclusion, if you want to develop top-notch apps for the iPad, you will need to invest a lot of time, effort and money. Consider all the factors, think about what you want to do with your skill, and make a smart decision.