Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Limiting the iPad’s Software Potential

Lauren Goode of the Verge:

It’s a problem that exists not only around the iPad Pro, but mobile software development in general, and highlights the very real challenges that smaller software companies face when deciding which software platforms to prioritize — especially as mobile tablets and PCs converge.

One of the common complaints made by software developers who spoke to The Verge is that they can’t offer free trials of their apps as part of the App Store download process, or issue paid upgrades to long-term users. Others say that selling apps through the App Store can create a kind of wall between them and their customers if the customers have issues with their software. Broadly speaking, the iPad Pro is forcing them to rethink their monetization strategies.

Federico Viticci demonstrates regularly that it’s possible to work entirely from an iPad; depending on your job, it may be possible for you, too. But there are industries where software comparable to its desktop counterpart doesn’t yet exist for the iPad. Software development, design, and other industries still rely upon very particular legacy application packages, and their developers are hesitant to invest in building iPad versions for a variety of reasons.

Maybe that’s okay: not every industry necessarily needs to go iPad-only. There are plenty of industries today that cannot go Mac-only, for example, and nobody seems to think that’s as limiting to the Mac’s success as current shortcomings are to the iPad. But, those are current shortcomings, and Apple is surely aware of them: Viticci wrote last week that the tides might shift for at least one major app:

Over the past few months, I’ve personally heard about an iPad Pro version of Xcode in early stages, being demoed internally at Apple. I don’t know if this will ever actually happen, but it sure would make for a nice surprise at WWDC next year.

Here’s hoping that their lead — plus enhancements to the App Store and iOS — will encourage third-party developers to invest more heavily in the platform.