iPad ships next week

With the iPad set to ship in just a week and a half, I’ve been quietly reshuffling some of my projects around it. I’ve written critically of the iPhone and App Store a couple times, such as how the iPhone is a gold rush distraction that “doesn’t need me”:http://www.manton.org/2009/09/its_okay_to_ignore.html. I also stand by “earlier opinions”:http://www.manton.org/2009/11/the_only_2.html of how unfixable the App Store is, especially now when it’s obvious that any effort trying to convince Apple to open the store is completely wasted. They never will.

But I really like what I’ve seen of the iPad platform so far and I think it represents a big shift for everyday computing in a way that a cell phone can’t. So I renewed my membership in the iPhone developer program.

I’m working on 2 apps for the iPad. The first is just a minor iPad refresh of an existing iPhone app at VitalSource called “Bookshelf Noteview”:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bookshelf-noteview/id333263742?mt=8 (iTunes link). It’s for reading notes and highlights synced from our e-book platform.

I’m not ready to announce the next app yet, but it’s a personal project which I had originally written for the Mac over a year ago. I shelved it at the time because I wasn’t sure there was demand, the backend web services weren’t mature, and I wasn’t ready to take it to completion. For the iPad though, it might be perfect.

And that’s ultimately where I see the most interesting potential for the iPad. New middle-ground apps that we haven’t even thought of yet, not ports from another platform. Apps that would feel small or distracting or wrong on the Mac, yet equally oversized for a relatively underpowered iPhone. Maybe the never-tested-on-a-real-device launch day apps will be buggy and the overall quality low, but I can’t wait to try them anyway.