The iPad 2 has arrived, but so far it’s only brought a slow trickle of apps that really show what the new device can do. That means this is a great time for developers looking for some time in the spotlight to step up and deliver high quality content that takes advantage of what the new iPad has to offer.
If you’re a developer looking to entice iPad 2 buyers, the camera is a great place to start. That doesn’t mean churning out a Camera+ or Hipstamatic clone and calling it a day. No doubt those apps will appear and some of them may even do well, but the iPad is not the iPhone or the iPod touch, and users won’t do the same sorts of things with a tablet camera as they would with those more portable devices.
The iPad is a device that spends a lot of its time on the couch or at a Starbucks. It isn’t something people pull out on impulse to capture a magical moment or spontaneous tableau. Camera apps designed solely around taking pictures aren’t really going to catch on with iPad users the way they have with smartphone owners.
Augmented reality (AR) could be a good avenue to explore with the iPad 2. Overlays that make creative use of indoor spaces for games and other entertainment apps could do well, for example, and the gyroscope should add a layer of accuracy to device plane and position detection. Another prime area will be apps that use the camera in tandem with the iPad’s expanded real estate, like video conferencing tools. It’s an area that will quickly become crowded as major players join in, but agile early movers could grab the attention of early adopters and set themselves up with a quick lead, especially by offering multi-participant clients that facilitate group chat. For example, check out what developer Mataio is doing with AR on an iPad 2
Finally, consider that the iPad 2 is a pretty capable mobile vlogging tool. The iPhone can be used for recording video blogs, no doubt, but the iPad is arguably better at this task since it makes it much easier for the vlogger to watch what they’re recording.
Full OS Mirroring
App developers would do well to treat the iPad 2′s new mirroring function, which allows the device to output in 1080p (except video, which is 720p) exactly what’s on the iPad’s screen as a feature to develop for, not just one to keep in mind as an afterthought.
Users have confirmed that FaceTime does indeed work using the iPad mirroring function, meaning the iPad 2 can easily be used as a quick and dirty big-screen videoconferencing solution. Refining that experience is a prime example of where a developer specifically building an experience optimized for the big screen could make a big splash.
Gaming is another prime example of where this feature can be used to maximum effect. Build in a control scheme that complements connected displays, maybe by using other iOS devices as controllers for the iPad 2. If this is done with a focus on quality, it could be even put established consoles on notice, given the improved graphics capabilities of the iPad 2.
Push the Power
The A5 that powers the iPad 2 is a beast, as recent teardowns show. If you want to attract app-hungry iPad 2 owners, push the limits of what’s possible on the platform. Remember that you’ve also got another 256 MB of memory to work with, too. That doesn’t mean creating a slick tech demo that does little beyond showing just how much the iPad 2 is capable of. Instead, it means envisioning and crafting experiences that just weren’t possible on the original iPad.
If you don’t want to cut down your potential customer base, then take a page out of Epic Games’ book and create an app that scales to meet the platform’s available resources.
The iPad 2 may offer the temptation to fire off a quick Photo Booth clone or gyroscope-boosted pinball game, but remember that while taking advantage of new features will reel in some app purchases, providing a great top-to-bottom experience is what will make those customers loyal fans in the long term.