The Apple iPad: Three Unanswered Questions

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there are a few iPhone apps that would work so much better on the iPad that their exclusion from the new platform would be a serious shame. Yet I’m afraid that some of these are the exact apps that Apple may plan to exclude.

Apple’s decisions about two apps, in particular, could indicate whether the company sees the iPad as an open platform for all sorts of software, lifestyle, and business innovation, or, as some commentators have suggested, simply as a channel for selling digital content such as music, games, books, and videos.

One of these apps is Ignition, from Woburn, MA-based LogMeIn (NASDAQ: LOGM). It’s a $29.99 app that lets you control your PC or Mac from the screen of your iPhone.

Now, many people rave about Ignition, and it’s definitely cool, but the fact is that on an iPhone, it takes a lot of scrolling and zooming to navigate between all the buttons and menus on a typical Mac or PC screen. On the iPad’s much larger screen, this problem would presumably be solved. Even more intriguing, an iPad version of Ignition would essentially turn the Apple device into a kind of virtual PC, giving users access, via a remote connection, to many standard applications that don’t run natively on the iPhone or the Pad, such as PowerPoint or Quicken.

Will Apple allow this? There’s every reason it should, if it wants to sell iPads to people who take their computing seriously. But it’s the kind of thing that may conflict with Apple’s own ideas about what the iPad really is and how it should be used—so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cupertino giant balk at this one.

[Update 3/31/10: The Boston Globe is reporting that LogMeIn will offer an iPad version of Ignition starting April 3.]

Ditto for Amazon’s Kindle app, which has been available on the iPhone since March 2009. I love this app, because it lets me read any e-book that I purchased for my Kindle on my iPhone. This is extremely handy when I have a few minutes to do some reading but I don’t have my Kindle with me. The issue here, of course, is that an iPad version of the Kindle app would basically turn the iPad into a color Kindle, meaning that the Kindle app would compete directly with Apple’s own forthcoming iBooks application.

Well, not quite directly, since you can’t buy books through the Kindle app—you can only read the books you’ve already purchased, whereas iBooks will have a built-in wireless iBookstore. But if I can continue to purchase e-books through Amazon and read them on my iPad, that’s what I’ll do, since Amazon’s prices are generally lower than the $12.99 to $14.99 per book that publishers reportedly plan to charge through the iBookstore. So the Kindle app is another one whose absence from the lineup of iPad apps would not surprise me. (On the other hand, I’ve read reports that … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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