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Design for the Platform

August 6, 2010

There’s an interesting opinion piece over on Ars Technica saying that Microsoft does not ‘get‘ the iPad – and why not:

The iPad is a neat package. It’s not a device for everyone. There are lots of things the iPad doesn’t do well; there are many things the iPad doesn’t do at all. But it’s not trying to be these things; it’s a conveniently sized, highly portable, long-lasting media-consumption device. It’s ideal for browsing the Internet, reading e-mail (with the occasional short reply), looking at photos, playing music and videos, and casual gaming. It doesn’t need much in the way of configuration. It doesn’t run Mac software. Every single piece of software on it is designed to be used with fingers. In no way is the iPad striving to be a PC, but it is because of this—because it’s not running software designed for keyboards and pixel-perfect pointers, because it’s running software that’s simple and restricted, because it uses a slow, but low-power, ARM processor—because of these things that it is so good at the things it does do.

I agree. In my develop talk this year I noted that the best designs for hardware always follow later as it takes time for the lessons of what new hardware is (and is not) to evolve and grow:

[Technology evolution] also means we should not rush to abandon older hardware and methods – as the incrementation of the process means the best examples of the genre will often come last – so best PS2 game?  Resident Evil 4… It also means that it takes time for solid ideas to arrive on a new controller – as the first generation of games using new technology will still be partly memetically/technologically based on the past generation of technology – it will take time to breed out the older tech/memes and evolve the new ones.

Same applies on the iPad – we’ve yet to see the apps that fully use what it is.  Simply porting over as-is a title from iPhone (or a PC) does not cut it – you have to design for the platform.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2010 12:34 pm

    Nice little blog – thanks.


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