Piano App for iPad Proves Screen Size Matters

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Alchematron, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. Alchematron macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2007
    Maui Hawaii

    Piano App for iPad Proves Screen Size Matters


    Of all the questions surrounding Apple's forthcoming iPad tablet, the one I find the hardest to answer is, "What can it do that my laptop and smartphone don't already deliver?"

    The question is tough to answer for two reasons. For one, until we see how developers are able to tailor their apps, we really can't say to what degree the iPad experience is going to differ from the iPhone or iPod Touch. More importantly, but harder to communicate, is how much the iPad's 9.7-inch touch screen fundamentally changes the nature of how we interact with it, compared with a 3.5-inch iPhone, or an unresponsive laptop screen.
    Nota app for iPad (photos)

    We've already glimpsed how one app developer was able to graduate his miniature DJ turntable iPhone app into a realistic, life-size audio mixer for the iPad. In a similar example, app developer Melvin Rivera shares a handful of final screenshots of his piano training app Nota, reconfigured for the iPad.

    Arguably, piano and DJ apps aren't likely to be primary uses for the iPad, but both of these early examples illustrate how a change in screen size means much more than larger images. In both examples, I would make the case that the difference between the original iPhone app and its iPad counterpart is a difference between novelty and practicality.

    Designing for the iPad was a much bigger challenge than designing for the iPhone was. You quickly realize what an amazing job Apple did in the UI for the devices. It was important for me to have as much feature parity between the two devices but at the same time I did not want to be limited by that. So the iPad version will have certain advantages over the iPhone version. For one, the much bigger size allows for a 2 octave piano comfortably. It also allows the design to be more like physical objects. The piano keys no longer go screen to screen, they are within a keyboard. This is the paradigm of the iPad design, it took me several iterations of the design to come to this conclusion. You are touching a device with real-life objects and they respond to your gestures. It is brilliant!

    Of course, piano and DJ apps are both examples of apps trying to graphically represent and replace actual objects in the real world. It makes sense that larger screens do a better job representing life-size objects. Whether the iPad will do a better job than the iPhone when it comes to representing abstract data (your tweets, Facebook account, Internet radio stations) remains to be seen. Some apps will just be more practical on the small screen--or more specifically, on a small device. Yelp for iPad could be amazing, but it's the kind of app you want in your pocket, not on your coffee table.

    In the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see which iPad apps really benefit from the transition, which ones don't, and how we adjust our expectations of what "apps" can deliver.
  2. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    This is why it was always funny when people said it was just an iPad touch.

    It really took a significant lack of imagination to be unable to see that the screen size difference could make a huge and significant difference. Also you can have a 10% netbook screen but it is not the same thing, because the form factor of the iPad is better suited for things, plus it is smaller and lighter. Not to mention the touch screen that makes a world of difference.

    The iPad is the first of its class for unique tablet devices. Others will follow, but nobody has been there yet.
  3. paulisme macrumors 6502

    Dec 15, 2008
    Charleston, SC
    I happened to have started a brand new web site of my own proclaiming how the iPad is just a big iPod Touch. Enjoy the irony. http://www.justabig.com/

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