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No overnight success for bedroom iPad developers

Device requires more development time for "world class" apps, says Ed Lea

The overnight success that some developers enjoyed with apps on the iPhone isn't likely to be repeated on the iPad, according to Ed Lea, chief technical office for Grapple Mobile.

The iPad requires much more work than just an HD upgrade of an iPhone title, he told GamesIndustry.biz, and he also warned that like the iPhone app store, inferior copies of successful apps could soon flood the market and push prices down.

"It's going to be a lot harder for bedroom developers to write a few thousand lines of code and release an overnight success on iPad as we saw on iPhone in the early days. The development process for world class iPad apps is much longer and the focus on user-interface is even greater than iPhone," he said.

"Simply building bigger versions of iPhone apps isn't going to cut it. Typically [users are] going to be in the home, consuming content on iPads. They will expect the large format screen to be fully utilised. On iPhone Apple made it very easy to create simple apps that look and work great. With so much extra screen size developers must put a lot more effort into creating interfaces that continue to delight users in an intuitive way."

Lea has been responsible for a number of apps on the iPhone including BoomBot, MMS and TV Plus, and works with Grapple Mobile to build apps for multiple handsets.

As with the iPhone, Lea expects prices to drop as cheaper clones of successful apps arrive on the iPad, forcing down prices across the board.

"I suspect that as we saw with iPhone, the price of apps will fall over time," he said. "Copycat apps will start to appear, taking the functionality of successful apps and reproducing them, often at lower price-points to the detriment of the quality of the apps."

Although today's launch of the iPad has seen dedicated Apple consumers flock to buy the device, it will require a longer term marketing effort to convince consumers the iPad is more than just a luxury gadget.

"The real marketing challenge over the first couple of months might well be selling the device to 'normal people'. For a lot of people it's a cool device that solves a problem they don't necessarily have."

The iPad launches today in the UK, with prices ranging from £429 to £699.

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.